Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area in the 60's, I was surrounded by an incredible music scene that offered such a diversity of musical genres that on any given weekend, you could see artists such as Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Santana, Tower Of Power, and Miles Davis, to name a few. Early on, I was absolutely knocked out by many of the British bands, particularly Gerry & The Pacemakers, The Animals, The Zombies, The Hollies, and of course, The Beatles.
Around 1968, an older friend turned me on to a radio station broadcasting from Oakland. I think the station was KSOL or something like that. It was all soul all the time and it just turned me inside out! I couldn't hear enough Otis Redding, Sam Cooke, Jerry Butler, The Impressions, The Drifters, Aretha Franklin, and so many others. In the seventies, Stevie Wonder, Kenny Rankin, and Bobby Caldwell were the guys that I tried to emulate. Stevie Wonder for sure and Bobby Caldwell to a certain extent were soulful, Kenny Rankin was almost folk like, but with a jazzy edge, and Lenny Williams singing 'Soul Vaccination', oh my gosh, so smooth! Al Green and Donny Hathaway were a couple of other singers that really impacted me.
It was during the 80's that I first really listened to Frank Sinatra. It was like a revelation! I had heard all those songs before, but hadn't really paid attention. Of course, I went through my Sinatra phase just like a million other singers, and found out quickly that I wasn't ever going to be Frank Sinatra. I discovered Chet Baker about 15 years ago and dubbed him the 'Anti Sinatra'; I really love his phrasing, wonderful pitch and the horn like quality of his voice. Another singer that I really enjoy is Johnny Hartman. As far as ballad singing goes, Johnny Hartman is it! As for contemporary artists I'm a huge fan of Dianne Reeves, Kurt Elling, Shirley Horn and a Portland native, Rebecca Kilgore, who I think is as good as anyone! Portland is blessed with many amazing vocalists and to be mentioned in the same breath as some of them is humbling!
After nearly 30 years of performing with my dance band, Pressure Point, playing cover tunes and performing for private events, I started to find my own voice and style. That is really just a synthesis of everything that I've listened to and loved. Some vocalists are fortunate enough to discover who they are early in their careers, and bypass the stage of trying to imitate others. It took me many years to develop the confidence to present myself as an artist and not just another “band guy” trying to get over with someone else's sound. I plan to continue to record and perform for as long as humanly possible. I have been fortunate to perform in many of the clubs here in Portland and enjoy the heck out of that! I would love to tour a bit away from my home base and see how the “act” plays outside of my comfort zone of familiar faces and places.