IAN CROSSTOWN, Singer - Interview

I became aware of Ian Crosstown and the group SRC when a mutual friend posted the band’s music video for “Ambition” on his Facebook page. Thanks to Rick Kozan for connecting us so I could do this interview. SRC is a Los Angeles-area band with more original music coming along soon.

ANTHONY: Hi Ian, thanks for taking a few minutes to chat with me. Let’s talk about “Ambition.”  What inspired the song?

IAN: “Ambition” was inspired by the concept of being down and out and then seeing a light! Ambition can represent different things to different people. It could be a person having a realization and finding their way out of a depression. It could be a person hating their job and realizing that there are other better jobs that exist. It could be a person in a very destructive relationship and having the courage and strength to get out of it. For some people it could be finding a religion. This song was written to inspire people to find their ambition whatever it may be.

ANTHONY: Did you write it on your own, or in collaboration with someone?

IAN: I came up with the concept of “finding your ambition,” then I collaborated musically with Vidal and Ace who are the other two members of this band- SRC. Ace is a phenomenal vocal talent and songwriter and Vidal possesses amazing guitar and bass skills. It is very exciting creating music with musicians of this caliber.

ANTHONY: How has response been since you released the video?

IAN: The responses we have been receiving from listeners have been overwhelmingly good. The general consensus has been that the message is inspiring, the music and vocals are strong, and the song sticks in listeners heads after the first time it is heard. We are a band from Los Angeles and people all over the world have contacted us since this video has recently been released.

ANTHONY: Tell us a little bit about filming the video: where was it done, how long did it take? What were you aiming for visually in connection with the lyrics?

IAN: The video was filmed in a number of different locations. The darker shots were filmed at the Salton Sea in California. If you are not familiar with the Salton Sea, it is a very depressed city with a very interesting history. It is worth searching it on the Internet. The ocean and beach shots were filmed in Seal Beach, CA. The rural shots were filmed in Chino Hills, CA. The city shots were filmed in downtown Los Angeles.

Recording the music and filming the video took approximately six months. At times it can be a very laborious process but the satisfaction and gratification when it is finished makes it a labor of love.

In connection with the lyrics, we wanted the video to accentuate the feelings of a person who is “torn up and raw.” We wanted to convey a turning point from being down and out then finding ambition. Additionally, we wanted to send the message of not giving up. The lyrics in the song are, “I was spinning around, I was falling down, but I picked myself up off the ground.”

ANTHONY: What’s your song-writing process like?

IAN: For “Ambition,” I came up with the concept for the lyrics and a skeleton idea of the music. Ace and Vidal have an uncanny ability to interpret the ideas and bring them to fruition musically. They are extremely talented musicians and we are all in sync when we are working together.

ANTHONY: Has your changed at all since you started writing music?

IAN: This project is relatively new, but all of the music we have been working on so far has generally followed the same process.

ANTHONY: What other projects are you working on now?

IAN: We are currently recording more songs and the production of a new video is just getting started. Additionally, we are booking dates to play live shows. We have all had extensive touring experience so SRC is looking forward to playing in all of our listeners’ cities.

ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

IAN: Very difficult question! However, if I have to narrow it down, I am a huge Tom Wolfe fan! Tom Wolfe clearly does his research before writing his books. He makes astute cultural observations, he has a brilliant sense of humor, and the reader is drawn into his storylines.

I love all of his works but I am particularly fond of A Man in Full. If you enjoy satire, intriguing plots, the ability to clearly visualize characters and settings, you need to read A Man in Full. Tom Wolfe has helped us find our Ambition!

CAROL HANSEN & MATT LANDE, Author, Singer - Interview

Today I’m welcoming back two previous interviewees (seems to be a theme this week!), author Carol Hansen and musician Matt Lande. Carol and Matt are “merging word and song” for a Kickstarter project that, if funded, will bring out a book, an album, and an EP of songs based on the book, as well as helping to defray production costs on two music videos. Carol’s book is DarkStar, which she chatted with me about several months ago. Matt’s album is Welcome Home The Child; we discussed Matt’s music several months back as well. The EP is three new songs by Matt based on the novel, as you’ll see in the interview below:

Carol Hansen

Carol Hansen

ANTHONY: Hello again, Carol and Matt! I’ve interviewed you each individually, so this combined interview should be fun.

CAROL AND MATT: Hi Anthony! Thank you so much for chatting with us again.

ANTHONY: Tell us how this project came to be.

CAROL: Well, when I was writing, DarkStar, one of my goals was to have a song written for my book and possibly a music video made for that song. Getting a book noticed is incredibly tough and I thought that this would be a great marketing tool to help get exposure for DarkStar. The idea was always in the back of my mind, so when Matt and I began following each other on Twitter, and I saw that he was a musician, I checked out his links. The minute I heard his voice, I knew that he had the sound I was looking for. I contacted him to see if he would be interested in reading DarkStar and writing a song for it. He said that he wasn’t opposed to the idea but, with his time schedule, he didn’t know how long it would take him to read a whole book, as he was working on his solo acoustic album at the time. So, I sent him a twenty nine page synopsis to read that would give him the gist of the story, but he decided he wanted to read the whole novel. Matt takes his music very serious and he said he didn’t want to miss anything. I thought that was awesome.
So, he read my book and initially, I had asked him to write one DarkStar song but in the process, he was inspired to write three!

Matt Lande

Matt Lande

Our correspondence with each other made us realize that we have a fun and unique opportunity to join forces and work together so we came up with our project; Music…when word and song collide. It’s awesome, as an author and a musician, to come together and make something amazingly different!

ANTHONY: Can you give us some examples of how Matt reinterpreted words from the book to create the songs?

CAROL: Sure! Here’s a couple:

DarkStar quotes that inspired the DarkStar song:

Alec hugged me tightly, and I pressed my face into his shoulder, allowing me to smell his masculine scent on the sweater he was wearing. Sobs escaped my throat as I felt the relief of finally being in his arms. All I cared about right now was being with him. Alec saved me. He didn’t let me die on the cold and snowy mountain.

After a moment of sobbing and sniffles, he put his finger under my chin and lifting my face up, captured my eyes. His were the same color as the day I met him.

                “You are safe now,” he whispered. “I will never let you be in harm’s way again.”


“I know this is crazy and complicated, but I will get through this…we will get through this. There is nothing to worry about now.” Alec drew me in close. I could feel the beating of our hearts, thumping in unison, two as one. Relief overcame me, but I wondered if it was premature as, at the same time, in the back of my mind the anxiety of the unknown future lingered.               

“I love you, Amrie,” he whispered in my ear. “You truly are my Darkstar.”

DarkStar song lyrics:

My darling star, I’ll hold you within my arms,

When worlds apart, I’m with you, you’re safe from harm.


Most would fall and fallen they have, the might ones, but they’re not us

My perfect star, my brilliant angel, suspended there, I pull you in


DarkStar quotes that inspired the duet, It’s in the Way We Are:

 “Why do you do that to me, Alec?” I asked quivering.

                “Do what?”

                “Look at me like that. You captivate me with your eyes to the point that I can’t even breathe or think. Do you do that on purpose?”

                “I don’t know what you are talking about. You think my eyes captivate you? Why, I think that is absolutely absurd,” he grinned.

                “Well they do and I can’t believe you don’t know it.”

                “Actually, I do,” he confessed. “Sometimes I feel that way when I look into my mother’s eyes. They seem to hold me as if in a trance. Often I feel like that is how she gets me to do some of the things she wants me to do —enthralls me with her eyes.”

                “Is that what you are doing to me?” I asked suspiciously.

                “I didn’t think I was,” Alec said shrugging his shoulders. “But could I?”

                “Could you what? Get me to do what you want me to just by looking into your eyes?”

                He stepped closer to me and the longer our eyes locked the more mesmerized I became. I almost felt as if I was in another world, watching the iridescent colors flicker as I gleamed into crystal glass swirling with delicate color.


 I noticed that Alec’s eyes were a deep, dark blue, darker than I had ever seen them. “Please, Alec,” I sobbed. “You can help him. I know you can. I know what you can do…please.”

 My pleading drew me into his space, his mystical eyes and their undeniable power. His pupils gripped me as emotion swelled in his chest, heavily breathing, nostril’s flaring.

“Please.” I whispered.

                Staring with rapt attention, the intensity of his eyes began changing, motion swirling intricate patterns, power emerging.


It’s in the Way We are Lyrics:

It’s in the way you rescue me

You are the current pulling me

It’s with the pause in time we make

Say it’s alright here

It’s alright


When the world slows down

And our hearts race

I can feel the sound

I can feel you breathing

When I drink you in

It’s in the way we are


The third song is a short acoustic song, Amrie.

 At this point, Matt has already recorded our three DarkStar songs, as well as ten songs for his acoustic album, “Welcome Home the Child,” (which, can I just tell you how amazing they are!) The first part of our project is getting all of these songs into the studio to have the DarkStar songs made into a 3 song EP– that will be marketed with my novel, and his ten songs made into an album. The rest of the project will involve going to Logan, Utah, the location of DarkStar, where we will be doing music videos for two of the three songs and printing DarkStar novels.

Our goal is to do combined DarkStar/Welcome Home the Child concerts and book signings. AND…the coolest thing ever…Matt has agreed to do a full DarkStar album!! Sweet!! We already have ideas for more songs, so if we can get the funding for this project, we will be in a good position to work on the full album.

 ANTHONY: Matt, what was it about Carol’s story that inspired you to create music based on it?

 MATT: I wasn’t sure what to expect when taking on the job to write music for DarkStar. I also couldn’t fathom reading an entire novel cover to cover. lol! Turns out that I became inspired more than ever and instead of only writing one song for the book as Carol asked, I ended up writing three. I think my inspiration was the mix of getting to know Carol as a person, what the book means to her and then the story of love and fantasy that DarkStar portrays. It kept me wanting to read more…that’s saying a lot because my attention span is such as a goldfish.

 ANTHONY:  Carol, what is it about Matt’s music that drew you to him as a source for creating music inspired by your characters?

 CAROL: The first time I heard Matt’s voice was when I followed his links and he was singing, “Walking with Ghosts,” on his You Tube video. I was instantly intrigued because he had this magical, mystical sound and it’s exactly what I wanted for my song. Matt has a very unique voice and when you combine it with his amazing talent for writing and playing guitar; you can’t help but be captivated.

DarkStar is about a guy, Alec, from England who finds out he is destined to be a wizard, and he doesn’t want to be. He is tormented because the powers of the wizardry are being forced upon him and when he meets a girl named, Amrie, both of their worlds change. She has mysterious dreams and as his magical world intertwines with hers, they get lost in a plot of mystery, romance, intrigue and a mystical connection. I knew, instantly, that Matt was the one I wanted to write my DarkStar song, but I soon realized that he could also play the part of, Alec. I tease him about it, telling him he will be my, Alec in our DarkStar movie. He definitely could be because he fits Alec’s description to a tee. Coincidence? Personally, I don’t think so:) Everything has just fallen into place for us…like it was meant to be. That’s why we’ve joined forces, because what we have is an amazingly unique opportunity and we are working really hard to make it happen.)

 ANTHONY: Matt, you’re also in the midst of creating your own album. How do you balance the two projects, make sure each gets equal attention, etc.?

 MATT:  How do I balance anything!? I have no idea. I have a dangerous balancing act.  So many things going on. I think I get a mad drive when it comes to music and entertainment. I love the feeling when you pick up the guitar, something comes over you and a song is born. From that point, I’m itching to record and produce it. Once I get rolling, it’s kinda hard to stop me and miraculously, eventually, it all comes together.

 ANTHONY: Carol, has Matt’s music influenced the way you’ve written the characters in the sequels versus the way you wrote them in the original story?

 CAROL:  It’s interesting that you ask that because it definitely has. Having Matt write the songs for DarkStar gave me a different perspective of my story. He took a whole novel and described three different aspects of it in just a few words…a musical synopsis, if you will. When writing, I have this vision in my head of who each character is and it’s quite easy to become repetitive with them. Matt’s words opened up a new picture for me and a different feel for what others are seeing–compared to what I’m writing. I have also learned a lot from Matt. He has a way of putting such deep emotion into his lyrics and it’s made me want to explore more deeply the way my characters, especially, Alec and Amrie, view each other.

 ANTHONY: Matt, I know you’ve done fundraising before, on Indiegogo and other places. What sets the Kickstarter project apart from your other efforts? Why should folks who have donated to you in the past donate again for this project?

 MATT: We thought it would be a good idea to do Kickstarter because we really need to accomplish our goal in a timely manner. Even though we won’t get the funding unless the full $5000 is raised, the site is more well-known than indiegogo, so we are taking the chance. All of the pledges from indiegogo campaigns were used to purchase recording equipment which I’ve used to lay down nearly all the acoustic guitars, lead vocals, and backing vocals for “Welcome Home the Child” as well as for the DarkStar EP. There’s still a ways to go, but if we reach this goal through Kickstarter, we’ll knock everything out of the park. I believe I have some of the best fans and that’s simply why we’ve gotten this far.

