A Doorway to Life: A Senior Show

Last weekend was my senior show, and I couldn’t feel more relieved and content with how it turned out. The prep work was more extensive than any project, or show I have ever worked on. I relied on each and every close friend I have at school, my girlfriend Yajayra, and many other students to help it come to life. I collaborated with videographers, visual artists, producers, sound engineers, set designers, photographers, dancers and fellow musicians.

My concept for the the show was to visually represent my album Wandering Man. The set consisted of luggage, baggage tags, shoes, books, and clothing from all over the world. 

Friends carrying props
The set was designed by Steven Hernandez, and with the help of many friends, was finished in about 2 hours. Then a local painter, Taylor Speed helped lay out several of her travel themed paintings around the space.

Sound Check
Once the doors opened, each audience member was given a program and moved to a “station” where their polaroid photo was taken and stapled into the program which then became their “passport”. 
Audience members with their passports

The show was a mix of spoken word, older originals, and the songs from my upcoming EP, Wandering Man.

The set list was:

  • Humboldt Park
  • Meet with You
  • A New Goodbye (duet with Sara Donnellan)
  • Revelation Blue (with dancer Gianna Bartolini)
  • City Lights
  • Child’s Play (spoken word)
  • Through the Gap
  • The Harvest
  • The Second of July
  • Charlie Chaplin (spoken word)
  • Wandering Man

I played with an incredible mix of musicians, and had such a creative team of people working around me. I felt as if every time I picked up the phone to call a friend and ask for a favor, I was told “yes” or that we would “find a way”. This show has been my first real look at the possibilities after graduation, and I’m excited to push out into the next phase of my journey.

I hope you’ll stick with me,



Once spring break arrived I spent two days at home in the small town of Troy, NY. I enjoyed the laid back presence of my family, the cats and the springtime gardens.

Cosmos my foot-warmer/cat

After a couple days at home I caught a train to Utica, to my friend Mason’s house where I planned to record vocals for the album in his home studio. The surroundings consisted of farms, long driveways and windy roads. During the tour of Mason’s house he told me his family had been building it since he was 10 (he’s now 22). The house is beautiful, with the most satisfying attention to detail. I was awed by the sunlight pouring through the large windows, his downstairs studio, and the sliding bookcase hiding their living room. His parents, Jim and Dianne were so kind to me, I’ve never felt so comfortable and welcome away from home.

We hung out, explored the area and played music. We worked on a song of mine called The Second of July that is now close to being finished. I’ve been writing it for the past two years, but now with Mason’s help the song has gained a lot of gravity, and direction. Although we both come from different musical backgrounds, and have different taste, we have the same musical morality. We both agree on a demanding lyrical criteria, and understand that we must both serve the song, whatever it calls for. I’m happy to say this is my first successful co-write!

We also recorded some “found sounds” outside that will be mixed into the album. Over the next couple months while recording in the studio, I will also be recording sounds of nature, airport traffic, and cityscapes. Sounds such as the crunching of leaves, trickling creeks, forest ambiance, airline chatter, and late night subway catcalls. This collection of recordings will then be threaded through the music to help tell the journey of a boy leaving a small town to get lost in foreign cities, hop trains, and trek solo across the countryside.

My Zoom R16 Portable Interface used to record in the surrounding woods

After the outdoor recordings were finished, my producer Nate DeBrine arrived and we spent Saturday and Sunday prepping the studio, and tracking vocals. We were having incredible time…until the the studio, and the rest of the town lost power.

The McDowell Studio
Unfortunately, that ended our session for the weekend and we did not finish the lead vocals for the album. However, the time spent waiting for the power to return led us to a new plan. We will continue tracking instruments in the studios at school and track vocals over the summer, as the very last element of the EP.

Every problem is a challenge, and every challenge is an opportunity,


Wandering Man Recording Session #1

This Sunday I had my first recording session for the Wandering Man EP. The previous week I had finished writing all the parts, and the band was well rehearsed. However, the night before, I received devastating personal news from someone close to me, and had one of the most trying days of my life. I was close to canceling my session, but my producer had just arrived from Rochester and after hours of talking we decided to move forward and see what we could get done. With barely any sleep we woke up the next day and began what would become a 20 hour recording session. Although the studio was the last place I wanted to be, it was absolutely where I should’ve been. With my friends all around, everyone working hard, and with more listening than speaking, I had the most incredible recording session.

