1) You released your brand-new single “Coffee Bar” at the beginning of the year. It carried a little different feel than some of your previous work. Tell us a little bit about how the song came together.

I had the melody for “Coffee Bar” the morning I went to go write with my friend Angel Ramirez. It was the second time that we had written together, and I wanted to bring sort of a cool, jumpin’ groove where people could bob their head and sway back and forth.

The story kind of came from this. One thing that us teenagers always say and can connect on…for example, if you’re ever travelling on a plane and see somebody who looks like they’re around your same age, what briefly goes through your mind is that in another universe was that person my wife? Like, were we going to end up marrying each other in another universe? I mentioned that to Angel, and I asked him if he ever had that happen. He was like, “Oh yeah! Before I met my wife, that would happen all the time.” And he brought up that it would be kind of cool to put that into the perspective of a coffee shop since everybody can relate to the revolving door of people coming in and out.

That really encapsulated something that we both experienced, but I never thought that’d I’d release the song. I loved it the day we wrote it, but never thought that I’d record it. But the more that I played around with it, and the more I played it during writer’s rounds, the more people told me that they liked it. So, it very quickly became one of those things where I said that if I started to put together another album, it appears as though this song needs to be on it since people always mention this one.  

2) It follows the very solid success of “Falling Too.” What similarities will your fans be able to find between the two songs, but also in what ways will they be able to see how in just a short time you’ve really grown as a songwriter as well?

Oh, my goodness! I mean even from my last album. The reason that my last album was called Phase 1: Discover was because I was discovering myself as a person, as a writer, and as an artist. Those songs were written over the course of 4 years, and you can hear that; You can tell which songs were written earlier.

I think “Coffee Bar” is no different. You can tell where I was at in my life, in my heart…I was in a good place and so I wanted to write a really fun song about that. People will hear that also with other songs on this album because I’m not just writing songs like “Coffee Bar.” There’s going to be plenty of heartbreak songs on the album. It’s authentic because it’s me and things I’ve been through.

I think people will hear that growth because one of the worst things any artist can say, me included, is that this is what I’ve always done, how I’ve always done it. Your audience is continuing to grow and experience life, and they will get bored and tired of you if you keep writing about all the same things and don’t act like your human and experiencing life with them.

3)  It’s always fascinating for us to talk with a young talent as they’re continuing to learn while driving into their want to grow as a songwriter. You’re currently at Belmont University doing just that. Tell us how being engrained at Belmont has changed your approach the most so far?

What’s funny is that I’m going to school for music business and legal studies because I wanted to go to school for something that helps with a different aspect of my career. It’s helped me learn about the business side so that when I go into a meeting, I don’t have to talk through somebody, but I can understand what we’re talking about.

Also, I wouldn’t have the band that I do without Belmont. My best friend is my guitar player and we met at Belmont. He lived in the dorm across the hall from me and we instantly became best friends. So, Belmont put me in a field with other people who just love music and want to grow with me. We’re all the same age and have been doing it our whole lives.

It’s helped me tremendously with making those friends and connections, and it showed me what it’s like to have friends who don’t want anything from you but just want to watch you succeed. Then in return, you just want to help them succeed.

4) “Coffee Bar” is, however, not the only new music for you to start the new year. We’ve got word that you have a new single on the way at the end of March called “Good Days.” Tell us more about that song and what we can expect from it.

Yeah, March 29th. It’s one of those songs where I said that they all won’t be like “Coffee Bar.” It is called “Good Days,” but it’s not a good day song. It’s a heartbreak song. It’s just one of those where I had to write what I was going through and what I knew.

I didn’t think that it would be one of my songs when we wrote that one, either. I wrote it with my friend Drew. Not to sound like a broken record, but it was another one of those where I sat with it and played with it for about a month, right up until we were heading into the studio. We kind of just said, “what if we cut “Good Days” with a full band in the studio to see how it sounds?” We cut it and then went…ummm oh!

Also, it wasn’t the only choice for the next single. We had it down to “Good Days” and another song on the album, but we think it really fits. I’m super excited for it to come out because it’s going to be the next official radio single as well, so I’ll really be pushing that in April. We’re going to be doing a radio tour…which what a blessing to get to hear my work on the radio! That’s something that I never take for granted because there are so many worse things that I could be doing then getting to write songs and play songs.

5) We have so many aspiring songwriters and artists that read our website, so we always like to end by asking this…what is the best piece of advice you can offer?

Don’t compare yourself to anybody else. God made each of us in our own specific way and everybody’s journey is different. Keep working and be willing to be told no more times than you are told yes.

And when you go into any situation, know that the worst thing anybody can tell you is no.  Put you name out there and be willing to be told no. Every single opportunity, even if it’s a no, is a chance to learn something from it.

(Interview by: Jeffrey Kurtis)


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