 ANTHONY: Okay, let’s talk about the Kickstarter incentives. I know folks can click through on the link and see what you’re offering in return for the donation, but tell me a bit about each incentive and why you chose them.

 CAROL: One thing we like about Kickstarter is that we are able to give something in return to those who support us. We are grateful for every single pledge because each one puts us closer to making our project a reality and without them, it just won’t happen.

 First and foremost, we give, Thank You’s, both privately and publically, because we are so appreciative to our backers and we want them to know it. Along with those, everyone gets a virtual hug. Who wouldn’t want one of those? LolJ


 Our incentives are a reflection of exactly what our project is and everything is personalized and very personal to us:

~Pre-released DarkStar and Welcome Home the Child CD’s and digital downloads

~DarkStar novel pre-released Wizard novel & bookmarks

~A guitar and hand written lyrics

~An original DarkStar manuscript and exclusive DarkStar Jewelry

~Exclusive connections with us through phone and in house concert and book signing

~Contact and knowing just exactly how our project is advancing

~Plus more added, “cool stuff” as Matt says

 ANTHONY: Last but not least, what is the final deadline for the Kickstarter?

 CAROL: The reason we are on Kickstarter is…the age old problem….MONEY! Matt and I have both had some personal struggles and setbacks the past few years that has made it really tough for us financially, so the fact that we have come this far, by financing our individual projects, is really quite remarkable. We are both working extremely hard to share our talents, but there hits a point where sometimes you have to, in all your humility, ask for help. That’s the point we are at. We are both extremely independent and it is hard for us to have to rely on others.

 We are approaching our deadline quickly. Our project will end on March 29th at 8:36 a.m. so we are beginning to stress a bit. We haven’t even reached half of our financial goal and we’re past the half way point in our time limit, so we feel an urgency to get the word out about our project and hope that everyone will be willing to offer, even just a little bit toward making this a reality for us. We like helping others, also, and welcome the opportunity to return the favor and help any of you when you are in need.

 We are so appreciative to Anthony for helping us out by doing this interview and want to thank him! He really does all of us an unselfish service by doing all the interviews he does to give exposure to so many creative and interesting people.

 THANK YOU, Anthony for all you do! Most sincerely!!

ANTHONY: You’re welcome!

So, folks, here’s the link to  Carol and Matt’s Kickstarter. I hope you’ll consider sending even just a few bucks their way. And remember, with Kickstarter, they don’t get your money if the project isn’t fully-funded, so please consider spreading the word!


HOLLYWOOD ENDING, Singers - Interview

This special Thanksgiving Day interview is with the guys from Hollywood Ending. You’ll see why I’m posting on a special day near the end.

Hollywood Ending

Hollywood Ending

Watching them perform, it’s hard to believe the five guys in Hollywood Ending have only been performing together a few months. On stage, they’re in synch with each other in a way some bands that have been together for 10 years don’t manage. And they obviously enjoy performing and touring. Tyler Wilson sings lead with Cameron Byrd, who also plays guitar. Mike Montalbano is on drums, Chris Bourne is on the bass and backing vocals, and Dan Geraghty is on guitar and backing vocals.

I interviewed the band before the final concert on Action Item’s The Stronger The Love Tour. The venue is crowded and a total of eight bands were playing, so space was at a premium. I ended up interviewing the guys in their tour van and using my brand new digital recorder. As you’ll see, it was an hysterical experience. I’d gladly interview these guys again, any time.

Anthony: I do all my interviews by email so hopefully this thing is going to work. I’m just going to try to hold it flat. So the first question I wanted to ask you is one you probably always get…

Mike: Is the heater going to mess with the recorder?

Anthony: Oh, yeah, it might. I didn’t think of that. Thanks, Mike.

[Dan attempts to turn the heater off, but can’t find the right knob.]

TYLER, CAMERON, MIKE, CHRIS: No, to the left! The left! THE LEFT! Your other left! The other knob!

Anthony [pointing]: This one over here. [Dan turns a different knob and the heat goes off.] Okay, that one works too. [Everyone laughs] This is going to be fun to listen back to tomorrow, and be like ‘what was all of that?’

Dan: Sooooo stupid.

Anthony: Well, you didn’t manage to lock yourself into the front of the van, or out of the van, so we’re okay with that. Although I have to say, MY most embarrassing moment on tour … well, not on tour, but I travel for work … leaving the wireless microphone on when I went to the bathroom.

Band: Nooooo!

Anthony: Yeah, in front of like 60 people. Coworker came running in while I was at the urinal to tell me it was on. So Dan, I’ve out-done you.

Cameron: So one day one of us will top that.

Anthony: And then you’ll have to make sure you tell me about it. Okay, since I know we’re tight on time: You guys have been together for how many months now?

Band [almost in unison]: Four.

Anthony: How did the band come together? You’ve probably answered this question like ninety million times.

Tyler and Mike: [laughing] Yeah…

Cameron: Well, basically, we all knew each other from other bands and then our manager set us up with Chris here.

Chris: Through Skype.

Anthony: Through Skype? Cool.

Cameron: and it kind of started from there, and then NBT started…

Tyler: We got a slot on NBT and we decided that it was amazing exposure and it had to be, it had to work out. We all got along really well, we’re brothers, and it just really worked out really perfectly. A lot of luck.

Anthony: So: first time on tour for … any of you?

Tyler: Me and Cameron.

Chris: My first time on tour.

Dan: Mike and I have toured before.

Anthony: So what’s the toughest part about being on tour, for you guys who are new to it.

Cameron: Being sick.

Chris: Trying to sleep. Sleeping on tour is hard.

Tyler: I wish I could eat better, but there’s just a lot … you know, it’s tough.

Cameron: [coughs] I got sick after two weeks, and I’m still sick. So I’ve been sick for almost two weeks.

Mike: It’s all the things that you think would be hard.

Anthony: Yeah, the same stuff I have traveling around the country for my company, it’s just being in the van you’re in a tighter space dealing with it. So NBT, you’ve made it through to…

Mike: Third round right now.

Anthony: When does the voting end?

Everyone: Tomorrow [which was Monday, November 21st]



Anthony: Alright, good, because I did just tweet right before the interview, “you’ve got to make sure you vote for these guys,” not that I have a huge number of followers…

Dan: Thanks so much!

Tyler: Every little bit helps.

Anthony: I’d like to see you guys go through. Okay, the songs. Who are the song-writers in the group? Is it everybody?

Tyler: Everyone really writes.

Cameron: Everyone has their own thoughts on it.

Dan: Yeah, everyone really contributes.

Cameron: Like someone will come up with an idea then we’ll build off of it and we’ll all throw in our opinions so it’s like a big song-writing session.

