I grew up surrounded by music, theater and art. My father was a composer, my mother a singer-dancer and most of the ‘adults’ who visited our home were musicians and singers, fine-artists, playwrights, actors, dancers and ‘circus people’. The walls of our house were adorned with original artwork from local painters and photographers… and there was a high value placed, not on excellence (for that would be too limiting) but on ‘giving your all to everything you do.’
My grandfather, whose actual name was Jack Daniels was the unofficial chief of our tribe and it was he, a musician, teacher and kind of Gandalf figure to me who declared that “making music should be an expression of one’s self… and, that whoever bears this gift must share it generously with one and all.”
I would, after leaving school, go into the family business and after 10 years or so, working as a professional musician and musical arranger accept a position as music director in my local Church. In a way, the atmosphere within this faith community was a spiritual version of my upbringing… but this time the high value was placed upon the ability to carry a ‘spirit of well-being’ in each and every expression of creativity. And, it was made known to me (in no uncertain terms) that my role in the community was not to be merely ‘the best musician’ but rather to be someone who was able to carry ‘fresh water from the well’ into every gathering, large or small.
I was encouraged to spend as much time as I needed ‘in the quiet’ so as to become this carrier of more than ‘just melody and harmony’… and so, most days, I would go for long walks along the beach, or climb up upon craggy rocks to stare endlessly out to sea, or I’d find quiet, lonely spaces in which to strum my guitar and sing to God.
It was during this season that I discovered that inner permission ‘to bear my own soul as I played and sang, so as to inspire and or move others to find a quietness of their own.’
This has become a life time practice for me, whether I am writing music for a TV show, performing on stage at a club or leading a Church congregation in song… and it is the foundational philosophy upon which we manage and operate the organization of Planted by the Water.
It is my hope and desire to train, nurture and inspire other creative communicators to become just that… carriers of peace, hope, love and joy, not just within their artistic expressions but in their everyday lives.