When it comes down to it, my dad has always been one of my biggest fans, and one of the biggest lessons that he’s instilled in me is pretty simple, and that is that hard work, works. Simple and plain, you can either have excuses or you can have positive results, but you can’t have both.
You’ve been writing and playing music your entire life. Signed your first record deal at just nine years old. “Living in Nashville as a songwriter and artist, it’s so damn easy to get caught up in just trying to write the next big Morgan Wallen or Bailey Zimmerman hit … So as of lately, I try to make myself listen to artists from all around the world … and draw inspiration… this week I’ve been listening to a Nigerian artist, Fireboy DML.” How has listening to these international artists inspired your music?
Listening to artists from all around the world, I feel like it is something that every real artist or songwriter should be open to doing, it allows you to gain a perspective on different kinds of melodies, sound, sampling, cultures etc., but it also reminds us all, just how small this world really is when it comes how much alike we all are when it comes down to it. It’s humbling and inspiring.
“There is a reason why race horses wear blinders … If you’re focused on someone else’s race, you’ll miss your shot … and the magic of the moment!” Opening for some of the biggest names in music, including Taylor Swift, OutKast, and Destiny’s Child. Best advice another artist has shared with you?
Reflect on the past, focus on your future, but always remember to live in the moment and soak in as much of the ride as you can, because in a blink of an eye, your moment, big or small, can all be gone.
Chasing your purpose, the journey, over the destination. “This was a surreal moment!! Over the years, even as a younger kid, I can remember driving past the iconic The Nashville Sign and dreamed of being up there one day!! Especially during CRS Official Week here in Nashville. And that dream finally came true.” What else is on your career bucket list?
I’m a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan, so it’s always been a dream of mine to sing the National Anthem at Acrisure Stadium (formerly known as Heinz Field) at a Steelers game! But, aside from different cool venues that I’d love to play at in the future, I’d love to collaborate with some other iconic artists, a couple in particular would be Justin Timberlake and Ed Sheeran. I’m a huge fan of both of them and respect them immensely!
Posting 60 days of sunsets from around the world as you counted down to the release of your new single, “Strawberry Daiquiris.” Which sunset was your favorite and why?
It’s incredibly hard to pick my favorite sunset from the 60 day campaign of sunsets that we did leading up to the release of “Strawberry Daiquiris” because they’re all just so unique and beautiful! But I will say one of the most memorable ones was the sunset in Biloxi on the boardwalk. I had just gotten done performing at the Biloxi Coliseum for thousands of cheerleaders that were screaming their heads off and had insane energy. It all felt so surreal, and I was walking on cloud nine, so honestly it was hard to even focus to shoot the video lol.
Releasing the music video for your latest, the second song off your album, after spending months in the studio putting it together with three-time ACM Musician of the Year Danny Rader. “We wanted to capture the essence of that spring break first-time feeling of love. Danny Rader and I are blessed to have married our high school sweethearts. Sometimes you find yourself covered up with the busyness of life and all of its responsibilities and before you know it, you end up longing for those younger days…reminiscing about that first strawberry flavored Chapstick kiss you shared, watching the sun sink down over the ocean, and sharing a daiquiri (one drink, two straws of course). Thus, ‘Strawberry Daiquiris’ was born!” What was the most challenging part of putting together your new album?
For the most part the whole album has been coming together pretty seamlessly and organically. It’s been such an honor to work with Danny Rader, who is so talented and so decorated in the industry, and, to be honest, I have sometimes remind myself to focus in the sessions and not get lost in the allure of someone so incredible because it can be overwhelming. But, in turn, he has also made me a better performer, a better vocalist and, for certain, a better songwriter. When you’re in a room with someone like Danny, you have to bring your ‘A’ game every time because Lord knows he is!
Key West, your family’s getaway to paradise. Favorite memory from the trip?
It’s extremely hard to pick a favorite memory from my family’s most recent trip to the Florida Keys; it literally is paradise on Earth! The sunsets there are probably some of the prettiest I’ve seen. One memory that sticks out the most happens to be while we were in Duck Key at the beginning of our trip and we were lucky to be on a private cove at sunset, We were snuggled up, my two daughters and my wife, by a camp fire next to the beach, eating some insanely fresh Key Lime Pie. It happened to also be my wife’s 30th birthday that evening, so it was an extremely special night that I wish I could’ve made last forever, time pretty much stood still that evening.
Italian food is your #SecondLoveLanguage. Can you share a family recipe for a dish you love?
I’ve got a lot of hard-core Italians in my family, and our love for Italian food runs deep! I’ve got several amazing recipes that I could share, but unfortunately they’re secret family recipes, and if I shared them, then they wouldn’t be a secret anymore lol. I can give you two tips when cooking Italian food the right way .. always splurge for the nicer, more expensive, extra-virgin olive oil and always use whole clove garlic that you have to peel. Worth it every time!
Photo Credit: Mark Lumins