Chris: Most songwriting sessions like sometimes Tyler and Dan will pair off and then me and Cameron will pair off and then Mike comes and checks out what’s going on and gives his input.

Cameron: And then we’ll go back in the end and we’ll edit stuff, so we all usually help.

Anthony: So it’s really a group effort, not like some groups that have just one or two members that write all the songs and everybody else just fills in with their instruments.

Cameron: And everybody is different, different approaches to writing, too, like everyone has their own ideas.

Mike: And everyone brings it together.

Anthony: A real group collaboration, that’s awesome. You’ve got the two singles out on itunes now, right?

Tyler: Yeah. “You Got Me” and “I’m So Over You.”

Anthony: More music coming soon?

Everyone: Absolutely.

Cameron: We’ve got a couple of songs that were recorded and are being recorded soon. We are very busy with tour as you can see, and we’re about to go on another one with All-Star Weekend soon. It’s hard on the road you don’t have the time to write or obviously record but as soon as that’s over with… Until then, we hope to write and record new songs.

Anthony: Those are the usual questions I think you guys probably get asked all the time.

Everyone: [laughing] Yeah.

Anthony: So I’m going to ask the one that I end my email interviews with and you can take a minute to think about it: because I’m a writer, I always ask everyone what your favorite book is, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

Dan: “HOP ON POP!”

Anthony: How did I know you were going to come up with a Dr. Suess book? I don’t even know you and I somehow knew you’d be the one to answer Dr. Suess.

Dan: Dr. Suess is a legend! Oh, “Green Eggs And Ham,” too!

Mike: Do you know the book “Hi, My Name Is David and I’m an Alcoholic?”

Anthony: Yeah!

Mike: That book is great, I dunno, I read it in like 9th grade…

Anthony: And it stuck with you.

Mike: Yeah.

Anthony: So there you go.

Cameron: A book I’ve always loved, and the reason why I would tell people to read it is because I’m not a huge reader, I’ve never been a big reader, but I’ve always loved “Holes.” I’ve been able to read it like four or five times, and even when I was younger and I hated reading … I like reading now but I don’t do it that much, but when I was younger I hated it, but I would still read “Holes” over and over, so…

Tyler: I’m a huge, huge “Harry Potter” fan, and I think most people have read “Harry Potter,” but if you haven’t, please go do that because it’s an amazing book.

Anthony: I always love it when Potter gets the shout-out. All three Burnham brothers named the Potter series, too.

Chris: I’m kind of in the same boat as Cameron, I don’t really read, but I’ve made the effort to read some biographies of famous people that I’m really inspired by. Michael Jackson, titled “Moonwalker,” it’s a great biography, I’ve read that, incredible insight into his life, you know, and yeah, it’s just a great book.

Anthony: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, I ask that question and a lot of people will say, ‘well, I don’t really read any fiction so I don’t think I can answer the question,” and I’m like ‘no, it doesn’t matter if it’s biography, fiction, whatever … you’re reading.

Everyone: Yeah, true, right.

Anthony: Alright, well, I think that’s all the questions. I knew you guys were going to be strapped for time, so I didn’t come up with a million questions to ask, and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few of the ones I wanted to ask.

Cameron: Well, thanks a lot man.

Chris: Yeah, thanks.

Anthony: You know what, let’s just make sure this worked… [plays back interview] Yep! Great. Alright, well, I’m coming into the show to see how you guys do, and to visit with the Burnham family.

Mike: Really, cool!

Tyler: Thanks for sticking around.

Anthony: I’m sure a lot of interviewers don’t. I’ll be near the back, though. Let all the screaming teenage girls get up close.

Dan: [laughs] You mean you’re not going to be screaming?

Anthony: I will clap and yell, but I’ll cut down on the screaming. Thanks again, guys! I’d say break a leg, but the last time I said that to my nephews, they took me seriously. One broke his arm running after his sister, and the other did it during football practice.

Dan: How … ironic.

Anthony: I get the feeling Dan always gets the last word!

* * * * * * *

One of the several things I forgot to ask the guys during the interview was about an upcoming benefit concert they’re playing in NJ. So here’s the details: in association with School of Rock, Hollywood Ending will be performing at the Rockin’ Strong for #34 benefit on November 28th, 2011 at Saddle Brook High School. Doors open at 7:00pm and tickets are $10.00. Tickets can be purchased at the Saddle Brook or Waldwick NJ School of Rock locations. All proceeds go to help Tyler Vitiello, a Saddle River HS football player who suffered a severe neck injury during his team’s last regular season game in early November.

You can check out the band on Facebook, and follow everyone on Twitter: the bandCameronTylerMikeDan and Chris. They also post videos on their Youtube channel.

BURNHAM, Singers - Interview

Today I’m very happy to be able to ramble on with the brothers Burnham.



They’ve been performing together for half their lives, but after meeting producers Freddy Shehadi and Andy Marvel of Headspinners, things moved to a whole new level. A demo with Headspinners led to a meeting with Island Def Jam CEO Antonio “LA” Reid. Reid refused to let the brothers leave without being signed. The fact that youngest brother and lead singer Forrest beat Reid at pool before signing is bound to become one of those classic music industry stories. They’ve since worked with a number of well-known producers and songwriters on their debut, including OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder (on the track “Catch Me If You Can”). They’ve also weathered Forrest’s voice change with the help of expert vocal coaches. In October, Burnham will open for All-Star Weekend at the Topsfield Fair in Topsfield, MA, and then go on a several month, multi-city tour sharing the stage with Action Item and Hollywood Ending.

Andre, Forrest and Alex Burnham, photo credit Timothy Peters

Andre, Forrest and Alex Burnham, photo credit Timothy Peters

ANTHONY: I’ve been waiting months to be able to type this. Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome brothers Forrest, Alex and Andre, better known as … BURNHAM! Hi, guys!

BURNHAM: Hey. How’s it going?

A: It’s going well, thanks. The best place to start this is probably with a question about influences. Who do each of you count as your primary musical influences / heroes?

B: You probably heard this before but Coldplay, The Beatles, and Led Zeppelin, The Who and currently Bruno Mars, OneRepublic, Kings Of Leon, etc.

A: As a three-piece “band of brothers,” you’ve been compared to Hanson, the Jonas Brothers, and fellow up-and-comers Kropp Circle. We know what you have in common with those bands … what sets you apart?

B: Well, there are many brother bands even ones like Kings of Leon and Van Halen so it isn’t that uncommon. But every band is set apart by their uniqueness of sound. When you hear Kings of Leon you know it’s them. When you hear Hanson you definitely know it’s them. We hope to bring that to our audience.

