Describe your sound in one sentence
My current band project, Magnolia, sounds like a mix of anthemic bands like Coldplay and U2—minus the, err, worldwide fanbase, pyrotechnics, and quite so much falsetto—and bands like The Killers and The Temper Trap. Then my own work tends to be a bit more traditionally folk oriented, with nods towards bands like Wilco, or artists like Ryan Adams and Tom Waits (minus the gravel and 40+ years of cigarette smoke). OK, that was two sentences. Whoops.
When did you first start writing music?
Technically I wrote my first song on my brother's keyboard when I was about 3. Although the lyrics still resonate with me today ("You should know me better"), I was also singing it naked except for a towel draped around my shoulders pretending I was Mumra from Thundercats. I wrote my first "official" song when I was 16, though—naturally about a girl that I had a crush on, but never got around to saying anything. Since then writing has become kind of an obsession, and I've written over 250 songs to date.
Name three people who have influenced your music, and tell us why? (Living or dead)
There are plenty of artists who have influenced me in so many different ways, but there are a few that I always tend to fall back on who have defined and changed the way I think of music.
When I first heard Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker, it was a revelation—it sounds so familiar, but then completely new at the same time—it invited me in to learn a whole new way of looking at the music I grew up listening to.
Then Jeff Tweedy’s Wilco led me even further in—every song steeped in the history of American folk music, but at the same time writing a new history with a slightly different story to tell. I also learned what a Shepard tone is (a progression of chords that seem to endlessly ascend or descend).
The third spot, I’d have to reserve for my two older brothers, Noah and Ethan (if I may) They’ve since moved on from songwriting, but most of what I know about music, I’ve learned from them. Whether it was listening to Ethan play the piano as a kid, Noah introducing me to new music when I was in middle school, or seeing what it was like when they played together in a touring band, they’ve shown me the ropes at every step. And now that I finally get to carry the torch, I’ve been furiously trying to show them up at every chance I get. This counts, right?
How do you connect with fans and get them involved in your music?
More recently, my goal has been to share more of my own creative process—all the hours of hard work that go into bringing a song to life, from the first demo to the final master. I’ve always loved watching how other artists work, especially in the studio, and I wanted to try something similar with my own music. So for my newest single, “Sink or Swim”, I documented as much as possible of the process, and put together a short behind-the-scenes style video (you can watch it here). Over the next year or so, while I’m recording an album with my project, Magnolia, I’d like to do even more to invite people to join in the creative process with me (and I know this means updating Facebook more often haha).
What do you like the most about Radio Airplay?
Radio Airplay has been an incredible resource for me, by not only exposing my music to people who are otherwise far outside my reach, but also by letting me find out more about who they are, and even seeing what some of them look like (although not in a creepy, stalker way or anything, just in the it-makes-me-feel-more-connected-to-the-world-outside-my-world kind of way).
Do you have any recent or upcoming projects you'd like to share with us? Tell us about it.
I'm so excited about my latest single, "Sink or Swim", that I got to record in Nashville with one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Matthew Perryman Jones. After that, I'll be heading to LA in March to record an album with my current project, Magnolia. Click here to view the video for the single "Sink or Swim"
Are you playing live and do you have any shows coming up soon?
For the time being, I've been focusing on recording, but eventually, once my new album is finished up, I'm sure I'll get back into it, playing shows in and around Boston whenever I can. To stay up to date, visit: