It seems like you perform almost every weekend. Do you ever get nervous before going on stage?
All the time. The nervousness sets in exactly when I hit the stage. Sometimes I can shake it off. Most times on stage I'm on edge. I learned how to channel my nervousness by forgetting everything. It doesn't help the band sound better with me being nervous, so I quickly figure out what my focus should be on. It's always easy once I focus.
Why did you choose to play the saxophone?
I was in my sixth grade classroom pledging allegiance to the flag. I heard a very operatic version of the national anthem over the school's PA. Then I went to an assembly program. On stage was this instrument that I had only seen on TV and parades.
A gentleman picked it up and started playing the same song I heard on the PA system. I was blown away. I believe Christ gave me the desire to play. It was definitely a divine moment for me.
I asked my parents to buy me a sax. Without hesitation they said "yes." I thank them for being obedient to God.
How did your church influence your approach to music?
Before I started playing sax I loved going to church. I grew up in an Assembly of God church. They had a thriving music ministry. I tried out for the orchestra and was accepted. Learning my role as a musician for Christ was an eye-opening experience. Knowing where the gift came from was always a catalyst for me. Church has molded my playing in various ways. Playing music from the heart always speaks the loudest.
What's your advice for parents who want to get their kids interested in music?
If you'd like to get your kids interested in music, check if they have a passion for it. Do they sing or beat on stuff all the time?
Here's what you can do: Take your kids to concerts -- concerts with actual instruments being played.
Surround your child with healthy musical alternatives. Instead of going outside playing in the mud, invite him/her to listen to some music with you. Point out the different instruments. Ask him/her to differentiate the instruments as they are being played. This would be a good start.
What's the best-kept secret in the Chattahoochee Valley?
The people. I've been a lot of places -- in the country and out. I've never met more loving and caring people. People have shown so much love to me. It's unbelievable -- so many good people in one place. Even though I'm from Atlanta, I will always call Columbus home.