1. Tell us about your craziest touring experience?
There’s been tons of crazy party memories, but none stand out like touring w/ Lady Gaga for a month in 2009. There was one night while hanging in Gaga’s hotel room after a show in Vancouver. There were about 5 of us hangin out drinking whiskey while Gaga showed us new demos on her computer asking us what we thought of them. Several of the demos were of songs that ended up on Fame Monster. Even if it was just to be a peer and listen/give my opinion of the songs, it was really cool being involved on any level in a part of something that great.
2. What type of college class would you’d most want to take and why?
I attended a few years of college before I got my first record deal. I was going for my BS in Marketing at Purdue University… I took mostly pre recs and some major courses, but the school offered a glass blowing class. I always wanted to take that haha. Maybe one day…
3. What city in America is the most fun to visit and why?
Wow… So many amazing cities in the us, but if I had to choose one it’d have to be Nashville. There is just so much live music going on at all times. I’ve never gotten to spend more than a day there. I need to change that soon!
4. What’s some of the best advice you were ever given?
The best career advice I was ever given came from Lady Gaga. She told me, ‘as an artist, you have to be bigger than your songs’…. She also talked to me about how important it is to have a clear vision of who you are, and what you can offer the world from the very start of your career. Words I still live by.
5. What’s in heavy rotation in your MP3/CD player right now?
I’m a huge fan of shuffle on my iPhone, so nothing specific. I have everything from current pop to 80′s hair metal to country. But if I’m not shuffling… I always find myself listening to Purple Rain by Prince. It just will never get old to me.
6. The last good book you read or TV show you’re addicted to?
Last good book I read was Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, which was amazing! My favorite tv show is Breaking Bad. I’m completely addicted and can barely wait for the next season to start!
7. What’s the first concert you ever saw – how was it?
The first concert I ever went to was Boys 2 Men. Brandy was the opening act. I was pretty young but I remember sitting in a giant arena in Chicago captivated at how different the live show was than the recording. I how they really brought the songs to life. During the show, I kept telling my parents ‘I wanna go on the stage.’ Of course, they told me I couldn’t. Its kinda weird to say, but I’m pretty sure that concert may have been the spark that started it all for me.
8. What are three items you can’t live without on tour?
My must haves are my laptop, midi keyboard, and a studio microphone. I always keep a portable studio setup w/me wherever I go. I’ve even written songs on planes. While on tour I’m usually so inspired by the energy the crowd gives me, I just have to be set up to write as much as possible.
9. Who are your major musical influences?
The first CD my parents ever gave me was Queen’s ‘A Night At The Opera.’ I’m pretty sure that was, and still is, my biggest influence. When I write music, it weights so heavily on having a strong melody. Growing up I really liked bands like The Killers, Matchbox 20, Third Eye Blind, Jimmy Eat World, as well as most pop music that was on the radio.
Any random messages or tips you’d like to give to mtvU watchers?
Never stop taking chances and dream huge!! I seriously first got noticed by the music industry by writing and producing one catchy song and putting it on MySpace. Since then I haven’t stopped taking risks every day.