I can still remember, quite vividly, the moments when I would play the piano for teachers and fellow students in my pre-school class when I was 4 or 5 years old, but I cannot remember not knowing the names of the piano keys. My mother taught me the musical alphabet first - so I knew the note names like I knew my own name. I played for fun, but it became part of me.
I have been a musician my entire life and although it definitely has not been ALL glamorous and full of amazing moments, I am glad I chose this as my profession and that I have had the support of family members and those closest to me to get me through the not-so-fun moments.
After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 2001 I enjoyed 4 years teaching in the St. Johns County School system in St. Augustine FL. There, I earned several grants for my school's music program while also establishing a dedicated 501c music boosters program, the first in the school's history. I was nominated for Teacher of the Year twice before leaving my position in 2006 to pursue professional playing (again). After taking a few regional band gigs performing around the Southeast, I decided to make the move to Nashville. After about a year of playing in and around the downtown Nashville scene I was hired by Opry legend Mel McDaniel (Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On) where I stayed on for a few months of touring.
Following that time with Mel, I was approached by band leader for former front woman of Trick Pony, Heidi Newfield. Heidi was embarking on a solo artist journey that would score her a top 10 single (Johnny & June) and a #2 billboard charting album in 2008. The album (What Am I Waiting For) also won 5 ACM nominations in 2009 - playing with her and that band for 4 years and which included the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2009 is still one of several favorite time periods - ever. During that time in addition to playing keyboards and saxophone, I also served as band leader the last 2 years.
In 2010 I began working with Grammy nominated singer John Berry and was fortunate enough to sign on for two of his popular Christmas tours (2010 & 2011), serving as musical director in 2011. We had great musicians on those tours and it was a real pleasure to get to see the country with John and his family. In my opinion, he is STILL one of the most underrated vocalists still singing music today - what a voice!
In the spring of 2012 I was contacted by a management company out of Nashville that needed a piano player for one of their artist's industry showcases. He said Sister Hazel was working on a new album and material that needed piano but it would likely only be for one night. Well as it turns out, one night turned into several more and now as I type this, I am into my 6th year with these guys. It's been a great adventure so far and in the process, I feel as though I've made some great life long friends. The charity work the band does for kids - feeding hungry kids to helping children battling childhood cancer has turned out some of the most memorable experiences I've lived to date. They have been gracious enough to include me on several of their albums and as well as some DVD projects so far and it has been a great experience.
In addition to touring, living in Nashville continues to present additional opportunities including writing, composing and recording for other artists, bands and other clientele. I'm looking forward to all things on the horizon and grateful I get to rely on music for a career.