Hawaiian Lap Steele guitar or record an album? It’s still not an easy answer for me. Back in 2004 I saved $1,000 to put toward that guitar, but in a moment of weakness I thought “why don’t I spend money on something that will make me some money?” Drawing everything from savings, I wrote and recorded “Inspired by Tuesday”. It taught me that I could actually create something people would enjoy.
The birth of that album, at the time, meant no more college, no more responsibilities and no more 1984 Mercury Grand Marquis. I was young. My career didn’t skyrocket, in fact that year taught me of my need for college, responsibility and old beat-up cars. Sales were just good enough to show me that I was on to something, but at that time I had little to say. I didn’t know how to make sense of all I had experienced by that time in my life. I needed to spend more time developing what my message as an artist would be.
A few years later, I enrolled at the University of Utah and eventually graduated with a degree in Strategic Communication. The one thing I believed would interfere with my music career proved to the thing that advanced it – a diploma. I learned about discipline and how to finish well.
In high school, I had a list of three professions I admired: pastor, surgeon or musician. I experimented in a bit of each. Well, I’ve never been a surgeon, but I worked in an intensive care unit near surgeons. I stayed long enough to realize I didn’t want the hours surgeons worked. One doctor I talked to said his wife asked him to work less hours because their family was falling apart. He chose to keep his hours at the hospital, which left me turned off to the path of a surgeon.
I left Texas for Utah where I worked with high school students and led worship at two churches for a total of five years. It was good while it lasted, but I was eager to see that chapter pass. Finally, I landed as a singer/songwriter because I felt like it was a combination of all three professions I admired. I can write songs and use them as instruments of healing in the lives of the people I love.
I wrote the albums for my latest creation, the Villages Suite, to explore some trends I see in my community. Americans tend to be lonely people. We have more money than the rest of the world and more entertainment, yet statistically we have less meaningful relationships. The Villages Suite explores our loneliness and gives direction toward authentic community.
I believe melodies cut to the heart faster than words. Melody is a vehicle for healing words to penetrate someone’s mind. Maybe the words are meant to change their mind. Maybe they’re meant to open it to healing. Or maybe they’re meant to bring a needed escape. Regardless, music delivers truth like a preacher and healing like a surgeon.
To this day, each album comes with the question “Hawaiian Lap Steele or new album?” Still no lap steel and, with the release of four albums in 2009, one won’t be coming soon.