HOMETOWN: Erial, New Jersey.
MUSICAL TRAINING: Being the youngest of six kids, there was an eclectic mix of music playing in my house at any given time. I started listening to and transcribing piano parts at the age of ten. I attended Berklee College of Music’s five-week summer program in 2005, and returned for my undergraduate degree from 2007-2011.
FIRST GIGS: My first public performance was at an eighth grade talent show. After attending the Berklee summer program, I started a jazz duo in high school and I also met [drummer] Marcus Baylor, my first mentor. The highlight of my senior year was when he sat in with my band at a Starbucks.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: Johann Sebastian Bach, Quincy Jones, Greg Phillinganes, Bruce Hornsby, Gavin Degraw, Kirk Franklin, Richard Gibbs, Ivan Barias, Marcus Baylor, Michael Bearden, Alex Lacamoire, to name a few.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: Kevin Garrett’s Mellow Drama EP, and Lauren Desberg’s album Twenty First Century Problems.
INSTRUMENTS PLAYED: Piano, Tuba, acoustic and electric guitar, various synthesizers, conducting baton, my voice box.
MY BIG BREAK: Attending Berklee College of Music. The relationships that I’ve been fortunate to cultivate with the college and its alumni have helped me to work on some life-changing projects. Noteworthy experiences range from working on the Broadway show Hamilton, to working with everyone from Quincy Jones to Imagine Dragons.
LATEST ALBUM: The three most recent albums I’ve contributed to are Hamilton (Original Broadway Cast Recording), the self-titled album by the a cappella group Pentatonix (I co-wrote their lead single “Can’t Sleep Love”), and Imagine Dragons’ Shots EP.
FAVORITE KEYBOARD GEAR: The Yamaha CFX concert grand piano. While I was a tenant at the Village Recorder in Los Angeles, I would steal any moment I could in their Moroccan Room to hear those strings move air! I’m a Yamaha Artist and I love everything they make. With Imagine Dragons, my full rig is a Yamaha Motif XF7, with an Akai MPK249 as a controller on top. I also play various Gibson guitars with a variety of pedals.
WHAT’S NEXT: The fifth and final leg of the Imagine Dragons Smoke + Mirrors world tour in eastern Europe this January. Then back into the studio to continue writing and producing songs for various artists, and the 2016 release the original soundtrack for Game, a European film that I composed the score for.
ADVICE TO OTHER MUSICIANS: Learn from your mistakes and your successes. If something works well, understand why, and reproduce excellent results while always seeking growth.