Last night I performed at the “Legendary Rockers Tribute” Festival in Sacramento. I have been playing with “Departure,” a Journey Tribute band, since last fall. I’ve been having a great time with these guys, and it seems every performance is a cool new experience. This event was a two day-long bonanza of Tribute bands playing back-to-back-to-back. Included were tributes to the Beatles, Pink Floyd, ZZ Top, AC/DC, Tom Petty, Journey (us), and a whole lot more. I had never been to this sort of event, and I found it interesting watching the other tribute bands.
Tonight I played at a “Grand Opening” event for Carlton Plaza in Elk Grove, a senior living community that just opened its doors back in December. Carlton Plaza is a company I’m familiar with, because it has facilities in Sacramento and even in the Bay Area, where I used to live and do shows. Tonight there were literally HUNDREDS of people at this big celebration.
I have never been one to sit still when it comes to exploring my musical tastes. As a child, the music that occupied my mind were film music, pop music, broadway music, and even video game music. That started to evolve in my early teens, when I got into MTV videos and grunge and rock bands. By the time I entered high school, I made my first dramatic shift: I became a devotee to classical music, largely inspired by the piano music of Beethoven. For about five years, I hardly listened to anything but classical. Then the lid came off of things, and in the middle of college I started listening to pop music again and returning to the music I had been into as a child. At the end of college I found myself drawn into, of all things, rap. Needless to say, my musical interests have been eclectic.
As an artist, I have never had much luck in staying put, or boxing myself in by trying merely to imitate others. As a child, and as a young adult, I was continually inspired by music I heard. This music ranged enormously in style: from carols we sang at Christmas to blockbuster film soundtracks I heard in movies such as “Star Wars” and “Ghostbusters”; from the piano music of Beethoven and Chopin to popular music by Billy Joel; from songs I heard on the radio by Madonna and Pearl Jam to the rap music of Eminem. These creators, and many others, ignited in me new desires to learn and create, to evolve my creative expression. They helped get me started on the path of developing my own artistic abilities and following my artistic dreams. To them and to all my artistic influences I will always be grateful.
I have always desired to make and be known for original music. I remember as a little kid fantasizing about writing music inspired by other music I loved: movie scores, music on the radio, even the demo song from the keyboard my dad bought for us (us being my brother, my sister, and myself) for Christmas one year. Whatever the source, I remember fantasizing about creating my own music that emulated (or even surpassed!) the models that inspired me. Accordingly, that is what I have worked to accomplish, writing music as both a composer and a songwriter working in a variety of formats and genres, from piano music to theater music and hip hop.
In my debut piano CD Waterfall: Original Piano Music, I wrote the following dedication on the back cover:
This album is dedicated to all creative people. May you find your own waterfall of creativity.
I am reminded now of the enormous personal journey I underwent just to get to the point where I could even write those simple words on the back of that CD.