If you were to write an intro for “Stay With Me” before it played on the radio, what would you want listeners to know about the song?
“Stay With Me” is a fun, upbeat summer duet that breaks all genre boundaries, using all acoustic instruments to accomplish electric sounds.
6 Things You Don’t Know About Me:
Your fondest childhood family memory involving music is _____?
My fondest childhood family memory was when I was very young, about 3 or 4, and my Dad played a chord on the piano. I mimicked my Dad and played the same chord with my fingers, and since then, I’ve always been in love with music. I still to this day look up to my Dad’s incredible classical piano ability, and it inspires me to be more disciplined and become the best musician I can be.
Belmont University College of Music and Performing Arts. What was your favorite class and why?
My favorite class was definitely my Ensemble Southbound. I spent four years in the ensemble, learning under Henry Smiley (vocal teacher for Russell Dickerson, Kassi Ashton, Taylor Bickett, and more). Being in the ensemble (that Russell, Brothers Osborne, and other major country acts were in) made me think, “man, I really think I can do this whole music thing.”
#365songsin365days How has writing a song a day challenged you as a songwriter?
Writing a song a day has challenged me greatly. It has opened my eyes to a new form of industry style writing, and I have grown exponentially as a songwriter. I hope that everyone, regardless of their skill level, can take from this series that it only takes hard work and dedication to reach your goals. As challenging as the series has been, the results have been exponentially more exciting and driving.
The cover art for the new single. How does this image represent the message of the song?
The art represents a couple only connected by one tether, their hands. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we do that we forget the beauty of nature, the love of another, or simply the connection we have to other people. The cover art shows the contemplative nature of the song, but the natural elements bring a happiness and warmth that is reflected in the production.
The achievement I am most proud of is _____ because _____.
The achievement I am most proud of is when my music was first played on my hometown radio in Buffalo, New York. My TikTok Buffalo received great critical recognition, and was played on WYRK radio, the station I grew up listening to. This was a childhood dream of mine and it came true on my birthday, January 24, this year.
If you could go back in time for a day, what day would you go back to and why?
I would go back to the 1830s and visit Chopin in his teaching room and learn how to compose from the greatest composer of all time. I could think of nothing cooler than that.
Can you share 12 songs that have influenced your life and career?
“Colder Weather” Zac Brown Band
This tune has a special place in my heart as it was the first song I ever performed in Nashville.
“Broken Road” Rascal Flatts
This song has been a staple of mine to perform as I model my voice after Gary LeVox.
“Broken Halos” Chris Stapleton
I LOVE STAPLETON. His lyricism, self-production, and wonderful artistry create something supernatural to me when I listen to him perform.
“Happy” Renee Morin
This is the first song I ever produced for another artist where I played every instrument, which showed me I can truly do the one-stop-shop producer thing for a living.
“Austin” Blake Shelton
My mom’s favorite song. I was blessed to write with Kirsti Manna, the writer of “Austin,” at Nashville Cool Music Publishing, and this was one of the greatest honors of my life.
“That’s Just Me” Kechi
My first major cut; written with James Breedwell at Kobalt. This song inspired me to become a full-time songwriter and push my songwriting skills as far as they could go.
This is my battle cry.
“This City” Sam Fischer
I adore this song and how the lyrics represent how I feel about Nashville. It seems most musicians face the same inner turmoil that I face every day.
“Dancing on My Own” Calum Scott
One of the most important songs in my life. Not only did this song save me from going over the edge many times, but it has also always been there for me in my darkest moments, describing my emotions and helping me regulate them.
“when the party’s over” Billie Eilish
I should say that Finneas is more an influence of mine than Billie. I wrote a master’s article for Belmont University about the production on this track, which is absolutely stellar. This inspired many of my production techniques I use today.
The late Avicii has probably touched every modern songwriter and producer in some way. His journey with mental health teaches me to always put my mental health first above all else but my personal faith and convictions.
“Waymaker” Michael W Smith
The most powerful song in my life. Michael has been a personal mentor to me throughout my life, and he has taught me so much about performance. Growing up in his church taught me how to lead others in worship, how to perform better, and how to command a stage from the keyboard. Michael is probably, still to this day, the greatest Christian artist of all time, hands down.