Frustration! Boiling point! EXPLODE!

This is the story of SNAP!


SNAP! is the fiery, angsty introduction to Tension & Release.

February 2012. Right up until that point, my life was me dragging and heaving some sort of burden that would never let up. As the heaping hill continued its fearsome height, the burden grew all the heavier.

It felt like a cable car. I’m not sure how those skinny black cords carry the enormous weight of a vehicle like that on the hills of San Francisco, but in this story, my cable snapped! And there was no going back!



Thus, the punk rock song was born. I had never written a song quite like this before, so I went to none other than my good friend Mel Kohr, the fiery punky red head that I had the privilege of befriending at the CMC. We swapped ideas. We brainstromed. I had this chorus in my head. This simple melody that kept hammering in my head. And this picture…a heavy vehicle suspended on a wire that just, snapped. The gravel of the hilly road. The sweltering sun overhead. And the swift winds pushing me forward. AND, all the fierce emotions to go with it. Before I knew it, there it was! It was my first genuine co-write, and it was one of the most enjoyable writing experiences I’ve had so far!


Letting go of something abruptly is liberating and jarring at the same time.

Have you had any experiences where you had to let go of something or someone “abruptly” or “immediately”, because it was only damaging you in some way?

Feel free to share!

Want to hear “SNAP!”? Visit

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The year that changed everything.

I remember sitting on the back porch of my apartment in Brentwood, TN in early February 2012. I gazed out at the huge curvaceous mountain tops, and saw all the sparkling lights spread out across them. And I saw the bright CMC light staring back at me. I KNEW right then and there that something about my life was going to change forever. 

Many called 2012 the end of everything. But for me, it felt like the explosive beginning. New places, new friendships, even new family members. 

It’s the year I turned 21! 

I never thought 21 would be more than a “rite of passage” so to speak to becoming a “real” young adult. Whatever that means.

Instead, 2012 brought a little more excitement than that. I had the privilege of…

1) Living in Nashville for a semester to study contemporary music and the music business

2) Writing 5 songs that I was actually proud of.

3) Meeting a group of artists, musicians, and thinkers who I call life-long friends.

4) Meeting a tall, dark-haired, kind of edgy Pacific Northwesterner named Austin who captivated my heart.

5) Flying on a plane for the first time, by myself. Where to? Portland, Oregon, to visit Austin.

6) Driving to Seattle to visit the Space Needle, Pike’s Place Market, and all the sights and sounds of the Grunge capital, where some of my favorite artists emerged.

7) Climbing a beautiful mountain at Multnomah Falls, Oregon.

8) Visiting a snowy dormant volcano, called Mount Hood in the Great Northwest.

9) Experiencing a new birth in the family, sweet Baby Nate!

10) Releasing my first ever EP, titled Tension & Release, that expressed all of the emotions, thoughts, experiences that encompassed this exhilarating year.

Who knew? That bright Tennessee light was right! 🙂 

Happy New Year! I wonder what 2013 will bring?

“Life is a long…

“Life is a long lesson in humility.” James M. Barrie, Scottish dramatist and novelist

As a musician, as an artist, whatever “hat” I’m wearing today, my heart longs for humility. I think it’s the only way to live peacefully. Even though the bright lights and adrenaline of the music business screams for the opposite. To all my CMC 22 “starving artists” out there, no matter where we go, let’s live humbly together. ❤


Untamed Heart


There’s something about getting away from it all and learning to thrive in a new place for a while.  Before I left for Nashville, I never expected that it would be such a life-changing experience. I wasn’t expecting to come back with what felt like a new set of eyes, ears, and heart.  

CMC was such an interesting environment.  In all the brochures, they always advertised it simply and clearly:

“4 months in Nashville, TN.  24/7 music. Students who love music the way you do. $1 million in gear. 16 credit hours earned.”

Those short sentences can’t possibly describe the exhilaration that is The Contemporary Music Center.

I remember the moment I realized that music was all I had to do for 3 or 4 months. It was so incredibly freeing.  There was nothing distracting me. And with music being my whole life, it was just my heart, my music, and this hodge podge group of 28 people with which my life was becoming intertwined.  

