When did you first start singing?
I started singing in front of people when I was 3, with my family
Do you play any instruments?
Yes – Piano is my primary instrument, but I also play Clarinet, Harmonica, and Percussion
Does your family support you in your career?
Yes – They’ve been very supportive of my music career
Who else in your family sings?
My mother sings classical and Broadway music, and was once offered a lead in an off Broadway musical and could have pursued a career on Broadway, but decided to stay home and raise the family.
Who are your musical inspirations?
Sting, Billy Joel, Elton John, Coldplay, Danny Elfman, Thomas Newman, George Gershwin, Michael Jackson, U2 and many others
Where would you most like to perform?
Carnegie Hall would be at the top of the list
How was the “American Idol” experience?
It was awesome. Up until I did American Idol, I was only confident in my songwriting abilities. American Idol validated me as a SINGER and gave me confidence to sing.
Are you by chance going to tour in Asia too?
Yes, I plan to. I don’t have the tour booked, yet, but I am working on it!
Tell us about “Live For Music”. How is it going?
The tour around the USA has been very successful. I’ve raised over $150,000 for school music programs and I’m constantly being contacted by new schools to come and perform a benefit concert with them. It’s a very rewarding experience to sing for a cause I believe in, and to have the chance to work with kids from around the country. Being able to work with the choir and band students has given me the opportunity to inspire and motivate them to excel in their own lives.
What has been the best “Live For Music” experience?
It’s hard to narrow it down to just one. As much as I loved performing for 25,000 marching band kids last November in Indianapolis, I would say some of my most recent concerts topped that experience. The last six concerts I did were probably my favorite experiences in this tour. I’ve polished my show a little more and could see the results – many parents have come to me after the show and thanked me for making such a difference in their kids’ lives. I could see the change I was making for the first time, and that just made me feel like all the hard work and sacrifice is finally paying off!
What embarrassing songs might I find on your MP3 player?
Selena Gomez, “Love You like a Love Song” – LOL
What kind of music do you listen to today?
Alternative, Acoustic, Jazz and Blues, some Country. Artists like Imagine Dragons and The Killers, or Lady Antebellum and OneRepublic, or Jason Mraz and Gavin DeGraw. I listen to a little of everything, including movie soundtracks and old jazz albums.
If you were not singing, what would you be doing?
I’d probably be writing and producing other singers. I already do a little of that, now. I produced tracks for a few YouTube artists like Lindsey Stirling and Tiffany Alvord, for starters.
If you could dabble in another genre of music, what would it be?
I’m already considering doing more in the Latin market since I’m fluent in Spanish – so I would say Latin music. I already have a few YouTube videos in that genre and am considering doing a few for my upcoming album.
What genre of music can't you stand to listen to?
Heavy Metal and Screamo – as a singer, that music just makes my throat hurt.
What hidden talents do you have?
I’m a visual artist – I like to sketch and draw and once wanted to be a Disney cartoonist. I have a few of my sketches up online on my Facebook and Instagram.
In your twitter bio, you have written you want to write songs for Disney/Pixar movies. Like to tell us about it?
Yes – My lifelong goal has been to write songs for the big animated movies like “The Lion King”, “Toy Story”, “Finding Nemo”, etc. Their movies have always been among my all-time favorites, and I’ve always felt like my music was a natural fit for that style of filmmaking. There’s some natural emotional connection that I have to these stories – they’re inspiring and I guess I’ve always wanted to be a part of inspiring productions. To get a song placed on a major Disney or Pixar film would be a dream come true for me.
Is there any really talented but not so famous singer, you think should be supported?
Hmm, there are many that I come across here and there, but I don’t remember any specifically by name.
I really liked your single “See you on the other side”. What inspired you to write it?
There are a lot of tragedies in the world - Earthquakes, tornados, tsunamis, shootings, bombings, wars, etc. People all around the world are mourning the losses from these terrible tragedies and I wrote this to remind them that they will see their loved ones again. It is sad to lose someone you’re close to – I recently lost one of my favorite uncles – but knowing that you’ll see them again will give you hope and help you to live out the rest of your life with integrity and purpose.
What inspired you to write your latest single “I'll Always Be Young”?
Everybody wants to be young forever. In Hollywood, I’m surrounded by aging actors and singers who are constantly getting surgery or buying new anti-aging creams so they can still look young. It’s an epidemic and I just thought it would be cool to sing about something magical, like a fountain of youth that makes you forever young.
Your singles are in Spanish too. What inspired you write them?
I speak fluent Spanish and really love the Latin culture. As I mentioned above, I really want to get more into the Latin music industry, so I’m pushing more and more songs in Spanish. It’s such a fun language to sing in, too!
What message or feeling do you want your fans to take away when listening to your music?
Each song has its own message. Most songs are about finding your inner light and letting it shine. Everyone has a light within them, and many of them hide it because they’re afraid. “If you want to stand out in a dark world, all you have to do is SHINE!”
Is there anything new coming up for the fans?
Yes, I’m releasing a NEW ALBUM this year. Release date is soon to be announced.
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years time?
Hopefully, writing for Disney and Pixar movies! I also plan on establishing a few touring routes that I can do every other year.
What advice do you have for young bands trying to discover their sound?
Collaborate with as many writers and artists as you can. Open yourself up to collaborate with all types of artists, including visual artists, dancers, choreographers, hip hop rappers, filmmakers, etc.
What message would you like to give to the teen readers?
Enjoy being young. I’ve seen that once people get old, they just want to be young again. Let yourself be happy now, while you’re young. Even if you’re stressed out about circumstances you’re faced with now, try to find the silver lining and let yourself be happy anyway!