Team

Jacob Tallent

Posted by | | No Comments

JACOB TALLENT

Guitar Mentor

Jacob was born and raised in Midland, North Carolina (a small country town east of Charlotte). He first started getting involved with music when he was 11 years old. Jacob has studied guitar under many different teachers who have taught varying styles, such as bluegrass, rock, r&b, jazz, percussive finger style, blues, and classical.

Jacob graduated from Liberty University in 2017 with a B.M. in Artist Development. While at Liberty, Jacob studied guitar under Vince Lewis and Keith L. Cooper. Oddly enough, Jacob received a scholarship to play banjo on a traveling ministry team through the LU School of Music and remained a key member of the group for three years and eventually the musical director of the group during his senior year.

He now lives in the Short Pump area outside of Richmond. While Jacob is not teaching, he is most likely traveling and performing with his band Vegan Llamas. Vegan Llamas is a rock band based out of Richmond that is not afraid to stray from the path of traditional rock music. The members of the band are all highly trained in many different genres which creates a different flavor of modern rock music.

If Jacob isn’t teaching or playing with his band, he is most likely working with his hands on different instruments, cooking, working out, or reading.

Tell us a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician.

I first started playing guitar when I was about 11 years old. I actually got a drum set when I was 8, but I didn’t really do anything with it until later on. I grew up listening to all the ‘80s rock bands that my dad listened to. After a couple months of playing guitar and hearing AC/DC, that is when I decided I wanted to come a musician. My dad showed me videos of Angus Young running across the stage and sliding around like a fool and that’s what made me want to play guitar.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I love all types of music. It really depends on my mood to determine my “favorite artists”. I guess some of my favorites would be: Snarky Puppy, Punch Brothers, Jerry Reed, Revocation, Zac Brown Band, Dirty Loops, Mastodon, Plini, Marcus King, Polyphia, and a lot more… I’m a weird guy.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and non-musical?

Some of my biggest inspirations would probably be my family. They have always supported my musical endeavors and my decisions. Another one would be some of my professors at Liberty University that taught me how worship is truly a lifestyle and not just something we gather to do on Sunday mornings.

If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?

If I could follow in any musician’s footsteps, it would probably be Chris Thile or Michael League. Those two guys are huge in my opinion. Their musical vocabulary and abilities are on another level.

If you had the ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?

If I could choose any musician to collaborate with, it would probably be Chris Stapleton. I would love to sit down and write a song from scratch with him. He is a hit-song machine.

What are your plans for the future of your music?

My plans for my music is to perform, write, and record with my band Vegan Llamas for a very long time. Somewhere down the road I plan on making an Americana album with some very important people (outside Vegan Llamas).

Connect with Vegan Llamas

     

Stephanie Singletary

Posted by | | No Comments

STEPHANIE SINGLETARY

Dance Mentor

A Raleigh, North Carolina native, Stephanie began dancing when she was three years old at a local dance studio. Her love for dance grew rapidly and she began to explore different styles of dance including ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, modern, and hip-hop. By the age of 11, she decided that she wanted to pursue a career in ballet, and started training rigorously. During this time, she participated in five Cecchetti Council of America Exams and received commendable and highly commendable on each one, competed at Youth America Grand Prix and won top twelve in her division, taught private ballet lessons, and assisted in dance classes for at her studio. Stephanie also danced corps roles in Carolina Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker and La Sylphide throughout this time in her dance education.

Desiring to further her ballet training, Stephanie attended the University of North Carolina School of the Arts for high school, learning from world-renowned instructors such as Susan Jaffe, Ethan Stiefel, Warren Conover, and Nina Danilova. At UNCSA, Stephanie had the opportunity to perform George Balanchine’s Symphonie Concertante and La Source, Ethan Stiefel’s The Nutcracker, Susan Jaffe’s Polovtsian Dances, James Kudelka’s Gazebo Dances, Paquita, and Swan Lake. From ages eleven to seventeen, Stephanie participated various summer training intensives such as Joffrey South, The Rock School, The School of American Ballet, Central Pennsylvania Ballet, and Richmond Ballet.

