It's All In The Lyrics: My Journey To Becoming A Home Studio Musician

What inspired you to start a home studio?

As a massive consumer of music, it only seemed right for me to attempt to pay it forward by trying to give the music industry just a slice of what it’s given to me. When my childhood dreams of becoming a star of any kind, which morphed from being a country musician to a rock star over time, didn’t happen in traditional ways, I began trying to forge my own path into the industry.

How did you pick the songs for your life's playlist?

You know, it’s easy to assume that the songs chosen for It’s All in the Lyrics were picked because they closely matched the piece of my life I was talking about in the entry. I have an intensely intimate involvement with music. The songs I picked weren’t just songs I liked from that era of my life; they were often the exact filter I needed to get through that experience. Even more often, every time I hear the song I referred to in any particular entry, I metaphorically time travel back to the experience I mentioned, if that makes sense.

Can music really change how we feel about a past event?

I did a little bit of research on how nostalgia affects us while I was writing/editing this project. My main question was: does nostalgia give us rose-colored lenses that distort how we remember our memories? I didn’t really draw a definite conclusion through that research. Ultimately, music didn’t change the overall experiences I discuss in any particular entry. For happier moments, music often bookmarks the experience. For more negative moments, music was the elixir that helped me through. I guess my love for the songs on the book’s playlist is a grateful homage to the various artists that helped me get through tough times.

Which song on your playlist brings back the strongest memory; why?

Man! That’s a tough question. I guess if I had to narrow it down to one, it would probably be Garth Brooks’ “That Summer.” It’s my favorite song of all time. As potential readers for my book will find out, “That Summer” was the song that helped me come to grips with going to a foster home when I was 8 years old. Every single time I hear the song, I can recall, with clarity, exactly how I felt the first time I heard it. I remember the sights, sounds, and smells from the moment. I feel like I owe so much to Garth Brooks for giving me any sense of hope during such a traumatic time in my life.

Just know, it’s really hard to nail down the whole experience to one song. I’ve had so many of these intimate reactions with music throughout my life­. For the sake of this book, it happened 366 times.

Did creating music at home help you understand your feelings of abandonment?

It really has. I feel like most teenagers of the early-2000s, and throughout most of modern history, have had these experiences as consumers. The power of music is that when we have these moments of teenage existential crisis, we find comfort in hearing someone else going through something similar. As an aspiring musician with a normal day job, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to give even one fellow human being that moment of belonging that I’ve gotten as a consumer. It’s hard to explain, but if I can make this world a better place in this way, not only do I find a sense of belonging, but also, I would be able to help others find community during tough times.

How does your music address your identity crisis?

Throughout this experience, I’ve learned that music is the thread I use to hold the mess of my identity together. Maybe other people grow up faster than I did, but with every dramatic life change that I experience, music helps me connect with others, come to grips with how I can address some of these changes, and gives me the courage to move forward into the new places that life often calls us into.

Is there a particular scene from a movie that inspired a song on your playlist?

Ha! Interesting question! There is, in fact. As my readers will find out, I serve in the military. There’s a scene in Forrest Gump where Lieutenant Dan has an aggressive interaction with God on Forrest’s shrimp boat after losing his legs in Vietnam. I had a similar experience to that while I was at basic training. Erase the Grey’s “Rain” was the song that helped me get through my own “come to Jesus” moment that led to me accepting my own fate as a Soldier. The experience was not fun in real time, but I look back at the character breaking exercise with fondness now.

What do you hope readers will take away from your journey?

There is a clear difference between consuming music and producing music. Music, or any other type of art, requires true courage to create. The identity crisis that we talked about earlier has left me with endless excuses not to pursue my dreams of music production with the appropriate level of artistic honesty. I believe I’m finally at a place where I can do that now. My first step was to write this book to express any form of transparency. All that to encourage others, if you have artistic aspirations, pursue them. My whole life journeying through music has hinged upon people who abandoned fear to put art into the atmosphere. If you have those aspirations, please pursue them.

Which part of your music journey was the hardest; why?

Closely aligned with my musical journey is my path to mental health. Writing It’s All in the Lyrics, with artistic honesty, was tough. In some ways, I use music to medicate, but looking back at some intensely painful moments in my life was difficult. I just felt that it was time to be honest with myself on the true weight of some of these moments. I don’t want to leave my answer cryptic, so I’ll be a little more forward. I did seek counseling to find peace with these dark chapters. I would encourage anyone who needs professional help to seek it; don’t suffer in silence. However, the practice of writing this book helped me approach these issues with clarity as I worked through some of my trauma with therapists and peer support groups.

What advice would you give someone who wants to create their own life soundtrack?

First, do it! I wrestled with the concept of adding journal prompts throughout the book, but ultimately decided not to. Everyone’s individual experiences are so different that it would be almost impossible to create prompts that would click with every person. Here are a few recommendations: favorite song, first record, song you associate with your first love, etc. I chose one song per day for an entire year and wrote the entry that corresponded with that particular song. Then, I listened to the song to stir up memories associated with the experience and wrote about it.


I absolutely hope some of your audience takes the time to create the soundtrack to their lives! I would be interested to see, and hear about, what songs they would choose and why. How did those songs fit into the fabric of their lives? How did they heal? How did they grow? That was my selfish desire for this project. I can’t be the only person in human history that loves music this way. I’ve seen several of them in moshpits at concerts, so I know you’re out there. Let’s see some of those life soundtracks!

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