How did you get your start in music?
I got my first electric guitar when I was 14. I had to rig my boom box stereo to be my guitar amplifier because I couldn't afford an amp. It was actually kind of cool because I could play a cassette (yes cassette) of my favorite band and immediately learn how to play the song through the same boom box. I spent the next 5 years learning the guitar and writing songs by myself in my room. The first band I played in was called Helpless Speech. I was their guitar player. At the time I lived in Lincoln, NE and the rest of the band lived in Scottsbluff, NE. That's about 7 hours away! I would drive to Scottsbluff to practice! Helpless Speech eventually morphed into Casting Pearls. I started singing and writing more songs. We would play shows whenever we could, mostly weekends. One of the craziest times in my life was when the Newsboys called me and asked me to be their guitar player. For 3 years I travelled the world with one of the biggest bands in Christian music. It was an amazing experience for me. Some of the highlights were playing concerts in Morocco in front of 15,000 muslims and playing on the beach of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. I left Newsboys in 2006 to pursue Casting Pearls/VOTA full time and I've never looked back! We started a ministry called the 180 Tour that reaches out to high school students. We've also had the opportunity to tour with some great bands and make life long friends along the way. I'm excited to see what God has next for us.
What are the 3 most influential artists/bands to you?
Van Halen. They just got things going for me in high school. They are the reason I wanted to play the guitar. They are also the reason why I started to write my own songs because it was too difficult to learn how to play Van Halen songs! Pray For Rain (PFR). They are the first Christian band I heard that I liked. They became my favorite band. I was willing to dive more into Christian music after hearing this band. Newsboys. I felt my time with them was almost like an amazing internship. To see the inner workings of a band that has been making music for 20 years. I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. I grew as a person and an artist during those years.
What was your favorite VOTA show?
Most of the shows we've played overseas have been the most memorable. I love the experience of visiting a new country. To have the opportunity to bring VOTA's music to another country is a wonderful blessing.
What is God teaching you now?
That I'm so hopeless without His love, guidance, and blessing. To trust that He is in control of tomorrow. To be faithful and see each day as a precious gift. To cast my cares on Him.