I started playing guitar and singing around thirteen years old. Music was my first love, and something to this day, I feel truly inspired by. I am the youngest child in my family. When I was born, my dad was already in his forties and working on his second family. So, I have siblings that are nearly twenty years older than me. In some ways, the age difference was great because I was exposed to a diverse mix of music in my young life (70’s Rock, Motown, R&B, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, Pop., etc.,)
My first experience singing on stage was with one of my older brothers in a cover band. He was performing at a hotel and brought me up to sing a song. I think I was only fourteen years old, but I was so excited about the opportunity to share music this way. Since then, it’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do.
Growing up, my family went to Catholic church once or twice a year. I was baptized and believed in a God, but I didn’t know what a relationship with God was like. I didn’t know much about Jesus.
My father was an alcoholic. His choices caused a lot of pain and profoundly impacted my entire family. His abuse of alcohol, drugs, and women drastically affected my mother and all of his children in some way. Eventually, my parents divorced, and my father later died from this lifestyle.
As a teenager, immediately out of high school, I moved alone to the nearest big city and auditioned for a cover band. I “got the gig” and for three years, I toured and played music in bars four to six nights a week with a fake ID.
At twenty-one years old, I moved to Los Angeles and attended Musicians Institute (MI). After graduating, I stayed in Los Angeles to pursue music, playing in Hollywood bars with several rockers you may know, and fell into the Hollywood party scene. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol became a normal part of my life. At that time, I didn’t have God at the center of my life, and I thought that’s what “cool people’ did. This lifestyle led to many bad decisions including drug addiction and near death experiences. It did not advance my music career or improve my life. Quite the opposite…I’m lucky to be alive.
I became a father in my twenties, and decided to get married. Raising my two kids is one of the greatest blessings of my life, but I found out quickly that my earnings as a musician at that time wasn’t going to be enough to support a family. By God’s grace, I found an opportunity in the denim and fashion industry. This line of work was surprisingly interesting to me because I discovered a common ground between fashion and music. Something about the synergy of technical and creative really worked for me, and I picked it up quickly. This opportunity actually led to a full-blown career. I had to leave music behind for about seven years when I took a job in New York City. This was a confusing time because I became the Vice President at a Fortune 500 Company (without a college degree by the way) and was making more money than I ever had, and yet I found myself miserable.
I enjoyed denim and fashion, but corporate life was not a good fit for me.
I returned to California in 2005 to work for a smaller premium denim supply company. My family settled in Valencia, California. I bought a home with a recording studio and spent all of my free time with my kids, writing, and making music.
My marriage struggled from the very beginning, and in January of 2010, a fifteen-year marriage ended in divorce. I hit my rock bottom when my children moved across the country to Florida with their mother. Everything I worked for was lost. I found myself sitting in a house alone and broken.
My older brother Jeff had given his life to the Lord nearly twenty years before my mess began, and I remember thinking that he had lost his mind. All he ever did was talk about Jesus, Jesus, Jesus… (funny enough, I probably sound crazy to others now for the same reason). Even though I had this opinion of Jeff, other than my mother, Jeff was my “go to” person for encouragement through the toughest days. He was always there for me. He was living in Ohio and I was in Los Angeles, but he suggested I find a church to be around encouraging people.
To honor my brother Jeff’s request, I agreed to attend a service at Angelus Temple, the Church of the Dream Center with Pastor Matthew Barnett. The promise that this church had good music was the bait that lured me to attend. That day was the beginning of a radical transformation. I had my nine-year-old son that weekend and took him with me. Privately, I had a preconceived idea that this church would be boring and ask for money. I thought I’d leave feeling guilty about my life (but at least I showed up and would have kept my promise to my brother).
I felt really surprised. The music was modern, relevant, loud, and powerful. The bait worked.
That day, the pastor’s message was “There’s life after giving up”. It felt like the entire room of more than two-thousand people vanished, and there was a tunnel from the pastor’s words to my ears… like God was speaking to me directly. They had an alter call towards the end of service and invited newcomers to give their life to Christ. My son raised his hand. I was overwhelmed and wept tears of joy (truthfully, I was totally confused what was happening, but I new it was something important and good). This was a new day. My life started over. I met kind, encouraging, and inclusive people from all walks of life; All seeking God’s presence.
The pastor and worship leaders invited me to come back and share one of my songs to the congregation. That turned into several years of service. God transformed my heart from a self-centered person seeking a career in music to satisfy myself - into a grateful man, joyful to serve God and striving to be a blessing any way I can.
Now I know and understand that the only reason I was given the gift and passion for music is to directly or indirectly glorify God and His purpose.
In my most broken years, I found hope and joy volunteering to serve and worship anywhere possible. I would lead worship (singing and playing acoustic guitar) at a half-way house, a prison, a rehab meeting, a home gathering, or a sanctuary or arena with thousands.
It was all the same joy, and still is.
I felt a nudge to write music again, but this time, praise and worship was all I wanted to write. My first Christian album was released in 2013 as a self- produced album titled “Audience of One”. In fall of 2013, I met my wife Danielle. Not online. Not at a bar. I volunteered to lead worship at a church service in Long Beach. Danielle’s father was planting a church, and she had volunteered to help her dad by singing on the worship team that same night. God re-wrote a perfect script for me. Danielle and I were married one year later in November 2014, and we have been on an incredible God-centered journey ever since. Danielle is my purpose-partner. We do everything together, and it all starts in prayer.
Together we started our own denim supply company called Artisan Cloth Inc., and we lead worship together almost every weekend somewhere around the country or internationally. I wrote a collection of praise & worship songs called “Wonderful Powerful” in 2016/2017 that I planned on releasing as another self-produced album. However, just prior to releasing, I met a gentleman from Nashville who has a music marketing company called Bridge music. Bridge Music has a distribution partnership with Sony/Provident. The owner became my friend, and asked to hear my new music. He really liked what he heard. Fall of 2017 we released “Would You Believe” a radio single that reached top 20 in Christian & Gospel. October 26th 2018, we will release “Lord Of All”.
God is opening big doors. All of this happened, not by pursuing a self-centered career to be rich or famous, but by giving God my personal best and serving through my pain. Putting God first in all that I do allowed doors to open that I could never imagine. Divine connections are being made.
And by the way, my daughter moved back with me shortly after the divorce, and I ended up raising her as a single dad. She saw God transform my life and gave her life to Christ as well. Today, she is a graduate of a top Christian school, Vanguard University, and lives her life fully seeking after God’s heart.
The Bible says “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you” Matthew 6:33. Give it a try. I’m convinced Jesus is the author of the skies, and the Lord of All….. to be continued.