As soon as I started writing the first batch, I had a vision. I saw me on stage playing a certain type of music. I want to take these blues melodies over aggressive guitars. I heard the sound I wanted to make. I knew what I wanted to do. It wasn’t ever there before.
The time after college and before music was really rough. I couldn’t afford food. I was eating bread and butter for five months. Living in New Orleans, I couldn’t afford to take care of myself. I had no health insurance.
In 2012, I started writing songs – not for the world to hear, but for certain people I needed to talk to. My family, we were not big communicators. I had a hard time talking to people in general.
My grandfather learned to swim in the Navy by getting thrown off a boat into the ocean. He had to learn fast. And I think I learn pretty well under pressure.
My sister is an opera singer. I grew up going to her recitals. This whole time, I’m like, ‘She’s the singer. I’m just strumming along and yelling.’
I don’t think I ever wanted to be a journalist – I was more interested in what comes from being a journalist.
Even when I interviewed bands, it was about asking them about writing songs, so it was more for me than anybody else.
There are a lot of really good skills you get from doing journalism – it completely changed my world and how I interact with other people.
I went to school in Gainesville because it was a huge punk and folk town. So I went to class twice a week, and then I went to shows and wrote. I did a lot of music writing before I actually started playing music.
I guess I would call my music ‘blues punk.’ There’s a lot of influences.
I’ve been making music since I was 14, but for a while, I was afraid to perform.
New Orleans style is funky – it’s just as experimental as the city. There aren’t any rules. If you want to wear a polka-dot shirt and some crazy pants, you can get away with it there.
I was just a music lover who wondered what it would sound like if Otis Redding strapped on a guitar and played in a punk band. That’s it.
I’ve grown up on gospel and blues music, and now it’s a huge part of who I am.
Music helped me to get out of a rough period in my life when I really struggled to see any future for myself and was terrified about what was happening to the people around me.
Folk-punk artists like This Bike Is A Pipe Bomb or Paul Baribeau were popular in the Florida punk community. I saw people early on combine roots music with more aggressive music.
Blind Willie Johnson is a pretty big vocal influence. He can be very harsh, like gargly, gruff vocals, but also just slip into some very delicate, vulnerable soft stuff. I like that combination.