1. Hello Bear, can you tell us all a little about yourself before you became a country musician? Hi! I grew up in Solvang, CA and I’ve always been musical. I took piano lessons as a kid and I performed in all the talent shows. I was also very interested in football so I played for about 10 years. I graduated high school and proceeded to attend UCLA for 4 years. I was a walk-on linebacker for the bruins and kept up with songwriting/music classes on the side. I joined songwriting classes at UCLA and I knew I wanted to move to Nashville to better my writing. I graduated last year in 2019 and moved to Nashville in January 2020 right before COVID. I’m been writing a lot and working on new music – church & cash is my new single and I’m really proud of it!
2. What made you want a career in music? I’ve always been passionate about music in all capacities. I keep up with charts and new music – I even like the artwork associated with songs. I get hired to cover songs at bars, weddings and private parties. I have a interest in a wide variety of musical genres including country, rock, to even hip-hop/rap. Music as a whole is a a great unifier through social and political division. I have always loved storytelling and country music is the genre that embodies that action. We have a fundraiser in my hometown called Nashville Nights where #1 Hit Nashville writers play a round in the local amphitheater. This whole show is very personal and intimate because the stories behind the song are told. It’s an amazing act of artistry to move people through stories and lyrics and because of this I wanted to move to Nashville. My dream is to play a whole set of originals to an audience that sings back every word. I just know I organically surround myself with music so I had to follow music in any capacity as a career path.
3. Who are some of your music idols? Ed Sheeran, John Mayer, Eric Church, Luke Combs, Chris Stapleton & Tom Petty
4. What is the background story behind your latest single “Church & Cash?” I met Stephen Ray back in August 2020 and I had this idea in my phone for a year with the hook “a whole lotta church and a little bit of cash.” I knew I wanted to play on the double meaning by telling a story but also utilizing Eric Church and Johnny Cash song titles in the process. Stephen helped me make the song what it is and I’m very grateful for our relationship. It’s a breakup song and the only things that will get someone through the severe drinking at bars is “a whole lotta church and a little bit of cash,” as well as subtly mentioning music as a key healer in heartache (Eric Church/Johnny Cash).
5. What is your recording process like when creating and making new music? I worked with Shayne Hill to help produce this track. He hired his team of amazing musicians and they really gave this song life. The whole process at Omni Studios was amazing because it provided a little insight to how Nashville recording studios are operated. When writing new music, I usually record a crappy GarageBand demo and make sure the lyrics are really clear for revisiting.
6. How would you describe your music in 3 to 5 words? Country Storytelling Rock
7. What are a few of your favorite venues to play at? Bluebird Cafe, Tootsies, Live Oak, Kid Rock’s Rooftop
8. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I saw Tom Petty’s last concert at the Hollywood Bowl in 2017. He played American Girl with his band and got a standing ovation. He died 7 days later. He is a huge influence on my music. One of the best of all time.
I’m a huge Office fan – my college roommate and I can quote the whole series front to back. We competed in LA on Trivia nights about the show and we take it very seriously. I can play the theme song on the piano.
9. What is one of your favorite quotes? “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” – John Wooden