Grand Piano Sound Check 

Throughout the day we recorded drums, bass, grand piano and auxiliary percussion. I feel wonderfully grateful about working with such talented musicians. I want to give a shout out to my drummer, Ethan Gustavson, bassist Sean Power and engineer Nathan DeBrine for making this weekend a blast. Ethan is one of the kindest, most persistent, engaging players I’ve ever met. He would reach out to ME to ask for more rehearsal time, (which is hard to find among musicians). Sean is a killin bass man, and played with taste on every tune. Each of us come from very different musical backgrounds, and yet Sean and Ethan were able to discover what the song needed and supply it with ease. Nate, one of my best friends, directed the whole session and guided us throughout. He always makes me feel right at home in the studio, with his wacky sense of humor, and strange noises he likes to make through the studio intercom. When I was tired and ready to give up for the day, he pushed me to stay and convinced me to lay down all the piano takes over the rhythm section that night. He encouraged me to throw my sadness, and frustration in the music.

Nate Miking Ethan’s Drum set

(Studio A Mixing Board)                                        (Steinway Grand Piano)

Another good friend of mine, Jared Waters assisted the session. Jared has been the man behind the scenes who has allowed the album to become possible. He’s helped me every step of the way with getting the best equipment, and the best studio the school offers.

With friends all around, and a beautiful atmosphere I feel as if I performed the best I could have, and couldn’t be more excited to begin recording vocals and layer guitars, harmonies, and keyboards. Though prior to the session I had decided to record vocals in a different studio, I had a last minute change of mind and recorded the vocals, and piano for Through the Gap at the same time. We captured a live performance sometime around 2am that Monday morning, and I experienced a near spiritual state of mind through my performance. It was the first time where I was TRULY feeling the phrases, and melody, as emotions and accepting the truth of the story I was telling. I found that the personal loss I had experienced the night before allowed me to be vulnerable and open enough to really sit inside the song and sing my way out.


The songs we tracked that night were:

Meet With You
A New Goodbye
Humboldt Park
City Lights
Through the Gap
Wandering Man

To hear some of my colaborators own work go to:

Ethan Gustavson– (Film/Dance Composition, Drums)   Nathan De Brine– (Producer/Engineer Singer-Songwriter)  Jared Waters– (Producer/Engineer)

Can’t wait to share it with you all,



Last weekend, after Yajayra and I visited the botanical garden we headed deeper into the Bronx to meet with up with one of my good friends Andrew. We ran into to him on the street on our way to his favorite Indian restaurant Hungry Bird, and walked there together.

Shoes from left to right (Andrew, Me, Yajayra)

Andrew and I met through an A Capella group on campus, became close friends, and lived together the following year. We pushed each other to better our chops, our voices and songwriting. Most of all, we both encouraged self improvement in all aspects of our lives. We often played music together and I learned an enormous amount from him. We set up our living room with his drum set, my keyboard and his guitars. We spent countless nights up late playing, or writing goofy, ridiculous songs until we crashed in our beds.

During our winter break from school Andrew visited a friend in Australia and I spent a month traveling New Zealand. He flew over from Sydney and we rented a car for a week to explore the north island. The weather was fantastic during my whole stay in New Zealand EXCEPT for when he visited…. he brought a week long tropical storm with hard rain everyday. We traveled down the coast in a rental car, and ate, cooked and slept in it while trying to stay dry.

 (Hot Springs in Rotorua, North Island NZ)     (Andrew’s first time driving on the right side of the road)

 (Sunset on Waiheke Island)

Once back at school, we started playing in a band together called Mama and the Stops, and by the end of the semester we were planning a tour down the east coast from New York to Virginia for the summer of 2016. The tour was designed to raise awareness and money for homeless shelters, woman’s shelters and arts organizations. Along the way we played in various venues from farmers markets and bars, to street corners and shelters.

Benefit show at Jimmy Saloon’s. Newport RI. Photo by Jessica Pohl

We had a blast staying with friends we made along the way in trailer parks, various family homes, or friends houses. This being our first time on the road we had an incredible time, and learned a lot.

 Our Cover of Queen’s “Somebody to Love”

Now Andrew is graduated and working as a computer technician, and freelance musician. He will be playing guitars on my upcoming senior show, as well as my EP Wandering Man.

