How did I get into this whole music thing? Fasten your seatbelts, and we'll take a trip back in time... a trip that, unfortunately, gets longer with every passing day!
I was always drawn to music - particularly music with memorable melodies. Growing up in Cranston, Rhode Island, along the shores of Narragansett Bay, I made frequent trips as a youngster to the Chickering grand piano in the living room. I'm quite certain whatever resulted wasn't necessarily pleasing to anyone within earshot, but I was having fun. Those were the days of going to the record store and buying 45s, and I frequently asked my parents to take me over to Ladd's Music in the nearby Garden City shopping center, so I could obtain the latest songs that captivated me. Upon returning home, I had a habit of playing them over and over, to the point that one day, a gentleman doing some work in our home muttered "thank God" when my six or seven-year-old self yelled to my mom that it was the last time I was going to play that particular song.
I began piano lessons, which I enjoyed; though, like most kids, I can't always say I was thrilled about practicing. Not long after, our neighbors hired Edna, a new piano teacher for their children. She was a music student from Portugal who was attending a nearby college. Upon their recommendation to my parents, she became my teacher as well, and my world collided with that of a serious classical musician who was young in age but old-school in her approach to teaching. For a while, it was a struggle. I loved music too much to quit, but I couldn't understand why she insisted on learning all the classical material, though she'd often say if I could learn to master that, I'd be able to play anything.
Fast forward to junior high. Being pretty shy, I was never one to always interact easily, especially in awkward rites of passage like school dances and parties. Yet, as I watched the other kids become enthralled with the music that was playing at those events, I'd sometimes lose myself to daydreaming (something I still tend to do - just ask my wife, Christina). I pictured being the one who was playing the music they were getting all excited about. Edna's thoughts on building musicianship and technique through classical repertoire began to drift through my thoughts. Suddenly, I began to practice a lot, sometimes for many hours or all day. As I went from the kid who struggled to practice fifteen minutes to this obsessed maniac, I think my family (and Edna) wondered what had happened! I began to like the material I was working on, and also reached out and applied what I was learning in my lessons to all sorts of songs and styles that interested me. I guess it's time for that cliché saying, "and the rest is history."
My first performance opportunities outside of classical piano recitals came in high school, when I played with the local Catholic Youth center music group, and had the opportunity to fill in with a professional Top 40/Dance band at a local club, feeling at the time like I was on top of the world. Not long after, I was hired to be the parish musician at the former St. Ann's Church in Cranston.
This mix of secular music/bands/bars and nightclubs and sacred music/churches was a theme that would continue far beyond my youth, to the point where a later biographer would say that I often found myself playing "Highway to Hell with a band in a bar at 2 AM, only to find myself in church a mere six hours later playing "Ave Maria." During this time, I performed extensively with numerous rock and dance bands throughout Southern New England, much of the time also simultaneously maintaining a church music position. Somewhere in there I also graduated from the University of Rhode Island.
As time went on, I eventually transitioned to more solo performances, in numerous piano bars and live music venues. Simultaneously, I began pursuing my lifelong interest in songwriting, collaborating with colleagues in Nashville and resulting in my first three recording projects, These Are the Days, Where I Want To Be, and Back to Life. Along the way, I became the mentor for numerous private piano students of all ages.
In 2015, opportunities brought Christina and I to our current home of Louisville, Kentucky, where she is an ICU nurse and I am the Music and Worship Director for St. Bernard Catholic Community. Since relocating, I've continued my private piano studio, and have been composing and recording new music. The wonderful world of technology has allowed me to meet and collaborate with many talented musicians from all over.
I have much respect for and am truly thankful for all those who have guided me in the course of my career, from Edna and other teachers, fellow musicians, bandmates, songwriters, producers, and many more. It's a blessing and privilege to be able to do what you love for a living. I hope my music will in some way lift the spirits of all those who hear it, and my guidance will pay forward what others did for me, enriching the lives and experiences of those who entrust me to assist them on their musical journey.