A: Good point about KoL and VH. I first became familiar with you through the covers you were posting on Youtube. What goes into deciding which songs you’ll cover and what format you’ll use (acoustic vs. electric, etc)?

B: Usually, we decide to cover songs that we love and songs that the audience already knows and loves.

A: How much effort goes into making a version that is uniquely “Burnham” while still retaining what is loved and recognizable about the original?

B: We love playing acoustic. It’s how we got signed— with a couple of guitars and three voices. We think our front man brings uniqueness with his voice. A lot of effort goes into each song but after we learn it we hope that it becomes our own.

A: Will you be doing the “12 Covers of Christmas” project again this year, or will your upcoming tour with Action Item and Hollywood Ending interfere with that?

B: Well, we did that after the Bieber tour and it was “let’s learn this song quickly today so we can get it on Youtube for our fans.” We had to learn a song a day if we didn’t know it already. Forrest is a quick study. We might do it again. It was pretty fun.

A: I think it was fun for the fans as well. Okay: last, and possibly the most important, question about cover songs: When are you going to cover “Come On, Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners? Your mother wants to hear you do that almost as much as I do!

B: Ha ha. We joke about the 80’s to our mother. It is a cool song but we might try another 80’s song at some point. We mostly like to cover current songs though.

A: In other words, “Anthony, Stop Tweeting about ‘Come On, Eileen!’” haha Okay, now, let’s talk about your original songs. We’ve seen Youtube footage of Forrest working on a song at the keyboards, but what’s the full-band creative process like? How do you decide who writes lyrics, who writes melody, etc?

B: We don’t decide who writes what. Sometimes it’s Forrest or Alex or me, Andre. When you have a song idea you just start working on it. Sometimes it’s just the melody. Sometimes it’s making a track in our home studio. Sometimes one might come up with lyrics and then someone else has a better idea. Any original we have is all of ours together. It’s really an amazing feeling when you finish an original song.

A: When you’re starting to develop a song idea, do you ever think far ahead to how the song will fit into an EP or full album, or do you let each song tell its own story in its own way?

B: No. We never think ahead. A lot of songs get put to the side. You have to be able to say goodbye to a song that just doesn’t work or maybe you will use that idea later.

A: As a writer, you can imagine I’m not a fan of the “where do you get your ideas” question. But I do like hearing about tactics and tools. When you’re stuck for a lyric or idea, where do you turn for inspiration? What do you do to break a creative block?

B: It kind of just comes for all of us. Sometimes we get an idea for a song and it get recorded and sits there for months and then we go back and come up with a new lyric idea for it. We usually write words that just pop into our heads.

A: Have you collaborated with anyone on songwriting chores? And if you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be?

B: We have collaborated with many people and in the beginning before we ever got signed we collaborated with our two producers. We have collaborated with Ryan Tedder of One Republic, James Bourne of Busted, and many producers in the business that have collaborated with Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, and artists like that.

A: I know I have a trunk of story fragments that didn’t work out but might find a home in a story someday. Have you ever abandoned a song idea because it just wasn’t “clicking?”

B: Like we said before we abandon song ideas a lot. We even abandon whole songs. Well, not really abandon it’s more like put them away. We never throw them out.

A: Andre, you’re building amplifiers these days, right? How’s that going?

B: No. It’s me Alex building cabs. It’s going amazing. I am working on custom orders right now for Burnham Custom Amplifications and already made a cab and head to bring on The Stronger The Love Tour.

A: I’m going to just pretend it’s all the “A” names confusing me to explain why I aimed that question at the wrong brother. Forrest, I’d get in trouble with my nieces if I didn’t ask this question: when is your episode of BIG TIME RUSH going to air, and what was it like working on the show?

B: We are not supposed to say the date but I can tell you that it is in October sometime.

A: Alex, rumor has it (okay, it was actually Andre on Twitter) that Forrest recently dropped a motorcycle on your head. What was that all about? And will there be retaliation?

B: Funny. Yeah, Forrest was on our uncle’s dirt bike and it was in the garage. I was working on one of my cabs and Forrest lost his balance and the bike kind of fell on me. I had a headache for two days. I already retaliated but I can’t say what I did haha.

A: It’ll all come out in the Unofficial Biography someone will publish about you guys in a year or two. One of the many things that impresses me about you is your commitment to your fans. Your weekly ustream sessions have gone without missing a week for how long now? Tell my readers when and where they can find the live chats.

B: Yeah, we started the ustream in October of 2010 and we haven’t missed a Wednesday since then. You can catch the livechat here on Wednesdays at 7 pm EST/ 4pm PT

A: You’re about to head out on tour, as we mentioned earlier. What’s the most exciting part of touring, and what’s the most grueling?

B: The most exciting part about tour is performing and meeting the audience. We like the meet and greets before the performance because we can recognize the people in the audience that we just met. It was pretty cool. The grueling part is the long miles in between shows and getting up when you really just want to sleep in. Packing up in hotels is tiring too. You don’t want to leave anything in a hotel room because you can’t go back and get anything because the schedule is just that tight.

A: Since I travel about one-third of the year for my day job, I can relate to the “leaving things behind in a hotel room” problem. I don’t know how many power cords I’ve lost. Right now, three of your songs are available as an EP on itunes. When can we expect a full album to appear?

B: That’s the big question everyone wants to hear the answer to. As you know, Forrest went through a voice change so we had to rerecord some songs and it even inspired us to come up with a lot of new ones. We don’t know when we will release more songs or a full album. We just wanna release it at the perfect moment.

A: Well, I know your fans, including me, will be ready for it whenever it drops! I always wrap things up with this question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to recommend it to someone who has never read it?

B: We argued back and forth about this one but we all agree the Harry Potter series!

A: Alright, well, good luck with everything and thanks for the chance to chat, boys!

B: You are welcome.


It’s Beautiful Women Week here on Rambling On. Today, I talk to the incomparable Jennifer Holliday.  Jennifer is a woman who needs no introduction, but I’m going to give her one anyway. She shot to the top with her Tony Award winning role as Effie White in the original production of DREAMGIRLS, a role she’s reprising for the last time later this year. After lots of personal struggles, 2012 is poised to be a break-out year, as you’ll see in the interview below.

Jennifer Holliday and Anthony Cardno, Photo by Meg Radliff

Jennifer Holliday and Anthony Cardno, Photo by Meg Radliff


Jennifer Holliday, still beautiful. Photo by Meg Radliff.