Following a year as a trainee with the Richmond Ballet, Stephanie was offered a contract to dance professionally in Richmond Ballet II, where she danced for three years. During this time she performed ballets such as Stoner Winslett’s The Nutcracker, Malcolm Burn’s Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella, George Balanchine’s Serenade and The Four Temperaments, Nicholas Berizoff’s Don Quixote, Marius Petipa’s La Bayadere, Salvatorre Aiello’s Rite of Spring, and Bill Soleau’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Stephanie took college classes while working full time as a professional ballerina and graduated in the spring of 2016 with a B.A. in Liberal Studies. Stephanie is excited to join the staff at Passion Academy and aims to bring young dancers along in a positive, encouraging environment.

Connect with Stephanie

     

Megan Tatum

Posted by | | No Comments

MEGAN TATUM

Dance Mentor

Megan Tatum is a musical theatre performer/choreographer and feels absolutely blessed to join the Passion team.  She grew up in Chester, Virginia training in all styles of dance at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School, Richmond Ballet, and Chesterfield School of Ballet under the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus.  Megan is a kid at heart and loves working and dancing with children of all ages and abilities.  She is a graduate of the College of William and Mary with a B.S. in Kinesiology and Health Sciences Pre-Physical Therapy and a B.A. in Integration of Dance, Music, and Theatre Performance.  Megan has taught and choreographed all over Virginia at Broadway Dance Arts, Virginia Regional Ballet, SPARC, Dogwood Dell, Swift Creek Mill, and Henrico High School Center for the Arts to name a few.  Megan most recently worked with Virginia Repertory Theatre on A Christmas Story (Dance Captain/Featured Ensemble) and Junie B. Jones the Musical (Associate Choreographer/May/Mommy/Grace).  She lives in New York City, when not traveling to teach and perform, and assists physical therapists with Broadway and ballet companies such as New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Wicked, and Matilda.

Megan believes in not just teaching students to dance and perform but also to understand their body and how it moves so that they can have long and active lives enjoying whatever their passion may be.  She has performed professionally all over the country with Midtown Arts Center (Mary Poppins), Compass Rose Theater (Brigadoon), Alluvion Stage Company (Beauty and the Beast), Riverside Dinner Theatre (West Side Story), Virginia Musical Theatre (Little Mermaid, Legally Blonde, Children of Eden, Mame), and at Busch Gardens (Christmas Town).  Megan is so excited to share her joy for life and dance with the people she is able to mentor at Passion Academy.

Connect with Megan

        

Alex Jordan-Francavilla

Posted by | | No Comments

ALEX JORDAN-FRANCAVILLA

Guitar and Voice Mentor

Starting with the violin, Alex began her love her music at a very young age. After the violin, she fell in love with the guitar and the piano. A few years later, she joined her school’s worship team and played bass every weekday morning, developing her love for stage performance. For a couple years, Alex learned how to collaborate with other musicians as well as the importance of stage presence. During this time, she joined a chorus which went on to compete in national competitions. Alex then moved on to lead worship at a school for a couple years, and became heavily involved at her church. Soon after, she was asked to help start the children’s ministry at a new location for a large church. Now she is pursuing an Early and Elementary Education degree at Virginia Commonwealth University and sharing her love for music by teaching at Passion Academy.

Tell us a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician.

My musical interest began as a child, surrounded by musicians, it felt like my destiny to pick up an instrument. I first learned to play the violin and honed the skills of sight reading, notes, and laid a classical foundation. After a few years, I moved on to the piano and took lessons for several years. The piano remains one of my favorite instruments to play, and a supporting player in the rest of my musical background. A few years later, my stepfather introduced the guitar to me, and I fell in love; he taught me basic chords and strum patterns, and I took off running from there. Soon after that, I joined a choir to train my vocal chords and learn how to properly sing. During this time, an opportunity presented itself to play bass in a band, so I learned to play bass and played with them for about four years. After that I lead a worship team, singing and playing guitar once a week. All of these experiences lead to me exploring as many instruments as possible and falling in love with music.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I have a wide range of favorite artists, Weezer, Kiss, OAR, Green Day, Billy Joel, and so many others. Most of my favorite artists became my favorites because my parents would constantly play these bands around me while I was growing up.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and nonmusical?

My stepfather is one of my biggest inspirations musically, to have him constantly playing while I grew up inspired me to learn as many instruments as possible. My friends have also been a huge influence in my life, most of my peers play instruments and have encouraged me to learn different styles and reach out of my comfort zone to new areas.

If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?

As much as I love other artists, I feel like music is a very personal experience and I would much rather stand apart from everyone else. I would love to make as much of a difference as I can with my music.

