1. Hello AJ, can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you became a country musician?
For sure! I grew up in Ohio primarily just playing whatever sport was in season. I grew up just jamming whatever my dad had rocking in the car (Bee Gees, Neil Diamond, Brice Springsteen, etc.). I got my first guitar in middle school but I never really learned how to play it until I got to college.
2. Since 2015, you have been living in Nashville and played over 300+ live shows, what has been your top three favorite venues or shows to play at?
The coolest place we’ve played so far was the Hampton Beach Sea Shell Stage this past summer. It’s just this really cool little out door amphitheater backed up right on the beach in New Hampshire. I love playing at Belcourt Taps and Dawghouse in Nashville acoustically. The Listening Room in downtown Nashville is also super dope.
3. What is your process when writing a new song?
Honestly it depends on the day, who’s in the room. There’s no real set way to write a song and everyone is different. If you have 3 different people in the same writing room, it’s gonna look a little different every day. For me, I like to have a general idea of a chorus or hook before even throwing it out in a write. I write by myself a decent amount and then once I get to a point where I realize what that song is/could be, I sorta save it until I write it with someone I think can serve the song well.
4. What is the background story behind your latest song “Whiskey Working?”
So we wrote that in March or so. It was one of those songs where I had the “that’s the whiskey working” hook sort of looped and we (Davis Branch and Sean Stemaly) wrote to that. I went through a really hard breakup over the summer and the song really started to resonate with me and I felt like I was channelling it pretty well so I just recorded it as soon as I could!
5. Is there anything new coming up with your music in 2019?
A LOT OF NEW MUSIC. I’ve been working with my producer (Aaron Patrick) a lot and we’ll just record a whole song in a day, sometimes write it and record it in the same day. We’ve probably got about 15 that we’ve done in the past few months and we’re gonna start putting some out as singles once we hit spring. There’s also a couple surprises before then too…
6. Who are some of your musical icons?
This is gonna be a little all over the place, but artists like Dierks Bentley, John Mayer, The 1975 and so many more. Dierks is just such a humble, relatable singer man. I got into songwriting mostly through John Mayer. That was the gateway drug. The 1975 just refuse to be put in a box. Their creativity is so inspiring to me.
7. What is one of your favorite quotes?
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” I think people have such a bad perception of failure. You learn so much through what didn’t work. Trial and error has been great for me. Especially with touring and music.
8. Is there anything else you would like to share?
Come out to a show! I love to meet people in person more than anything. Instagram and all that social media stuff is cool but there’s nothing like the real thing.