Tell us a little about how you create music. Is there an instrument with which you feel most comfortable?
Usually I’ll just be sitting on the couch or in my room and a phrase will pop into my head and I’ll think, “Hey, that would make a great lyric.” Then I’ll write it down in my phone and the rest of the words just come to me. After I have the words, I’ll play around with some chords on my ukulele, and after a while, I’ll have figured out the melody and I record it on my laptop. I just started learning the ukulele, so I only know the basics, but I think it works for my songs. The simple strumming of a few chords fits my voice and songs much better than any complicated beats. Right now I’m trying to learn more about the guitar and piano, and I’ve actually been playing the saxophone since the fifth grade.
Could you tell us of a life-changing moment?
It wasn’t until I saw my favorite female singer, Brandi Carlile, in concert that I knew I wanted to be a singer as well [as a composer]. Her songs had such an emotional impact on me and her stage presence was so magnetic. After that, I began writing and singing my own songs.
Whose work do you admire the most?
Ray LaMontagne definitely has to be my favorite artist. He has such a pure, emotive voice that just melts your heart in every song he sings. It has a rare, husky quality to it that is really beautiful. I haven’t heard a single one of his songs that I didn’t love.
Why Columbia College?
I’ve always loved Chicago. Ever since I was little, I dreamed of living here. So, when I was looking into what colleges I wanted to apply at, I came across Columbia. I liked the idea of the school. It seemed like a good place for me to concentrate on my music. After I attended the open house and saw the beautiful dorms and great location, I knew it was the place for me. I didn’t even have to apply anywhere else.
What do you look for in a collaborative partner?
They have to have similar taste in music as me, reliable, friendly, and reasonably skilled in music. As long as someone is passionate about music though, I will be able to work with them.
What is one class you’ve taken that you would recommend to students working in your field?
I have still only taken basic music classes here, but I would have to say my Intro to Music Theory class was hugely beneficial because of my teacher, Rob Ballmaier. He taught me so much and my understanding of music has tripled since taking his class.