If you had the ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?

I think I would love to collaborate with a couple different bands to see how differently they deal with music. I would love to work with Weezer and OAR, because they have a sound that I love to listen to. OAR has more meaningful songs with their writing, however Weezer has a very fun and catchy sound.

What are your plans for the future of your music?

I hope to play music throughout all my life. I love playing at different venues and in several different bands. The biggest thing I hope to do in my music is make a difference in someone’s life. I have played all around the world, in several different countries, and the most powerful moments have been deep in worship in the poorest of countries. I would love to spend as much of my life as I can worshiping and celebrating with the most genuine people all around the world.

Scott Waterland

Posted by | | No Comments

SCOTT WATERLAND

Viola Mentor

Scott was raised in Chesterfield, Virginia where he first began playing viola at Matoaca Middle School twelve years ago. He attended St. Christopher’s School in Richmond, receiving the William Carter Bowles Memorial Music Prize at graduation.

A member of the VCU Symphony, Scott is on track to graduate this semester with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a minor in general business. In his time at VCU, Scott has studied under several members of the Richmond Symphony, as well as many other esteemed, talented musicians.

Currently living in Manchester, Scott is a part of the Matoaca Christian Fellowship worship team. He is also a contemporary classical composer, having composed pieces for string quartet, string trio, and solo piano, among others.

Tell us a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician.

It was about twelve years ago: I remember sitting in the Sonia Vlahcevic Concert Hall at the VCU Singleton Center, where I now perform with the VCU Symphony. My mom took me to see the VCU Symphony play, with a solo viola player in front. This violist had won the VCU Concerto Competition, and the sound she evoked from her instrument was like none other I had ever heard. The vast array of colors and the deep tone were more than enough to convince me that I needed to start playing the viola. The rest is history.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Philip Glass, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, Gidon Kremer, David Garrett, Fritz Kreisler, Vivaldi, Haydn, Debussy, Dvořák, Tchaikovsky, John Williams, Wim Mertens.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and non-musical?

Definitely Philip Glass. His music just speaks to me for some reason, and his life story is very inspirational. Daniel Myssyk, the conductor of the VCU Symphony, is also a huge inspiration for me: he expects the best from every single person in the symphony, yet he is still compassionate.

If you had the ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?

Again, Philip Glass. Getting the opportunity to collaborate with him would be a dream come true for me. I have many musical ideas that I would love to throw his way.

What are your plans for the future of your music?

To always keep honing my craft as a violist and teacher, and to never stop learning more about the vast subjects of music. Also, to work in recording studios as an engineer and one day own a studio. My main goal is to eventually develop a unique sound which I can indubitably call my own.

Clara Rawlings

Posted by | | No Comments

CLARA RAWLINGS

Piano Mentor

Clara started playing piano at age 6, and has been playing ever since. Throughout her life, music has always been a huge inspiration, and a great way for her to express herself. The moment it all clicked for her was when she was able to use the skills she had been taught to learn one of her favorite classical pieces on her own. She draws inspiration from all across the board- from pianist Jon Schmidt to composer Michael Giacchino to indie folk artist The Tallest Man on Earth. Having had wonderful mentors teaching her in the past, and a sister who went through music school, Clara feels inspired to help budding pianists and artists find their own ways of playing, and giving them the tools so that they, too, can be the driving force in their musical adventures. In the future, Clara will continue to learn and play, and will hopefully be able to incorporate her music into her career path in Psychology.

Tell us a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician.

I first started playing piano when I was about six years old. I wanted to play so that I could be like my older sister, she was such a big influence on me. I think she was honestly one of the driving factors in me pursuing music for so long. When I was twelve, I snuck one of her piano books and learned a song that she had played, and for me, that was one of my biggest accomplishments- to take the skills I had been taught and using them to emulate someone I looked up to so much.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

I definitely love classical and romantic pianists – Claude Debussy is one of my favorite composers of all time. I also love Jon Schmidt, Michael Giacchino, The Tallest Man on Earth, Vampire Weekend, Paul Simon, Hall and Oates, Billy Joel, and Mac DeMarco (among numerous others).

Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and non-musical?

Absolutely my family is a huge source of inspiration to me. Another inspiration is Kristian Matsson.

If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?

