Given your experience, do you think that the life of a struggling artist is harder than you might have thought?
Honestly, no. It's exciting and manages to always stay afloat.
In your path to where you are now music-wise, did you ever feel lost or discouraged?
I went through bouts of feeling a little overwhelmed. I still feel that way sometimes but am learning how to fuel that into other things.
How did you overcome it?
There's a peace and quiet confidence in doing your own thing. I had to learn not to look at others or else insecurity and inferiority sets in and completely tampers with what you want to accomplish. There's a difference in appreciating other's work and seeing if you measure up to other's work. As long as I maintain integrity with what I write, I can look back at each day with a sense of peace. There's gotta be peace behind it or else it will never work.
Illegal music downloads: obstacle or powerful tool?
There's really no point in answering this question. People will do what they do regardless of my view on this.
In your songs you are able to create a 'small magical world' around you. Is that 'magical world' some place you would like to live in or is it a part of you that you want to let out?
It's very much apart of me. I don't feel that I'm creating a world, but just letting others into the world that already exists for me.
Besides the 'cocoa', what other apparently simple things do you miss back home?
Ha, well I figured out I can go to any Kroger and get my cocoa fix no matter where I am. so, that being said, my home is where I am now and I love it.
You started playing piano very young, do you think you had this life planned for a long time?
I always knew I would do music: whether that meant being a piano teacher or a kid's choir director, or professor, or professional "jingle writer" or whatever... my current situation is a combination of what I always reached for and more than I ever hoped for.
Do you have any other interests that if it weren't for your music career you might have followed?
Hmmm, well I wanted to be a contortionist when I was a kid. It seemed glamorous and crazy and fascinating. Nothing like wearing skin-tight sparkly leotards and moving my body in bizarre shapes for paying spectators. But I'm the farthest thing from flexible. So that dream quickly disintegrated!
Is there any writer you feel has made an impact on your life?
Larry McMurtry. And Blossom Dearie's voice has gotten me through alot!
A country you would like to visit?
Fiji. It's in the middle of nowhere!
Choose a colour.
Turquoise. For life!
A country you would like to live in.
South America minus the hurricanes and drug lords
No. I have enough responsibility as it is...
Do you believe in magic?
Where was the last place you found it?
At a Superbowl party one year ago.
Where would like to see yourself in five years?
Absolutely swamped in fascinating projects with a masters/ph.d in mathematics
Ask yourself a question.
What is my first name?
You got me there.
Ask me a question.
What did you wanna be as a grown-up when you were a kid? Did you get what you wanted?
I wanted to be an astronaut. Music makes me go places, fly away and see things from a higher perspective. So yes you can say I got it.
(February 9th, 2009)
I've had this interview for quite some time but could only find the time to post it now. I apologise for that and at the same time thank Brooke Waggoner for her availability and kindness all the way.