This was no stale, white, music classroom with fluorescent lighting (which I might add did not exist in the CMC building because it tends to squelch creativity =D).  This was a jungle. A social experiment. A community. A family. No textbooks, no written assignments, no papers, no tests.  The only test for me, however, was whether or not I was going to take the risk.  The risk of opening my heart up to these 27 other people.  The risk of writing new songs.  The risk of bombing on stage. The risk of being completely rejected by this community and by the professors and wrestling with the wretched question…”Do I suck?”  Sounds quite harsh, but it was what we were all asking ourselves in the beginning. Haha.

I took the challenge. I immersed myself in it all, and after several weeks, I found myself walking tall. Singing loud and with a new raw intensity. Crying and laughing with my new friends.  Playing new styles on the piano that I never thought I’d play.  Writing songs that were about extreme pain and despair.  Writing songs about joy and excitement.  Going crazy with my makeup and hair, and stepping on stage with a humble confidence, and always performing at 120%. Entering a relationship with this guy who was so incredibly intriguing and attractive, who is more than I ever dreamed!  Speaking with truth and assertion, and never being afraid to let my heart go where it needed to go.

I let my heart go untamed, and it has been the most exciting journey. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The Unraveling Process


An integral part of my CMC journey was self-evaluation.  I started realizing that I was more of a risk-taker than I thought. I realized that I loved to be crazy. I embraced my uniqueness. I celebrated my friends’ uniqueness, and rejoiced in the untamed heart. I discovered a deep inner process that is occurring inside my heart.

One of these self-evaluatory revelations was the tangled webs that infest the human heart, and the process of redemption that God imparts by sitting down with us and unraveling it.  I know that I’ve been in an intense “unraveling” process for a while now.  A part of the human condition is wrestling with insecurity, poor self-esteem, negative body-image, which tends to directly correlate with a twisted understanding of who God is. All of those things are the twisted strands that make up a tangled web.  God’s love and peace unbraids all of that, however.  God invited me on a journey of discovering who He is, and He is Love. God is Love. Three words that have an entire universe of meaning, but are so simple.  I realized today that the Narrow Path that Christ refers to might be this process. I think it means many things, but for me in this moment, it’s that beautiful, simple, straight, and narrow line.  The Narrow Way that is free of legalities, inadequacies, insecurity, and the like.  It’s full of peace, purity, simplicity, and it is always composed of love.  Jesus was always full of simplicity, and that’s why people hated him. His Spirit encourages me to trust Him, like a child, and let go of the fear. Let go of the overanalyzing, and embrace the Way. The Way that leads to life, to peace, to righteousness. The Way of Love. I am thankful to God for this untangling process, and I would never go back.

Furthermore, I encourage anybody who reads this to embrace themselves, and embrace each other, and to never settle. Always let yourself flow freely, without any tangles.


For my first blog, I feel like an account of what happened at the CMC is more than appropriate.  That place

changed my life. Or, the people that I met did. I don’t think I will ever be the same!

I must confess, I didn’t feel this way initially. I stepped foot in Nashville, TN kind of skeptical, certainly scared, and all my guards up! I didn’t know what to expect! 28 random people from all over the country who I am supposed to make music with? All the CMC profs were convinced that this was going to work. I remember the first night we were there. We all sat down in a circle, and shared our biggest fears of the semester. I was completely honest-what did I have to lose? Failure. Inadequacy. Not “making it” as a musician. We were all in the same boat, and we were all scared! It gave us permission to confide in each other. That night was the beginning of a wonderful adventure, where music was just the background, highlighting the true story of CMC Semester 22!

As a student in the artist track, we were required to submit a song to Rick Elias, our songwriting professor, to critique and rework. One of my biggest fears of going to CMC was being criticized! I was so worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle it! Meanwhile, I was the first song that he looked at. My heart was beating so fast! I was deathly afraid of what he might say. I sat in a chair right there with my lyrics on a huge screen with everybody watching and listening.  The song needed an overhaul, and I spent the next several days working hard to make the song better!  I learned that day that songs are a tangible expression of the heart, but the focus is always the song. I learned to always be open and ready to improve a song so it can express what needs to be said in the best way possible.  I realized that criticism can be a good thing, and to never be afraid of it.

More to come on my time at the Contemporary Music Center…