Kristian Matsson. Definitely not the most widely known or acclaimed musician, but his work (under the stage name The Tallest Man on Earth) is so full of truth and meaning, and stems so strongly from his own experiences and personal life, it is something I try to emulate all of the time. He didn’t start of at all thinking he would be a full time musician, releasing songs on the side, just for the sake of making music that he loves. That turned into numerous albums, beautiful songs, and inspiring words. His ability to speak in metaphors and stories continues to astound me.

If you had ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?

Honestly, I would love to collaborate with Billy Joel. I grew up listening to his music, and to take part in his songwriting talent and musical legacy would be a dream come true.

What are you plans for the future of your music?

In the future, I hope to develop more fully my own style of writing and playing. I hope to inspire students to find what they love about music and let it lead them where it will. I want to use my knowledge of music to aid me in my career path with psychology, and continue writing and playing for as long as possible.

Randall Goulard

Posted by | | No Comments

RANDALL GOULARD

Worship Leadership Mentor

Randall Goulard is a pastor with a heart for other ministry leaders, especially worship leaders…or worship “pastors” as he calls them. He also happens to be a musician and a worship leader himself. Randall’s goal and passion is to see worship leaders thrive in their roles as ministry leaders, but also in their lives as worshipers who are called to pastor other worshipers into their identity as sons and daughters of the King.

Randall has been involved in worship for almost 20 years, as a pianist, a singer and a worship leader. He has had the opportunity to lead extensively in multiple settings (colleges, traditional church services, modern contemporary church services, blended services and on the road with youth ministry groups). He truly has a heart for seeing the full breadth and depth of what we call “worship” come alive in worship leaders, in individuals who call themselves followers of Christ, in the body of Christ (what we call “the church”), and in the lives of the local communities we call “churches”.

Growing up in the church, Randall always had questions about himself and his life with God. “Am I good enough?” “Do I have to perform well in my life in order to experience God?” “Can I be loved and accepted without performing up in front of people?” “Will I ever be able to live up to my own expectations?” “These are the questions I used to live in, the questions that led me into years of searching for my identity. Sadly I didn’t find it in the serving the church, or in serving the world.”

But as Jesus so often does, he used these very questions to lead Randall into his ministry journey, and more importantly into the arms of the Father, the only place where true worship can begin. This journey began with a call to leave the business world and give himself full-time to ministry. Randall eventually completed a M.A. in Pastoral Studies with an emphasis in Church Leadership and Development and Worship Leadership and has been a worship pastor for the past 6 years, recently moving with his family from California to Richmond.

“My wife and I met as worship leaders, and my pride and joy is found in us worshiping as a family. Worship is about the presence and the revelation of God Himself, in Jesus, through the Holy Spirit. It’s about the everyday joy of life rooted in who I am in my Father. It’s not about music, it’s not about a job.”

Randall is very excited about leading a brand new course specifically designed for worship leaders called The Art of Worship ©.

LEARN MORE

Joy Weaver Price

Posted by | | No Comments

JOY WEAVER PRICE

Piano Mentor

Joy Weaver Price began piano lessons with her mother at age 5. Music and the arts have always been at the center of her life, and once she graduated high school she realized she couldn’t imagine a life without them. Choosing to focus on piano, Joy went on to study at James Madison University and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Piano Performance with a minor in Music Industry. Moving to the Richmond area in 2014, Joy has enjoyed familiarizing herself with the arts scene. She is a pianist at the Richmond Ballet, additionally playing for their outreach program, ‘Minds in Motion’. She also serves as the Director of Traditional Music at River Road UMC. Her other musical specialties include voice and saxophone. With a deep seated passion for music and helping others achieve their goals, Joy looks forward to teaching with Passion Academy!

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Naturally as a female pianist I love Regina Spektor. Her lyrics have carried me through many tough times! I’m inspired by the way Yann Tiersen composes for piano, and my favorite classical composer is Chopin by a longshot. Other artists and bands I love are Nickel Creek, Jacob Collier, and Lady Gaga, although there isn’t all too much music I don’t like.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and non-musical?

My Dad is my greatest inspiration as a mentor. He showed me how important it is to have a figure in your life who sees every moment as an opportunity to learn from each other and laugh. He supported me in every endeavor, no matter how big or small. I believe if everyone had this kind of mentorship, the world would be a kinder place.

Musically, I am inspired by almost any soul who writes their own songs or works with others to write songs with reckless abandon, or who performs without fear of what people think. That’s what I strive for!

