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Interview with Vanishing Shores
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Most of my earliest memories revolve around music and the playing of music in the house. I was always getting into my dad’s vinyl collection and listening to The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, and The Band. Music has been a constant companion in every moment of my life. It has fostered in me a relentless pursuit of beauty and the creation of beauty in song and art. I can’t imagine any path or scenario in my life where it would not be focused on music and the fostering of that creative impulse to seek to add beauty into the world through song.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I am always a curious learner. I crave knowledge and the ability to see things from different perspectives. I love to learn about how people think and how their journey has shaped their understanding of the world around them. I am also a hopeless romantic and believe that love can truly change the world, one heart at a time. I think that this restless need to learn and the curiosity that comes with that enables me to remain creative, regardless of circumstance. I try to keep my heart and my mind open to endless possibilities. If one path isn’t bearing creative ‘fruit’, I am open to trying another path until it does. I think that this is the greatest gift any artist can possess, relentless curiosity and continual openness to learn and grow.
How long have you been making music?
I have been writing songs for over 20 years. My current band, Vanishing Shores, started in 2018 a way to release music in a community format instead of having a static and fixed lineup.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I currently reside in the Cleveland (Ohio) area. I think the biggest influence that my location plays on my music is perseverance. This part of the country has definitely had its ups and downs, both economically and socially. However, there is also a palpable sense of hope and perseverance in the midst of it all. Time and time again people have refused to give up and have worked for a better future, in spite of the odds. I think that sense of perseverance has influenced my music and has provided me with the encouragement to keep going and refuse to let the voices of defeatism ever darken my door.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
My most memorable shows are always those where you feel a genuine connection with the audience. This has happened in small rooms and larger venues. The connection is what matters to me most of all, not the number of people in attendance or any other external factor. I am focused on the interior connection with a listener and the moment when they journey becomes joined with one of our songs. That moment is what makes every part of the creative process worthwhile. When the listener chooses to let it become a part of their life, music becomes transcendent.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
My favorite venue to play is a place in Cleveland, Ohio called the Beachland Ballroom. There is always something special about being able to perform there and be a part of the ongoing history of that venue. They have always been a great support to local artists and have fostered the local scene in very positive ways. No matter where my music takes me, I hope to always have the opportunity to play at the Beachland Ballroom and join them in their commitment to live music.
To be honest, there are hundreds of places I would like to play all over the world. Any venue and room that supports artists and the audience and fosters a connection beyond simply commerce, that is where I want to be.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
There are so many incredible artists to choose from, but my absolute dream ticket would include either Elvis Costello or Paul McCartney. It is good to have impossible dreams, right?
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
I think the most important advice is to simply not give up and to take the time to find your ‘own voice’. There is so much pressure to be ‘like’ someone else or to be part of some scene, but the key to a satisfying and life-giving career in music is to simply be yourself and allow yourself the freedom to truly find out what that means within your own life and musical journey. It isn’t about checking this or that box. It is about feeding your soul with the life-giving power of music. The impossible becomes possible when you can truly be who you are and pursue joy without limitations.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
The song that means the most to me is one that I wrote called, ‘First Light’. This song deals with the grief over the death of my father-in-law, but it also speaks to the unbreakable reality of love. Despite all of the attempts to diminish the power of love in our current hate-fueled moment in history, it cannot be defeated. It never ends. It will continue to correct and undo all of the wrongs, all of the injustices in our world. The key lines in the song say, ‘No love is ever gone. No race is ever run. First light will always come.’ That is the reality that I want to live in each and every day.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
One of the songs that we play the most is a song called, ‘Fix Me’. It has received a lot of good regional radio and internet radio support. Due to the fact that it has had more exposure beyond the streaming services, it is often one that is most recognized at our performances. However, you can’t go through a show without someone requesting ‘Freebird’, right?
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
I don’t write narrative or story songs, so my songs always start with a ‘feeling’. That initial ‘feeling’ often leads to a few lyrical fragments that will start the songwriting process for me. I normally start with those lyrical fragments and then follow it with a basic melody. As I’ve grown older, I take more time sitting with the song instead of being impatient to finish it quickly. I do try to follow the inspiration wherever it may lead and not over edit the initial emotion of a song, but I think it is important to live with a song for a time so that it isn’t a stranger. I want each and every song to be authentic to me above all else. I don’t want to sing things that aren’t real to me.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
I don’t write with an agenda or try to manipulate the listener in any way, but if I can provide one message it would certainly be that love wins. I often say that the best protest song of all is a love song, because love is truly the only way to change someone’s heart and mind. Now this isn’t some kind of utopian view or some kind of ‘Imagine’ like banality, but if we have to focus on something, shouldn’t it be the power of unconditional love? That doesn’t mean its easy or fake, but it does mean that if anything is worth promoting, shouldn’t it be love? The more we lose the lie that love is a weakness, the more freedom we have to connect with other people and truly form meaningful relationships that will enrich, inspire, and enliven our lives.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Currently we are in the process of completing our next album titled, ‘Possible Light’. We are very excited about getting that finished and out into the world. After we finalize its release we are going to turn our attention once again to performing and touring in support of the album. We feel like we have been in exile for far to long and our looking forward to being able to connect more purposefully with each listener in the coming months and year. Our current single, ‘I Wouldn’t Change a Thing’ is available now on all platforms.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
The best way to connect with us is through our Facebook and Twitter pages as well as our website. We appreciate all of the kind words and connection with each listener.