Keep on,


NYC Botanical Gardens

As a kid I was fascinated with nature. I spent whole days exploring the woods, searching and finding different plants and animals. I would pour over books and learn the Latin names for the indigenous species I found. At the age of five, my mother gave me my first orchid and I was hooked. I joined the the North Eastern New York Orchid Society as the youngest member ever and officially became a full on child-nerd, growing orchids outside my bedroom. Of course this was all a well kept secret from my friends at school. Captain of the varsity soccer team, and flower-grower didn’t seem to mix well. Luckily playing piano seemed pretty cool.

                                         (Senior year photo shoot at Tamarac High)  and  (Most likely trying a cute smile to get orchid discounts)

Once I began getting interested in music, my botany obsession faded and turned into a casual hobby. I occasionally seek out exhibits, and when my friend mentioned the Thailand themed orchid show at the NYC Botanical Gardens Yajayra and I headed down to check it out.

     Once at the gardens we found that the conservatory was split into several different ecosystems with thousands of orchids

There was a system that divided the orchid environments, planted with only cacti, succulents and arid plants. 

Now years after my introduction to orchid growing and various other hobbies I am grateful for my varied interests. By surrounding myself with those who love me for who am, not who they think I am, I feel more secure, happy and connected then ever before.


Saratoga Summer

This past weekend Yajayra and I caught a bus from White Plains to Saratoga, a small town in upstate NY. There she met more of my wild, loving and eccentric family to celebrate my grandma’s 92nd birthday. We enjoyed the beautiful house on the snowy lake, and the chickens in the backyard. Yajayra also tried cross country skiing for the first time and although she won’t admit it, she had a blast.


Along with everything going on at school I’m also doing my best to make plans for the summer. I will be moving to Saratoga with one of my close friends Mason McDowell, and taking over the upstairs of my grandmothers house. We are booking gigs in town, the capital region, and NYC. Mason and I currently live together in our apartment on campus, and it’s exciting to know that I’ll still have a great writer, and musician to bounce ideas off of while cooking, or drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon with.  I feel lucky to be living with him, I think I am as much a fan of his music as I am a friend.


Saratoga is a great town for music in the summer because it holds one of the oldest horse racing tracks in the U.S. The streets swell with tourists and it seems as if every bar and restaurant has live music during this time. Mason and I hope to play as many gigs as possible in as many venues as we can.

We will be playing songs by greats such as:

  • Stevie Wonder
  • Billy Joel
  • James Taylor
  • The Eagles


  • Our own music along with other contemporary songwriters


To check out Mason’s incredible songwriting click here

Hope to see you at a summer show!








What Goes Up Must

Today I opened an email from some friends I made in Vietnam this January.

Screenshot (28)

The story of our meeting is a strange one. It was my first full day in the capital, Hanoi, and I was exploring the Old Quarter. While walking through the narrow streets crowded with vendors, motorbikes and people, a phone fell in front of me. I thought it had fallen out of the passing car, so I ran after it and knocked on the window, only to see the man in the car on his phone, with no passengers. As I waited at the intersection I realized no one was coming back to search for their missing phone…so I continued my exploration of the city, now with two Samsung Galaxy’s in my pocket.

A few hours later, the stranger’s phone rang and I picked it up and began speaking to the phone-owners girlfriend. She spoke English and asked me to meet her at their hotel, about a 10 minute walk from where I was.  At the hotel I returned the phone to it’s owner Tomi, and his girlfriend Sylvia, both tourists from Finland. As a thank you they offered to take me out to try some of the famous (and cheap) street rice beer. I said yes, (of course) and while the beer was cooked behind us I discovered why the mystery phone found its way to the middle of the street.


Street in the Old Quarter (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Tomi and Sylvia had been taking pictures off their balcony on the fifth floor of their hotel when the phone slipped and raced inches away from my head onto the rocky pavement in front of me. They were so scared they might have hurt someone, they didn’t look down to see me pick it up and walk away. When they asked the receptionist what to do, they were told it was probably long gone. On the way down the phone was still taking pictures and caught me in some very theft-like poses.

What started out as an uneventful morning (as “uneventful” as traveling can be) turned into the most fun I had in Hanoi, full of good food, lots of drinks and getting lost.

20161222_223113 (1)

Cheers to unexpected friends, and that strange glare on my tooth


Thanks for reading ya’ll,