ANTHONY:  I was excited when I found out you were on Twitter and we struck up an on-going conversation. I remember seeing you in DREAMGIRLS during the original run and being absolutely devastated by “It’s Over” and “I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.” We were sitting in the highest balcony seats and it felt like you were standing in the row in front of us. I’m sure you’ve been asked this a million times, but can you tell me a little bit about what doing the show was like, and share a favorite moment or two?

JENNIFER: Being involved in creating a show and being a part of something that is new and innovative. Nothing had been done like this at the time and of course I was young and you know you’re making something happen. You don’t know you’re making a hit that’s going to be around for generations to come, making history, that sort of thing. None of that came to mind.  It was a lot of hard work, and I was doing another show during the night while working on DREAMGIRLS during the daytime, so a lot of it was work and building something.  My memories are kind of in a big ball tied up from the time we put it together: out of town tryouts in Boston and opening and boom I was the star really overnight. A lot of it my memories are not the kind of memories people would think you would have of creating something. A lot of them are melancholy because it was so overwhelming. I try to look back and see where they are from that time, but I have a hard time trying to gather those up. That’s why I think I’ve haven’t written a book about it, because a lot of it was just so much that I’m still sorting through it after 30 years, I can’t find the happy moments out of it. Not that there weren’t happy moments, there were.

ANTHONY: What was the other show you were doing?

JENNIFER: A lot of people forget that DREAMGIRLS was not my first Broadway show. I was doing YOUR ARMS’ TOO SHORT TO BOX WITH GOD at night while DREAMGIRLS was developing during the day.

ANTHONY: You mentioned not writing a book about DREAMGIRLS. Have you ever seriously considered it?

JENNIFER: Well, you know, Sheryl Lee Ralph has a book coming out in March (Redefining Diva: Life Lessons from the original Dreamgirl) and I thought maybe it’s time for me to write something.

ANTHONY: Would it be more of a memoir, a self-improvement book, or … ?

JENNIFER: More of a book where people can take help from it. So I think it will concentrate on overcoming depression. It will be about working on the mind to get through depression. There was a government report recently that said 1 in 5 Americans suffered from mental illness in 2011. I think that’s what I want to talk about and how it was intertwined with my life and my career.

ANTHONY: On Twitter, you are so supportive of everyone who talks to you. I know you’ve had a lot of personal challenges, including the depression you mentioned. What’s gotten you through the tough times?

JENNIFER:  I think that the toughest part of the depression, and I actually tried to commit suicide when I was 30 years old, coming through that, working through that, was about having the right type of therapist and the right medication at that time, and “staying the course” (I know that’s from the Bush era but I just love the phrase). If you make progress even just a little … you keep going. Just be consistent, it will bear results and get you to where you want to go. I have lots of people who I’ve lost, people I knew who just gave up. Depression just wasn’t talked about a lot back then.  Phyllis Hyman in 1995 was supposed to be at the Apollo and took her life just hours before her show, and that was the first one that made me want to talk about it more, that’s when I became an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. And then Susannah McCorkle, another a jazz singer, leapt to her death in 2001 after years of fighting depression and relapsing, and that was traumatic to me as well. People who give up right before things turn around, and that’s why I say you have to be careful talking about these things.

ANTHONY: Careful about how you talk to folks with depression?

JENNIFER: Careful about how you talk about finding the right help. I’ve dealt a lot with alternative, holistic methods for some of the problems I’ve dealt with. I still believe in doctors and medicine and treatment, I just think you sometimes have to go further. But stopping your meds and thinking you’re alright for a little while is sometimes the problem so I’m careful in how I talk to people about self-treating themselves. Find a doctor who understands your concerns about your meds and will work with you. There are still doctors who care, who take time and make time to listen. For me to be able to have clarity on that, it was a long time before the voices of darkness cleared away for me. One of the reasons I moved from New York City to Atlanta was NYC is a fast paced place and I couldn’t figure out how to slow down. Even getting from airport to apartment was stressful for me. I sleep better in Atlanta and that, sleeping, has a lot to do with our health. I was finally able to do that without taking anything. Things are quieter down here, things are not bustling after 10pm here, so that helped me a lot. I’m always revaluating: what can I do to get more peace, the kind of peace I’m looking for? That’s why 2012 will probably be more a year of prep than a year of performing. I don’t have a desire to be everywhere, but I do have a desire to do great things. I don’t want that at the expense of the peace I’ve found. I do want to have a balanced life.

It’s sad, but depression still has a stigma attached to it. A drug or alcohol problem is far sexier, especially if you go to rehab and “fix” it. Depression is still viewed as horrible, even with more discussion and acceptance.

ANTHONY: People still get that “why can’t you fix yourself, why do you need help” reaction.

JENNIFER: Exactly. Every situation is different. Mine was clinical depression; manic-depression needs to be handled differently, so do the other types. And you need the right professional help.

ANTHONY:  It’s also so true that we never know what’s going on in someone’s head; just because they’re so energetic and social on-stage doesn’t mean they go home happy with themselves. You know I’ve struggled with that, too. Speaking of being on-stage, though:  I just watched your duet with Jennifer Hudson again via Youtube, and of course I got to see you in concert in Chicago back in December. I’m always amazed by singers whose voices don’t falter, and you’re as much a powerhouse as you were in the 80s. What kind of vocal workout regimen do you follow to keep your voice so strong?

JENNIFER:  Discipline always. No vocal warm-ups, exercises, etcetera, outside of performance. That comes from the theater, doing eight shows a week. No drinking, no excessive talking, no smoking; being very strict about how you treat the instrument outside of the performance. That’s why my speaking voice is so different from the singing voice. People are sometimes shocked at the difference. My singing voice became the main voice, so everything goes into the performance: 200 percent. I’ve had no formal vocal training, never sought any. A lot of it I had to just learn for myself. Doing DREAMGIRLS eight shows a week, with one day off, having to be wonderful, to create magic: I had to take care of my instrument in a different way. No partying, no speaking before 3p.m. each day until the show each night.

ANTHONY:  So it’s really more about maintenance than further training?

JENNIFER: You know, even if your voice is trained, that doesn’t train you to perform every night. You have a legit voice, but it still doesn’t enable you to do eight shows a night. You still need the discipline. That’s why opera singers do less shows a month, to rest their voice. I’m grateful I started in theater first. If I’d started as a recording office first, my voice might not have held up as well, might not be the clear powerful voice it is.

ANTHONY:  We’ve had a “Jennifers” Duet. Now, what are the odds we can get the GLEE producers to cast you as Mercedes (Amber Riley)’s mother for an episode or four?