If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?

Regina Spektor.

If you had the ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?

I would love to collaborate with Sarah Watkins, Sean Watkins, Chris Thile (!!!!!!!!), and Alison Krauss.

What are your plans for the future of your music?

I would love to reach a larger audience with my music, whether it’s solo piano, working with a band, or songwriting. Being on stage makes me the happiest! I have a dream of offering scholarship lessons and mentorship to underprivileged children and regularly performing.

Sarah Thorne

Posted by | | No Comments

SARAH THORNE

Guitar Mentor

Sarah Thorne was born in Glen Allen, VA, where she was raised in a strong Christian environment as a homeschool student and discovered her passion for the arts at a very early age.

She excelled as a guitar student after starting private lessons at the age of 13, and by age of 16, Sarah began to regularly lead worship for the local church she attended at that time. Through this opportunity, she acquired valuable experience in leadership, teamwork, playing with bands, performing, songwriting, and singing. By the age of 17, she began tinkering with home recording as a pass-time, but soon demonstrated that she had “natural ear” for editing, mixing, and mastering. This discovery led to her creating own music, writing original pieces that defy genres and carry heavy-hitting truths. Her songs aim to carry raw intensity as well as her Christian perspective on the struggles life can bring.

Sarah graduated high school in 2014 and currently studies guitar performance and worship leadership through Cruse Institute for the Arts: an accredited Christian online music college. Sarah plans on graduating with her BA in Music Ministry and then continuing her studies through Liberty University towards her Master’s degree. As of now, she serves as an acoustic guitar player and vocalist for her church and continues to produce music through her personal recording studio. In addition to playing the guitar, she enjoys drawing, writing, and studying psychology and theology. Sarah plays both the both acoustic and electric guitar, rhythm and lead styles, and can sing and play simultaneously. She also has been learning to play the bass guitar, and has even been known to dabble at the keyboard. Often known for her knack at learning new things quickly, Sarah loves to challenge her abilities to grow to new heights, all for God’s glory.

Tell us a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician:

I’ve always found myself drawn to rock music when it came on the radio…but it always seemed to lack the “grr” that I wanted to hear. When I heard the band Skillet for the first time in middle school, my mind was blown. Finally, I had found a style of music that suited my tastes! I instantly decided that I wanted to play music like that one day, to impact people for Christ and play intense, powerful music. It wasn’t long after that that I began taking guitar lessons.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

Skillet, RED, Linkin Park, Too Close to Touch, Wage War, For All Eternity, and Thousand Foot Krutch are some of my favorites, just to name a few…I even enjoy a little rap, orchestral/movie trailer music, and the blues. Honestly, it’s probably easier to tell you who and what I don’t like, since it’s a smaller list! I like a bit of everything and everyone. I view genres as paint colors rather than complete pictures…each one adds something unique to this world, and a good artist knows how to blend them together into a masterpiece. The more inbred a genre becomes, the less creative it is.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical and non-musical?

My best friend is probably my biggest non-musical inspiration. She is a published Christian fantasy author, and her book series has had a tremendous impact on me for as long as we have been friends, which has been basically our entire lives. Her stories have played a role in influencing my songwriting, and even though the series is fictional, I find myself relating to the emotional struggles and moral dilemmas on a deeply personal level. I want people to be able to identify with my music the way that I identify with her characters.

Musically, I’m heavily influenced by rock and metal (especially hard rock and metalcore, as respective sub-genres). I love the mixture of intensity, drop-tuned guitars, catchy lead hooks, and explosive solos…but as I said before, I try to draw inspiration from a little bit of everything.

If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?

Ben Kasica, the former guitarist of Skillet, is probably my biggest inspiration as a musician. He went on to be a producer after he retired from the band. I’d love to follow a similar path…perform for a few years, and then settle down behind a control board in a studio and help other artists “make it”.

I also really am inspired by a kid named Cole Rolland, who is an incredible guitarist and collaborates with other musicians to make remakes of popular songs with a heavier twist. He also writes his own original music and produces it, and is a very successful independent artist.

Lastly, I’m inspired by none other than the founders of Passion Academy. One of my aspirations in life is to one day be a successful businesswoman in the music industry. Seeing a similar dream fulfilled through Daniel and Derek is hugely encouraging.

