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52 songs.

Completely free.
Completely authentic.
Completely unrestrained.

There’s something mystical, magical about a song – this small little window of time that transports us, lifts us, and reminds us what it means to be human. To love, to hurt, to dream, to wonder and question and explore. For me as an artist, I’ve found the song form to be so unique – in four minutes I can say more than a book’s worth of writing, I can feel more than in an intimate conversation with a friend. It’s like this space is created in another realm where I can make sense of life.

I started writing songs when I was twelve years old. I’ve written hundreds of them, but it hasn’t really been until the last three years or so where I’ve felt like I’ve come into myself as an artist – where I truly love the work I’m creating. In the last 10 years, I haven’t released much music at all. I think it’s funny how most of my friends and family know I’m a musician, a writer, a producer, but have rarely heard my works. People generally have no idea what goes on in here, and so it’s been an unusual journey for me in finally coming to the place of sharing my music. It has nothing to do with fear or self-doubt, or insecurity, anything like that. It just has to do with timing.

I have to say, waiting is hard. I think the natural tendency as an artist is that once you make something, you share it! One of my mentors told me how so often authors and writers release books prematurely, and in doing so they’ve hampered the effect and reach of the book, and I’ve taken that to heart. I’ve learned to become very sensitive to the timing and rhythms of when a work should be released. As I transitioned from grad school to opening up a recording studio in the Pacific Northwest, to having children and relocating to Michigan, I’ve been patiently waiting for when it felt like the right time to release my music. And now is the time.

I began thinking seriously about the Mount Valor project in 2014, and spent all of 2015 organizing, choosing the right songs, and finishing writing that needed to be done on them. I wanted to make sure there wasn’t a song on the list that I didn’t absolutely love. After much planning and preparation, I launched a Kickstarter campaign in October, and with the help of 225 backers we raised over $22,000 to help pay for mixing, fees, equipment, and more. It was an incredible experience that encouraged me to move forward and release all of my music.

I’ve known since I was young that my calling isn’t to just entertain people, to put on a good show and fireworks and make people feel like they got their $80 worth. I just know that’s not for me – there’s enough people out there doing that, and it doesn’t make sense for me to try to figure out a better “product” to get my market share and do the same thing. I honestly don’t feel like there are enough artists digging, getting into the dirt and going deep into who we are as humans, and telling our story, exploring what it means to have imagination, freedom, passion, creativity, and emotion. There is something ancient that’s missing in our music. There’s a yearning that I’ve felt for years that I don’t find in a lot of our music. There’s this desire of identity – to know and be known. And I’ve labored and toiled to try to somehow grasp that and understand that and translate it into sound and poetry.

I’ve never felt a close connection really at all to the music industry – I’ve had no desire to start a career, and sell CDs and convince people that they need to become my fans so I can generate “momentum” within the market – it’s all a foreign language to me. The idea that I somehow need to think in terms of competition and comparison is ridiculous to me. I could really care less about finding validation from numbers or charts or ticket sales.

THIS SOUND IS NOT CONCERNED WITH CLIMBING CHARTS.
IT SCALES A DIFFERENT MOUNTAIN.

Every week I’ll be releasing a new song for you to enjoy. They’ll be completely free for you to download, or you can find them on YouTube, SoundCloud, and eventually other sites (Spotify & Apple Music coming soon).  However you listen to music, wherever you are, I hope my songs can be accessible enough to dive into. But I also hope that you frequent this site, as I give a little background on each song, and provide a clean space for digesting the lyrics and music. It’s about four albums’ worth of music, so we’ll be covering a lot of ground. I’ll be throwing everything your way, from soulful piano ballads to upbeat electronic music, from anthemic folk tunes to powerful orchestrations. I’m exploring in all directions with boxed-in genres and no filler songs. If variety is the spice of life, I think it’ll have some kick.

Speaking of which, maybe you can approach this project like a fine restaurant. I’m a chef that’s interested in bringing you distinct flavors and pairings that expand your palate and satisfy your appetite. You may not like every dish, you may not like what’s on every plate, but I’m confident that the overall experience will leave you nourished and healthy. No fast food here – I want to give you something every week that you can chew on, something that has substance to it. Songs that you can come back to over and over again and enjoy with each bite.

I’ll be pouring my heart and soul into this project – all my creative energy into each song. It will take hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars, and countless nights of inspiration, grit, and dedication to bring you an experience you won’t forget. I’ve touched another realm as I’ve played through these songs, and have felt joy and life in them like few songs I’ve encountered. These songs have been burning within me, keeping me up at night. I have literally wept, sitting at the piano, crying as I’m singing because I can feel the weight, the power – it’s like my soul is hammering on this thing called Truth. And I can feel the vibrations and the tension and weight of that action. They’re incredibly special and meaningful to me, and I want to share them with everyone as a gift. They’re not a product, they don’t have a price tag, and the number of plays doesn’t validate me as an artist. I’m confident in who I am, and confident in what these songs are, and I’d love for them to be a part of your life too.

This next year will undoubtedly be the most difficult year of my life, but I also believe it will be the most rewarding. And you’re invited to join me this year as we journey through 52 songs of longing, joy, hope, pain, and everything in between. May these songs stir you, help you, delight you, awaken you, inspire you, challenge you, satisfy you, move you, shape you, please you, and capture you in new ways. My deepest thanks to you for listening to this music!