JENNIFER:  I think Glee would be a fun thing to do.  I don’t know how we could get that done. The wonderful thing about Hollywood is you can just happen to meet somebody and boom you’re there, then if you’re not out there in that network you may not get thought of for something like being on Glee even if people know I may have influenced some of what they do – “let’s not get Jennifer Holliday, let’s get someone who sounds like her.” But anything can happen. Dreams are still made and things that seem impossible can become possible.

ANTHONY:  It’s tougher not being in Hollywood or even New York, isn’t it?

JENNIFER: Yes. You know, Atlanta is a place that is becoming connected but a lot of people don’t even know that I live here, and I’m not a networker. But connections still happen. I did meet Amber through Sheryl Lee Ralph.

ANTHONY:  Speaking of Sheryl Lee, How often do you see the DREAMGIRLS cast?

JENNIFER: They’re mostly actors. I’m mostly a singer fulltime, earning a living just from singing. So our paths don’t cross a lot.  But I do see Sheryl Lee Ralph quite a bit because of her activism for AIDS and our relationship with the gay community. And I hardly ever  run into Loretta Devine but the three of us were all together for Sheryl Lee Ralph’s Divas Simply Singing AIDS benefit concert in LA this past October.

ANTHONY: Earlier in your career you did a lot of benefit concerts, especially for LGBT causes. What causes are important to you these days?

JENNIFER:  The same causes are there in terms of the gay community. It all started with HIV because AIDS pretty much cleaned out the Broadway community in 1981-83, around that time. And at that time it didn’t even have a name, it was the “gay white man’s disease.” People were just dying, there was no help for them so it took out a great deal of the Broadway community and had a large toll on our cast at DREAMGIRLS: Michael Bennett, Tom Eyan, Michael Peters, other creative staff and male cast. Both Sheryl and I were thinking about that early on and that’s been our mainstay in terms of activism ever since. And now it’s becoming one of the leading killers of African-American women because of so many men not being truthful and still being on the “downlow.” So that’s something that will still remain because of that connection I have.

Of course with my own problems with depression, that’s an important area for me too. And even though I have Multiple Sclerosis, I have never been a spokesperson.

I think I’m known to be a philanthropist because I help people with a lot of causes that aren’t as public. I’ve done charity performances, etc. “Everybody’s condition is my condition,” as far as I’m concerned. I don’t think I have to be personally touched by that cause or illness in order for me to give help. If I’m available and the timing is right, I’ll be there.

ANTHONY: I didn’t realize you had MS.

JENNIFER: People forget I have it because I am so energetic on stage, and I can walk, etc. It’s no secret but people kind of forget it because I don’t dwell on it, and because I’ve taken the stance that my depression was far worse than my MS was for me in terms of life-and-death. That’s how I’ve always looked at it. I think that’s because the medications that are out there, I’ve been waiting for them to get better. I have been unable to walk and been blind due to the MS. I’ve been taking care of myself, in fact I’ve undergone several controversial types of treatment to get help for my MS. That’s not for everyone.

You know, trying to figure out how to speak about a disease they don’t know a lot about is difficult. You don’t want to give people false hope, and when people are searching for an answer they don’t want to hear certain things. So if people see me out working through the pain, then they can try to draw from that. Even thought they have to take the meds and they’re in a particular situation that’s different from me, they can take inspiration. I’m working with a woman now who also has MS and is also a singer but is in a wheelchair, and I tell her I can’t promise you’ll walk or sing again, but I do you want you to take your medicine, etc. It’s hard when you’re a person like me who grabs life; how do you talk about a cure that worked for you but you know is controversial that might not work for everyone?

I do believe prayer works, too. I think everything starts in the mind. I was diagnosed seventeen years ago, and by the time they narrowed down my symptoms I couldn’t really walk. They did a spinal tap and other tests, to say conclusively “yes, it’s MS.” I asked them “Why can’t I walk?” and they said “Because your brain can’t send a message to your legs.” I thought, “My brain already can’t send a message to anything because I’m clinically depressed and take meds for that! So the depression has to go so I can put my energy to fighting a disease no one really understands and gets misdiagnosed.”  So I started working on my mind, my outlook. And then they put me on the MS meds and one of the side effects is depression and suicidal thoughts! So I had to get off of that medication, and that’s why I explored the alternative methods I mentioned earlier.

ANTHONY: How did you go about that?

JENNIFER: You do your own homework and your own research. Doctors may not tell you the alternatives. So you have to go and research. I had to take myself off of the medicine because it was bringing on the depression and heavy thoughts of suicide! And I hadn’t read the paperwork to know that’s why I was feeling worse.  So I did that and now here I am, and I still suffer greatly with the illness and I was last blinded for almost three months in 2007. But I continue to use all alternative meds and procedures that have allowed me to be my best self. As a performer I’m way better than I used to be before, but a lot of this is me telling myself that this is how I want it to be.

ANTHONY:  I know fans are hoping/wishing for a full pop album. Is there any chance we’ll see one soon?

JENNIFER:  I do want to record this year, but I don’t know what I want to do. I was thinking of doing an album of love songs: some cover tunes and some original tunes as well. I will make a decision this month.

ANTHONY:  Regardless of what genre your next album is, I’m interested in knowing how you decide what songs to record or add to your concert repertoire.

JENNIFER:  It depends on whether I want to try something new, maybe a favorite song that I’ve never performed before. A lot of stuff sounds new to me that I want to try, a jazz standard, a pop song. That’s how I’ve been looking at putting the concerts together. A lot of people think I’ve recorded lots of cds, but it’s only been five albums and two “best of’s,”, so it’s not a lot of material to use in a 90 minute concert unless there are the diehard fans. I had someone tell me “oh I loved Love Story” and I said “oh what album was that on? Oh, 10 people bought that album…”  In a way it’s good that I don’t have lot of material because as I move forward (hopefully singing for another 20 years or so), it gives me a realm of possibility. I can keep recording and it’ll be new to me and new to my listeners and fans, and I’m excited about that.

ANTHONY: Where will you be appearing in the early part of 2012?

JENNIFER: I’ll be in San Diego with Marvin Hamlisch and the San Diego Symphony Orchestra on February 10th and 11thdoing the “Romance with Broadway’s Best” show. I’ll also be doing a number of private performances in the first part of the year. And you know, the recording industry has changed so much that I’m not sure I can get a label deal, so I’ll have to do an independent release with this album.

ANTHONY: Some of my favorite performers are independent artists putting their own releases out there. My friend Casey Stratton had one major label album and went back to producing and releasing his own stuff. It’s not the easiest way to get your music out there, but it gives you more creative control. To bring our conversation full-circle: You just announced that you’ll be returning to the role of Effie White in a special week of DREAMGIRL performances at The MUNY in Saint Louis. Does playing that role ever get old?

