1) How did you break into the business?
When I was about 18, I knew a guy who was managing his brother's band and they were looking for a new singer. I said "let me try out for 'em." I had never sung a note outside of singing along to the radio before in my life but had always fantasized about it. He said "OK."
Needless to say, I didn't get the gig. BUT unbeknownst to me he put an ad in the Recycler "vocalist available". When I started getting calls I was wondering how the hell they knew about me. I called my friend up and he told he ran the ad. He said "You got a long way to go but I think you should stick with it, you got something." After a few more auditions, I was hired by a cover band, but after about three weeks the guitarist pulled me aside to let me know I was out. Their bass player said it was "Either him or me," because I was an amateur, but he told me to stick with it because "I had something."
I auditioned for a bunch of bands until I landed another one. At that time, I was only thinking about being in a cover band. I thought it would be great to actually be in a band and sing songs by all my favorite bands. So when I auditioned for this band, we did a few covers and then they played me one I had never heard before. It was really cool but I had to ask what song that was. They told me it was one of their own. I was blown away. A band that writes their own music? WOW. Then they played me another with no lyrics and said, "We want you to write the lyrics". WOW! A lightening bolt went off in my head. I can write my own music! I knew immediately I was going to do this for the rest of my life.
2) What makes you unique?
Years of practice.
3) Who was your biggest influence?
My parents. They are both musicians. When my mom was young she was part of a duet that appeared on American Bandstand. My dad played guitar and was in different bands. When they met they formed a group called the D'Lighters. They toured all over the country opening for Tony Bennett, Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima and the like. They quit for many years after starting a family.
They have always been my biggest supporters. They come to my shows and give me great advice and insights. Even though their music and mine are worlds apart, show business is show business and they know exactly what's going on. I've learned the most from them, especially when it comes to live performance. I'm even responsible for inspiring them to get back to playing and recording. They've been back on the live circuit for years now and have released three albums. Now I go to their shows and give advice.
4) What's the best thing about your job?
Making music and performing live are like water and air to me. I can't live without either. I'm truly alive when I'm on stage and writing and recording feed my soul. I wouldn't call it a job. It's LIFE.
5) When and where were you the happiest?
Every time I'm on stage.
6) What's the best piece of advice you ever received?
My uncle Don always used to say "Just do it, even if it's wrong... just DO IT." It's my mantra. In one form or another almost all of the songs I write contain that message.
Don't forget to check out my Music 3.0 blog for tips and tricks on navigating the music business.