ABOUT

The story so far...

     My life, like yours and others, has been filled with a series of ups and downs, successes and failures. Many different events led me to this point in my life and made me the person I am. This website and my original and cover songs are a new part of that journey and I hope you'll take the time to listen to some music, read some content, and get to know me better!

 

     The above picture is definitely from one of the successful days in my life. By the way, if you're wondering why the blogs on my home page all start with DitL, it stands for "Day in the Life". Most of the stories I write revolve around single events from my past, which this photo exemplifies. I hope you'll enjoy reading about the hijinks of my past, as well as current DitL stories and videos, from the perspective of a professional musician.

 

     So, my mean old mom forced me to take piano lessons at a young age, obviously against my wishes. I mean, what 9 year old boy wants to sit in a stuffy room with a piano when he could be outside playing?! Now, when I visit my mom, I give her a hug and a kiss and thank her for being so mean. I took piano lessons for a couple years and kinda grew bored, so mom let me quit, with the caveat I'd play organ/piano for the Baptist church my grandparents attended! This appealed more to me, especially since my grandfather played bass for the church. I'd get to jam with my granddad every week, how cool is that? I played organ for a year, until I learned the hymns well and my technique improved, then graduated to church pianist. For the next 5 years, I played piano for four different services every week, as well as sang in the youth choir. I formed an acappella trio with a cousin and classmate and we performed everywhere and anywhere people would let us. I knew as a kid music was going to be a part of my life, but I didn't realize how big a part.

     My senior year and I received a nomination from then-President Bill Clinton to the United States Military Academy in New York, after a very rigorous selection process. Quite a change for a country boy from a small farming town in Alabama. After somehow completing the hellish basic training at West Point, affectionately known as Beast, I settled into routine and joined the Glee Club and played keyboard in a band for OCF(Officer Christian Fellowship), which met weekly. I formed an acapella quartet with three fellow Glee Club members and we sang at several sporting events and for the Cadet Chapel, which houses the largest pipe organ in the world, over 23,500 pipes! Yeah, I never got to play the organ(no cadet was allowed). :(

     Cadet life and I didn't get along, so I left West Point after 18 months. I tried community college for a while, grew bored, and decided to enlist in the Army, just 6 months after leaving the academy. I had a better experience as a an enlisted soldier, but playing music faded away for a while. I still listened to lots of music and expanded my tastes past my roots, I just didn't really have the desire to play as I focused on my tech career. I left the Army after my four year contract was up and moved to Huntsville, Alabama, nearer to family, and obtained a job utilizing my Top Secret clearance on Redstone Arsenal, in IT. I've always loved computers, so it was a good fit for my nerd side. I did IT work for the next few years, until I made a stupid career ending mistake, on an island in the South Pacific, which brought me back to music.

     After getting kicked out of paradise, I found an IT job at a manufacturing plant in a tiny Alabama town. I was fairly depressed and lonely, so every weekend I drove an hour north to hang out with my cousin, and her boyfriend Josh, who was a musician. He introduced me to other musicians and I entered a whole new world of rock bands and bar gigs. I love nearly all rock music, so I worked and improved my skills and soon discovered the joy and energy you get performing on stage, with awesome musicians and screaming fans. It was a drug all its own and I was hooked. I left my IT job, moved in with my cousin and her boyfriend, who was now a good friend and band mate, and never looked back.

     Over the next 3 years I experienced what it was like to be a full time musician and play in multiple bands. So, I was always broke and usually drunk, but man, what fun I had! ;) I was adopted into the local community, as if I grew up there, and made to feel like family. It was a great induction to the world of live music.

     So, finally to the photo. I moved home for a little while to help take care of my grandfather, who'd been diagnosed with an aneurysm. It was sad watching him slowly fade. I treasured the fact we got to play music together while I was in high school. After his passing, I decided I needed a big change. A guitar player I'd played with a few times just moved to Nashville, and was bugging me to move there. The day after my grandfather's funeral, I loaded up my truck and headed north on I-65. It was my first trip ever to Music City and I was a little intimidated. My first week I ended up meeting a rising star and being asked to sit in at his sold out show at The Stage(which is where the photo was taken). This story, one of many Nashville adventures I had over the next couple of years, is too long for this segment, but worth checking out.

     After a couple of years in Nashville, I realized I wasn't into playing downtown and I was having financial issues, so I moved back to Huntsville. I needed work immediately, so at 32 years old I had to take the first waiting job of my life and I hated it. Waiting tables is a respectable job, but I couldn't help feeling I'd fallen so far since my previous career. But, I worked hard, saved money, and found a $150 Yamaha keyboard on Craigslist and started playing for tips every week at Bridge Street, a large outdoor mall in Huntsville. I began making contacts and booking solo shows at restaurants, bars, and breweries. During my years of performing in bands, I'd mostly sang harmony, but decided it was time to try and step up and see if I could hack it solo.

 

     Fast forward to now, four years later, and I perform at 25+ venues in the Huntsville area. I've been a full time musician the past three years, solo and with my own band, averaging 5-6 shows a week. Upon this musical journey I once got a standing ovation from around two thousand people, I've had the privilege of playing multiple shows with Mark Herndon, the drummer from the highest awarded country band of all time--Alabama, I've opened shows for a couple bigger name artists, I've played with many different talented musicians and artists in Nashville, I've had two different guys propose to their girlfriends while I was performing(they both said yes, whew), I've played so many weddings I can play "The Dance" and "Canon in D" in my sleep, I helped form a unique Dueling Piano Game show in Huntsville that continues gaining popularity. Most importantly, I feel I've gained some of the best friends of my life, both in musicians and the people who come and support me and my fellow musicians. People like you. As I start this next chapter, I plan to share my music, and my life, and try and be a positive presence in others' lives. I'm working hard on writing stories, shooting videos, live streaming, and getting my original music recorded and distributed. So, please, watch some vids, read some stories, sign up for my newsletter(2 free songs!)and comment on any of my content. I feel like the journey's just beginning!

--SCJ

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