Interview: Reverend Doctor
Hello! Thank you for joining us today! We went through and listened to many of your songs and we are in love! Dance Warrior is such a great reminder to have joy in the midst of trial. How long did it take you to write this song.
That’s so great to hear! Wow. And you’ve summed up the idea of the song perfectly.
Dance Warrior was one of those strange circumstances where it took a ton of time and not very much simultaneously! I was sitting down to write my second song for this Reverend Doctor project and knew I wanted something celebratory and I also wanted something that expressed this concept of joy despite struggle.
A long time ago, I wrote a song whose message was much more autobiographical. I think the concept was when life hands you lemons, make lemonade and I’m certain I said it much less clearly than that! (My early songwriting days were very… overzealous). It was one of the first songs I wrote for the second band I was ever in called Jade Lea. This was circa 2008. It was never released, however.
When I sat down to put the parts together for Dance Warrior it took me maybe an hour to come up with the words to the verse and a chorus refrain. A few days later the bridge came out of me. A friend of mine, and co-credited songwriter because of it, Paul Mathis, came up with the idea of making the bridge have a halftime feel.
So. Maybe a week or 10 years whichever way you want to look at it.
What have you experienced as a musician that gives you a clear understanding of just how ‘tough’ the industry can be at times?
I don’t know that I have one single story, but I can say that what makes any industry messy is that you’re dealing with people and people aren’t perfect. I could tell you stories about losing bandmates, being passed over by opportunities, or feeling overlooked in my community but to be honest I have yet to probably experience any real disappointment from the “industry”. Reverend Doctor is the first project that is my own conception from beginning to end and I’m not certain I’ve ever gained enough momentum in any previous projects to really feel any sense of loss when it was over.
I think another factor in my perspective is that while I hope for the best in all things and give the kind of effort that makes me look like a crazy person, that I truly do expect the worst. And the worst for me is that no one ever hears my music. If people feel negatively about me then my perspective at the moment is “at least they feel something!” Because at the end of the day, a large part of the reason I do this is to provoke people. Art should change the people it touches. Even a negative reaction, is, in its own way, a positive reaction because it left my audience different than when they began.
Who were your musical influences growing up?
Growing up? Haha! I’ll give you a sampling so you can kind of gather the truly random influences. I WORE OUT Michael Jackson’s “Dangerous” cassette tape, the same with Tevin Campbell’s “I’m Ready”. The first CD I owned was Real McCoy (I have zero regrets), and the first alternative album I got was “Congratulations I’m Sorry” by the Gin Blossoms. I still know every single word to every one of those songs to this day.
My dad had this really bad habit of listening to adult contemporary lite radio and so Orleans, the Eagles, Hall and Oats, Tears for Fears are some big influences. I was captivated by Prince. My earliest musical memory is probably Janet Jackson’s “Escapade”. My friends listened to country, I fell in love with bluegrass in high school and can proficiently play mandolin because of it. I went to a lot of live metal shows in my town because that was just about the only well-attended scene.
My musical identity lies in an appreciation for the emotional power of music. I have a voracious appetite and try to get it all wherever I can.
If you could have your ultimate stage fantasy what would have to happen?
I want to perform with Anderson .Paak and Logic. Anderson’s musical genome sounds like how I hope mine will develop. He has this incredible celebratory way, not to mention he’s an incredible writer and drummer. Logic has lived this crazy trauma-filled life and has somehow chosen love. He’s bi-racial (whatever that means) and strangely I feel we’ve lived parallel experiences. Spiritually, his album “Everybody” was a huge influence on Reverend Doctor as a concept.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Get your head out of your ass and leave the midwest. You’ll be poor, maybe even homeless, but you don’t need much and it will be worth it. Also, meet a cute girl named Colleen before you leave and take her with you.
Anything else you would like to share?
I’m really excited for my new single to see what people think of it! It’s called “Better Together” and it’s slated to release in the next couple of months, so I’m pretty pumped. You’ll have to let me know what you think of it.
End of Interview