From: Originally—Provo, UT; recently—Tallahassee, FL
Favorite Drink: Coco-Mocha Latte (tastes like an Almond Joy), from Atomic Coffee in Tallahassee
"There are so many stigmas against letting yourself be vulnerable in seeking advice and help. There definitely is some of that hesitation within the freelancing world where people aren’t always sure they can openly talk about their frustrations, or openly talk about much of anything that is personal because they’re afraid they will be judged. It’s understandable too, because you never want to say anything that might jeopardize your chances of ever working again, but that’s why I feel like everyone should go to therapy at least once in their life, whether or not they want to admit it. It’s really not that bad. The therapist that I see now I’ve seen for almost two years, but my first six months or so I’d be really hesitant to say something to him because I wasn’t sure how he would judge me. But I realized no matter what, he’s going to be my friend in this, so why do I care? Sure, I’m paying him to listen to me, but he’s genuinely invested in me, and I know that because he can reference dreams I’ve had two years ago that I told him once. People just need to understand that no matter what, allowing yourself to talk with someone else about something will help you figure out either how to approach a situation or how to solve a situation. Solutions to problems come when you least expect it, and more often than not, hearing yourself saying something out loud steers us closer to finding those solutions."
How do you define inspiration? Motivation? Discipline?: "Motivation and discipline are interrelated, but they’re slightly different. I used to take karate, and one of the things that they first taught us about was the three D’s: desire, discipline and determination. We were taught that desire was to set our goals high, discipline meant to practice hard and train hard, and determination is to never quit. So I see discipline as being able to do the things that other people don’t want to do, which is something Wynton Marsalis talks about in one of his books. It’s just having a long term goal in mind while doing the day to day tedious things. Then, I think you use that long term goal as motivation, to be able to say this is my goal, what am I going to do now to achieve that goal. So, I think motivation and discipline are interrelated, slightly different, but interrelated. Inspiration is a harder one for me to define because the phrase that keeps coming to me is ‘what inspires me’. I think the things that inspire me are day to day experiences and interactions with people. Being able to help others is what inspires me."
What is one of your greatest struggles you’ve had to overcome?: "Generally the hardest I’ve had to deal with, and that I still deal with is depression. It’s a bitch, it sucks, and it’s taken me a long time to get to where I am now which is feeling the happiest I’ve ever been. Obviously there are day-to-day struggles, but overall I feel good about where I’m headed and that’s important. More specifically, I’ve been dealing with depression most of my life, but what really triggered it was a number of events that happened just a couple of years ago, including a difficult breakup, a loss of faith, loss of camaraderie and compassion within my faith community. There are a lot of things that religion can do for people, but a lot of the pressures and anxieties that I felt were induced by this idea of living a perfect life that I was failing to live, and I felt guilty because I couldn’t be the perfect partner, and I felt guilty because I wasn’t working as hard as people thought I should as a musician. That was really difficult."
How would you advise someone who’s struggling with something similar?: "I would get a group of friends or some sort of support network that you can talk to openly. For me, I had a really good friend here that essentially took care of me for little while. I think having someone to talk to, someone you can really call a friend who won’t judge you for the things you’ve experienced is very important, and seeing a good therapist is important and that’s hard to find. There are a lot of therapists, and there aren’t as many good ones. It’s also important to recognize your threshold, recognizing when is it so hard that you don’t think you can take it anymore, and in that moment reaching out to someone and saying ‘hey, I need something right now and I can’t do it for myself’. It’s kind of emasculating, admitting that you can’t do everything on your own, but it’s also empowering to be able to say, ‘you know what, I can’t do this on my own, but I have someone who can help me’. Having people like that, who are willing to help inspires me to be much more willing to help other people too, and it makes me more conscientious in giving people the benefit of the doubt when they’re going through tough things. I’ve said and done things when I’ve not been in my right mind that have hurt people and have offended people or whatever, and I hope that people were able to see those things and think ‘ok, he was not doing well, so maybe I should take that into consideration before rushing into judgment.’"
Do you have any funny anecdotes relating to your musical career?: "When you’re on tour with someone, and spending a lot of time getting to know who they really are behind closed doors, I would say that’s when you get the best stories. So many of the days that we spent in China, and then the days after where we were in France I was rooming with Joe Brown, and that kid is a very unique character. We had some good times and some good stories, so I’m going to leave it at that, haha. Nothing embarrassing, but it was fun getting to know him better."
What are your hobbies?: Movies/TV, watching sports, eating good food, wannabe film critic and foodie
Quote/Mantra: “Everybody deserves respect” –Dr. Moore
Charity/Cause to raise awareness to: Mental Health Awareness
How do you define success? Is it important to you?: "I think too often in music we focus on—and rightly so because we’re perfectionists—we focus on little, minute and sometimes insignificant details when what we should be looking at is the overall big picture. I think we’re so tainted, because it’s hard to listen to recordings that are perfect and then go into a practice room or your own performances and not play perfectly. It’s so easy to get down. But, if the question we ask is ‘what story am I telling’ or ‘did I make music today’ as opposed to ‘did I miss any notes,’ then I think we can actually be successful and we can feel like we’re doing something useful. Maybe I’m too relaxed with this kind of thing, but at the same time I just don’t want to beat myself up about the little things by trying to keep an eye on the big picture."