What was your experience like at the Connecticut Cabaret Theater since that is where you began your musical career and what got you involved with theater production in the first place?
I started working at the Connecticut Cabaret Theatre in 1999, when I met my now best friend, Kris McMurray. Being the Owner and Artistic Director of the Cabaret, Kris introduced me to the professional world of theatre. When I met him, he knew I had a desire to be in the arts. However, I was new to the scene and had a lot to learn about the stage and about myself.
I had to earn my way up the ranks. I started painting sets, then building sets. Then I would sit in on rehearsals to watch the way things were done. After about a year, I made my stage debut with a single line. It was a start. Then by chance, an actor in a leading role backed out of the show two weeks before it was set to open. There was no one who could take his place in such a short amount time…except me. I had been at every rehearsal and knew almost every word. So I was finally given a chance to prove myself as a performer and I have not looked back since. Since then I have played well over 50 leading roles and have also assistant directed and choreographed just as many. So my experience at the CT Cabaret has been nothing short of an outstanding education.
Your music is unique and in your opinion what do you believe makes it different than that of your peers?
I think first and foremost what makes my sound unique is that I’m a dude with an extremely high range. On a first look basis, you might not realize the voice that I sing with is coming from me. But my vocal quality and sound is what I most feel makes me stick out in the crowd. My voice is a powerful instrument that I do not take for granted. I’m not trying to be something I’m not. I’m not trying to fit into a mold. I just take my voice and put it to something that I think sounds good. I have a lot of respect for all the artists that are out there, both struggling and not, but I’m not trying to make stunts. I’m trying to make music and have fun doing so. I just go with my gut. When in the studio working on my album, I first say can I sing to this? Will it sound good? Am I having fun with it? And take it from there. The attitude of “go where the music takes you” is why in the end, I’ll be unique.
How do you believe the Connecticut Cabaret Theater has prepared you for a career in the music industry?
The CT Cabaret is a professional business. It’s not a playground. Its reputation is based on hard work, every performance and every ticket sold. I have been involved in every aspect of the Cabaret, from set building to public relations. Every little detail makes a huge difference. Doing so, it has prepared me for the music industry in regards to how to promote and market myself, how to put on a show and put my best foot forward every time, how to not take things personally when in the end, it’s still a business.
You like to write, produce and have a hand in all your musical projects, so why do you believe it is important to be hands on with your stuff as opposed to relying heavily on the team around you?
It’s important to me to be hands on with my music because of a couple reasons. First, I’m a perfectionist. I like to know that I did everything in my power to make my music, or song the best that it can be. The second reason is that due to being a perfectionist, anything I do is a reflection of me, of my art. So hand in hand those two reasons constantly circle each other. Not to say that my producers at ONYX Soundlab in Manchester, CT haven’t been amazing. They are a tremendously supportive, hard working and creative team. But even they would tell you, that in the end, it my project. It’s my baby. You got to make it what it is. So I do. I go in full steam ahead and work.
How do you include the influences of your idols such as Aretha Franklin and Mariah Carey into your music while still putting your own twist on it?
I listen to my idols daily. It could be the same song over and over. When I listen to my idols, I listen for the same reason. Because it brings me joy. Their voices, their passion rings through my ears and sends chills down my spine. Whether it’s a ballad or an up-tempo, it brings me joy. It makes me happy. It makes a bad day good again. And because I have such an eclectic taste for music, it’s not so much the style of the music that influences me as much as it is the passion coming forth from the artist. So that is what influences me when I create my own music. I take their passion and make it my own. I try and say to myself, how would my idols deliver the song? And take it from there.
You describe yourself as Freddie Mercury meets Christina Aguilera and how exactly did you come up with that colorful description?
To be completely honest, a dear friend of mine made that observation into such a colorful description. I was extremely flattered by such a comparison as both Freddie Mercury and Christina Aguilera are powerful, very influential and extraordinarily talented artists. Both of these artists have been very influential in my life and my music. More idols you can say. As a performer, Freddie Mercury was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals that spanned over a four-octave range. I’ve been known to have an outgoing persona onstage, and I have a four-octave range myself. Christina Aguilera has pipes of steel and fearlessness about her that is necessary to make it in this business. I am working on possessing that same fearlessness in my music and this musical journey I am on. So with those two musical muses singing in my ears, I am ready to take the music industry by storm.
You say you want to reach new heights with your music, so what exactly do you envision and would like to achieve?
Just like any artist, you want to have the next best thing. You want to have the song that turns people’s heads. You want to have the sound that captures a generation or two. I want that. I want to push the envelope with my voice. I want to say hey, I will try anything for the sake of my music. I want to always think outside the box. I want to bring my music to its highest potential and then some. I want to surprise myself along with my audience. I never want to be boring or repetitive. I hope to achieve success through record sales, self promotion and eventually a official record deal. Eventually I would also like to produce and write songs for others. Ultimately I want my life to be overwhelmed by the music business.
You’re big on giving back to the community and the youth, so could you tell us a little bit about us about your “Starmakers” program.
I started my “Starmakers” program at the CT Cabaret Theater to provide an artistic outlet for the youth. I wish there had been programs like this when I was younger. We put on an entire show all while learning about the stage and how to work on the stage. In the meantime, we focus on self-esteem, stage presence and confidence.
How have you grown as an individual since first entering the music industry?
When I first entered the music industry, I was as green as they come. I thought all I needed to do was make a demo and I would be discovered. I have since learned how much hard work goes into just making music. Its takes hours, days, months. Its takes persistence, confidence and discipline. I have grown to not take things as personally. I have grown to not give up on a dream. My dream. I have grown to appreciate my passion, and my passion has only grown more intense the further I venture into the business. I have also grown as far as a vocalist and a songwriter. Practice makes perfect. And I keep practicing and will not give up. I will make as much music as I possibly. For the rest of my life.