My first gig was playing Linus in my grade five Charlie Brown Christmas play. Despite the vacuum of silence from the theatrical critics following my triumphant debut in our school gymnasium, I continued pursue a life on the stage and was eventually seduced by the calling of music.

I was born in Holland and raised in Canada. My most impressionable childhood memories come from the small farm I grew up on just outside a tiny town called Bamberg. The stillness and openness of that place left a lasting impression on me and I filled it with music. We had an upright piano on the lower level of the house in a room which my family rarely used. I would close the doors and play for hours. I was not much for practicing but instead spent hours improvising. My favorite thing to do was to grab a rhythmic figure or motif from a classical piece and improvise my own music to it. I was self taught, music came to me through improvising and simply playing. When I finally had lessons I was not a model piano student. In a period of 10 years I went through nine teachers.

I knew from early on that I would make my life in music. Being far removed and isolated from cultural influences allowed my own musical voice to evolve.

My first professional gig was at the Queen’s Hotel in Wellesley Ontario. I don’t think I was old enough to drive but anyone who lived on a farm learned to drive as soon as their legs could reach the clutch of a tractor. That first gig was a riot. I mastered the ability to play whatever song anyone sang to me. I built my repertoire as I went.

Upon graduating from highschool I went from rural Ontario to downtown Montreal where I completed a Music degree at McGill. I also studied sound recording and electrical engineering. While a degree looks good on paper it is really the experience of doing it that counts. It is very true what they say. You are only as good as your last gig. Each time I start a new project it sometimes feels as I am doing it for the first time. But soon the story talks to me and the music begins to unfold.

As a musician I have done every conceivable type of gig: cruise ships, lounges, hotels, jazz festivals and many couples have exchanged vows to my music. These experiences have taken me around the globe and allowed me to meet other great artists. While we all may speak different languages and live by different customs, what amazes me is how music transcends our differences. It’s this universal dialogue that keeps me in the game, because when it comes right down to it whether it’s a wedding, a performance, a documentary or a tV show, we are all just looking for something to connect us together.