I started playing classical piano at age 8, entirely because my parents forced me to learn an instrument. For almost two years I absolutely HATED the routine of daily practice and monthly performance, partly due to my shyness at that age but mostly because I felt that I wasn't playing or sounding any better despite my practice. There was no sense of gratification or reward from something that took precious hours out of young John's outdoor Nerf gun fights and trips to the nearby beach.
My disdain turned to love, however, when I received thunderous applause for performing the Blue Danube Waltz in front of my recital group. For the first time I felt like my hard work paid off; the ability to play good music for an audience is what has compelled me to continue to play piano and learn guitar. So, to anyone reading this that is newly getting into playing an instrument…you're probably going to suck at it at first. Maybe you'll suck at it for a while. Eventually, though, hard work and practice it will become its own reward, believe me. If stubborn 8-year-old John can do it, you can too.
Three records everyone should own:
1. Songs About Jane--Maroon 5. So many of this album's songs remain relevant years after release. Harder to Breathe, She Will Be Loved, Sunday Morning, etc. still get frequent play on radio stations (not to mention my own iPod...) This is a definitive album that I can say I grew up listening to.
2. Where The Light Is--John Mayer. Say what you will about John as a person and some of the things he's said and done in the past…but if this album doesn't blow your mind every time you listen you need new ears. It's one of the only albums where every song makes me think "Wow, I hope to be able to play like that someday".
3. Supernatural--Santana. Again, one of the more ubiquitous albums out there; "Smooth" ft. Rob Thomas is another one of those that I hear no matter where I go. There's something for everyone here because of the surprising roster of other artists that it features. Dave Matthews, Eric Clapton, Everlast, Eagle Eye Cherry, and others. Of course, what gets me the most is Santana's silky/jazzy/shreddy touch on the guitar.
My favorite song we've released is Never Gonna Change. It's an upbeat indie-rock tune with a genuinely interesting drum section, satisfying instrumentals all around, and layers upon layers of vocals. It's the only song of ours that, in my opinion, fully utilizes the singing talent of the band--all six of us sing and harmonize a different vocal line. The "dah-dah-dahs" in the bridge get stuck in my head all the time. I believe this song captures a little bit of everything that we as a band strive to create. It's fun both to play and to hear, it has musical depth, and it always gets our crowds dancing.