If you had the ability to pick anyone to collaborate with musically, who would it be?

I honestly would love to collaborate with NF. He is a rapper, so his musical approach is different from what I normally listen to…but his emotional intensity really appeals to me. Also, I think it would be super cool to work with guys like Hans Zimmer and people who make epic cinematic music.

What are your plans for the future of your music?

As of Spring 2017, I am in the process of writing and recording original songs for my debut album, which I plan to release in August. I also am working on making covers to worship songs that I have been remixing with a rockier edge. I hope to one day tour with my own band and minister to youth through my music, speaking engagements, and even comedy.  I want to be able to reach people from all backgrounds through living a Christ-Honoring life without conforming to the “Christian” stereotype in the music industry. I would love to have a successful career as a performing artist and eventually produce for other young artists full-time.  My dream is to one day run a cutting-edge recording studio and ministry for artists.

Jeremy Hook

Posted by | | No Comments

JEREMY HOOK

Guitar Mentorjeremy-hook-bio-pic

Combining a passion for playing rock, classical, and jazz music; Jeremy Hook is a guitarist that is always striving to create something new. Having played in many rock bands while studying jazz guitar in his hometown of Fredericksburg, Jeremy developed a taste for combining styles and techniques from the many genres he loves.

Jeremy started playing the electric guitar over ten years ago, and has sense expanded his playing to acoustic, finger-style, nylon, and extended ranged instruments; such as 7 and 8 string guitars. He firmly believes that learning music is a rich and endless journey, and enjoys mentoring students to discover their own musical path. The current step of Jeremy’s musical journey is studying classical guitar at Virginia Commonwealth University, where he is in pursuit of obtaining his Bachelors in Music Performance.

Aside from playing the guitar, Jeremy possess a deep love for composing music. Rather it be songwriting for his progressive rock band, Epiphany, or arranging music for video games/film; Jeremy believes that creating art is the most important, and wonderful thing a musician can do.

Tell us a little bit about your musical background; when you first started, the first experience that made you want to become a musician.

Having been exposed to my father’s record collection of 60’s/70’s music at a very young age, I learned to admire musicianship and the art of songwriting while still in elementary school. When I listened to bands from his collection, such as Cream and Yes, the guitar always managed to capture my attention beyond all else.

At age 12, I expressed my interest in music to my uncle who plays guitar, who proceeded let me try out his Fender Stratocaster. As an adolescent teen, life seems very uncertain; but when I picked up that guitar, for the first time in my life I experienced something that I knew was meant to be. In that moment, nearly twelve years ago, I discovered that there was nothing more in life that I wanted to do than to play guitar.

Who are some of your favorite artists?

It’s certainly difficult to choose my favorite artists when I have so many from so many different genres!

From traditional rock music; I would have to say that no artist has had a bigger influence on me than The Beatles and heavy metal legends, Metallica.

In modern music; I religiously follow progressive rock bands Animals as Leaders and Dream Theater.

In classical music; I always gravitate back to the compositions of J.S. Bach, as well as my classical guitar hero Francisco Tárrega.

In jazz; I deeply connect to the works of early jazz composers like Dave Brubeck and Charlie Parker; but I also share a passion for modern players such as Pat   Metheney, Allan Holdsworth, and pianist Hiromi Uehara.

Who are some of your biggest inspirations, musical, and non-musical?

Musically, the joy of composing, progressing, and playing keep me inspired to continue my musical path.

Non-musically, there is no bigger non-musical inspiration than the love and compassion I receive from my wife.

If you could follow in any musician’s footsteps, who would it be?

As interesting as it could be to follow the footsteps of a hero, I would rather walk my own path. I’m a firm believer in borrowing and learning from your idols, but you should strive to forge your own way in life.

If you had the ability to pick anybody to collaborate with musically, who would it be?

Honestly the choices are endless, I would love the opportunity to write with all my heroes! I think the greatest honor of all time would be able to create music with Paul McCartney. Paul can write the most memorable, emotionally moving songs with even the simplest of chord progressions. I would love to tap into his writing process.

What are your plans for the future of your music?

My dream career would be to compose music for film and video games, while simultaneously teaching; be it in academia or private instruction. I plan to complete my Bachelors of Music at VCU and pay my dues performing locally. After becoming a seasoned musician in Richmond, I intend to continue my education in pursuit of earning a Ph.D. in Musical Composition.