Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60’s, I was surrounded by an incredible music scene that offered such a diversity of musical genres that on any given weekend, you could see artists such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Tower Of Power, and Miles Davis, to name a few.
Early on, I was absolutely knocked out by many of the British bands, particularly Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Animals, The Zombies, The Hollies, and of course, the Beatles. Around 1968, an older friend turned me on to a radio station that played all soul all the time and it just turned me inside out! I couldn’t hear enough Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Jerry Butler, The Impressions, The Drifters, Aretha Franklin, and so many others.“
In the seventies, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rankin, and Bobby Caldwell were the guys that I tried to emulate. Stevie Wonder for sure and Bobby Caldwell to a certain extent were soulful, Kenny Rankin was almost folk like, but with a jazzy edge, and Lenny Williams singing “Soul Vaccination”, oh my gosh, so smooth! Al Green and Donny Hathaway were a couple of other singers that really impacted me.
Frank Sinatra was my revelation in the 80’s, and I found out quickly that I wasn’t ever going to be Frank Sinatra. I discovered Chet Baker about 10 years ago and dubbed him the ‘Anti-Sinatra’; I really love his phrasing, wonderful pitch, and the horn-like quality of his voice. Another singer that I really enjoy is Johnny Hartman. As far as ballad singing goes, Johnny Hartman is it!
As for contemporary artists, I’m a huge fan of Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling, Shirley Horn and a Portland native, Rebecca Kilgore, who I think is as good as anyone. There is another great singer in Portland, Shirley Nannete, who I think is great.”
After over 20 years of performing, I started to find my own voice and style that is really just a synthesis of everything that I’ve listened to and loved. Some vocalists are fortunate enough to discover who they are early in their careers, and bypass the stage of trying to imitate others. It took me many years to develop the confidence to present myself as an artist, and not just another ‘band guy’ trying to get over with someone else’s sound.”I am having the time of my life as a performer, and feel as though the best is yet to come.”