JENNIFER: I have played Effie every five years or so in revivals, but I am pretty sure that at 51 years old, this will be the last one. I don’t want to turn into Norma Desmond! I’ll be playing to 11,000 people a night in the oldest and largest open-air musical theater in the country. It’s another dream come true, so it just goes to show it’s never too late to dare to dream new dreams.

ANTHONY: I am going to make every best effort to be there for a performance. And now for my usual final question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to convince someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?

JENNIFER:  There are so many to choose from. I love The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  I think it speaks to me now, to where I am and I think it can help people. It’s a Bible-based book; if someone is searching it’s a great support.

I also love Love Leadership by John Hope Bryant.  Another deep one!  Not a Christian book but more about how you do business and work with others and involve loving yourself and others.

ANTHONY:  Jennifer, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me, and for your friendship and support on Twitter!

Don’t forget, you  can find Jennifer on Twitter as @jennifersspot, and you can “Like” her Fan Page on Facebook as well!

EDDY FAULKNER, Singer - Interview

This week, we have a brief chat with an up-and-coming young singer.

Eddy Faulkner

Eddy Faulkner

Singer-songwriter Eddy Faulkner has loved music for as long as he can remember. Part of the short-lived northern Virginia band The Remedy in 2009, Eddy struck out on his own in 2010, posting solo music videos of his original music and his covers of popular artists on YouTube, Facebook and other social media. About the covers, Eddy says: “My favorite part about covering songs is making them my own. I think that is one of the marks of a true artist; when he or she can change a song around and have people still like it.” He’s slowly building an international fan-base through his videos, and is releasing an EP, THE ROAD, online this coming weekend. Although at 19 he is slightly older than other teen acts making a name for themselves through YouTube, it’s entirely possible Eddy will be following in the footsteps of Kropp Circle, Burnham, Matt Johnson, Jordan Jansen, Anthony Garguila, Cody Simpson and Justin Beiber before 2011 is over.

ANTHONY: Hi Eddy. Thanks for sitting down to ramble on with us for a little while.

EDDY: Hey!

A: So: you’re a new young musician on the scene. You’ve got over 1,000 “Likes” on your Facebook page. And you’ve got an EP coming out this weekend. How did this roller-coaster ride start for you?

E: Yeah I’ve been doing music my whole life but rock music and writing songs came into play in late 2008. It all started actually after playing the video game “Rock Band” in February of 2008. The first time I played that game on the “drumset” I was like woah…this is what I would love to do. So that fall I got my first drumset and ever since then I’ve been playing it. After playing drums though for awhile it made lyrics start to pour out of me, out of like nowhere. So then I got a keyboard and a few months later a guitar in the summer of 2009. I taught myself all of these instruments by the way, so basically it was instrument/songwriting boot-camp 1-2 years for me. Singing eventually came into play and I never had lessons or anything, I just thought since I wrote songs all the time I might as well sing some of them. So after awhile I started to mold a voice for my songs and I discovered my true voice about 1-2 years later in 2011. I started a band in late 2009 as well which allowed me to play on stage (which was nerve-wrecking the first time), but after awhile it was a lot of fun and I knew that this was my dream. To play in front of people and to play and write songs that connect people to their experiences and mine. I also started this solo project last summer in 2010 and I’ve only been doing it for 11 months. I learned though that to get your name out there successfully use all the social media tools at your disposal. At the start I just used Facebook. But I got a YouTube, MySpace, PureVolume, Twitter, and many more social outlets ever since which have massively increased my fan-base.

A: You’ve covered Maroon 5 acoustically. There are portions of the songs on the EP that are reminiscent of artists as diverse as Plain White T’s, John Mayer, and even the great Lou Reed. Who are your song-writing and vocal influences?

E: My influences range from many classic artists such as BB King, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix to artists of today like John Mayer, Nick Jonas, and Jack Johnson. I’m basically influenced by all music out there that I listen too. When writing songs it really just comes out of me the sound/words as well I don’t look at a song and say…I want to you know write one exactly like it. It’s the same with vocals as well, I really don’t have any influences for it. One day in 2008 I just started singing and took it from there!

A: Tell me a little about your song-writing process. What comes first, lyrics or melody? Or do they develop at the same time?

E: For writing songs it changes up all the time. Sometimes a word hits me and from that one word I can write a whole song. Or I play a certain chord on the guitar or I hear a song by another artist and it inspires something. Really it depends and I think a lot of artists out there can agree with me on that statement. It’s good to change it up anyways because you don’t want to get stuck in one process cause you can get a writer block more easily that way.

A: “Shine Your Light” takes on the topic of being yourself and not letting bullies get the best of you. It’s a very important topic that a lot of young singer-songwriters are addressing (I’m thinking specifically of Greyson Chance’s “Waiting Outside The Lines,” Anthony Garguila’s “Finally Done,” and Jordan Jansen’s “Break Free It’ll Be Okay”). Did you bring any personal experience with bullying to the song?

E: Yeah actually I used to get bullied when I was younger. Never physically but more with words. I’ve learned that words can hurt more in some cases, than actually being physically bullied. I also see you know especially in today’s society people you know getting bullied for very silly small things based on their physical appearance or values. I say today’s society because the mindset of many people today has changed drastically since like 10-15 years ago. You see all these TV shows and videos online of people that you have to look like or act like. That’s what this song is about as well. Just being yourself and being all YOU can be. Not what someone else wants YOU to be. I also believe that since God gives us all one life, why waste it doing what everyone else wants of us or does, or being scared of what your heart tells you to do or say. Just be who you are and you’ll go far!

A: Tell me a little about the upcoming EP launch and what audience you hope to reach through it.

E: With my EP THE ROAD I hope to reach everyone out there who loves music in general. In this EP I have five songs that all send a distinct message/that are easily relatable. I think everyone out there will enjoy at least one song on this record as well since sound-wise it’s very diverse so it’s a more universal sound which is exactly what I’m going for. It is basically a mix of funk/blues/rock/pop/acoustic music. Yes…all in one EP I know it’s crazy!

A: Okay, now on to my usual last question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to recommend it to someone who has never read it?

E: (Haha) nice last question. My favorite book is probably To Kill A Mockingbird because that’s the last book I remember reading. Yes I don’t read that much I’m sorry ladies…most of my time is devoted to music, friends, family, and etc. But I do spare some time to reading when I have nothing to do or I am bored. It’s a good way to make time go by fast AND exercise that brain!

A: Thanks again for taking the time to join us, Eddy! Best of luck with the EP!

You can find Eddy Faulkner, and his music on TwitterFacebook, and YouTube. You can also join the Facebook release party for his EP this Wednesday.