Today is the day! My first studio release, Constable, premieres tonight at 8PM Eastern time. Here it is:
On this cherished day in late September, I got on my bike and hit the road with nothing but my camera, a couple of sandwiches, and a bottle of water. Since moving to Amsterdam a few weeks prior, I couldn’t wait to escape the city to see the beautiful Dutch countryside.
Let me back up a bit, my life as a full-time student (at the Manhattan School of Music) and performer in New York City had been my dream since the 8th grade. I was studying with my heroes, becoming peers with some of the most talented young musicians in the world, and playing my horn for hours and hours a day. Things weren’t perfect though. I suffered from major feelings of inadequacy as my “big fish in a small pond” ego deflated, slept around 4-5 hours a night, and thought about nothing but jazz music and my career 24 hours a day for the better part of 2 years. I had become a singularly focused machine, numb to so many aspects of human experience that didn’t pertain to my musical abilities.
My friend, Christian Mehler, hilariously documented my zombie state on Facebook about a year ago, totally without my knowledge:
At school, a single Humanities class was the only non-musical part of my week. On a particularly anxious and sleep-deprived week, I sat in this class with my heart pumped up on caffeine and my head doing its usual monkey antics. While discussing the power of the natural world to heal people and change perspectives, my professor put up John Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows on the big screen. When I saw this gorgeous, frozen-in-time scene, my body almost uncontrollably let out a huge sigh of relief. He continued on to show us Wivenhoe Park and Hampstead Heath, Branch Hill Pond as well as the work of other naturalist painters, particularly J.M.W. Turner (who might even be my favorite of the two…).
Shifting from the flashing screens of Times Square to the rainbows, puffy clouds, and glistening waters of these paintings totally knocked me out. I instantly felt more calm, clear-headed, and present. I had never had a painting affect me in this way and couldn’t stop imagining those puffy clouds at random points throughout my day. Each time I did, I felt a small part of myself returning. This started a whole period of self-discovery that eventually lead to me moving to the Netherlands and biking to Zuid Kennermerland National Park with nothing but my camera, a couple of sandwiches, and a bottle of water. I couldn’t wait to escape the city to see the beautiful Dutch countryside.
Constable aims to capture Mother Nature’s spirit in sound and tap into the same power that John Constable used to impact me. From utter serenity to unthinkable enormity, Mother Nature can bring about inner peace, tragedy, insignificance, understanding, or all of the above. As I biked an 80 kilometer circle from Amsterdam through Zuid Kennermerland National Park and back, I saw the widest fields of green, a sunset to die for, and bone-chilling rainstorms all in a single day. I remember being totally soaked, drained of all my energy, and shivering only to turn a corner and see the most beautiful bird I’d ever seen angelically floating in a stream. That day, exhaustion and loneliness stood right beside complete euphoria, and I hope this project can bring you even half of the restoration and joy it brought me while making it.
Everything you see in this gallery were taken on a single day, on my bike ride. All except for 2 of the shots in the final video were all taken on the same day as well.