nelson mandela and my real-life inspirations

one of my favorite quotes is from nelson mandela.  it’s my favorite not because i get it, and i live this way.  but because i don’t.  i find it to be so true, so convicting, and so challenging.  i WANT to be this.

We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and famous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in all of us. And when we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

there are some people in my life, some close and others distant, which have given me permission to do what i like doing.  these are the people, whether i live close to them or not, who i admire and study.  i thought i’d give an exhaustive list.  i knoooooow this might undermine my super-genius-i-think-up-everything-on-my-own-because-i’m-just-THAT-AWESOME -ness, and…. well good!  but really, a healthy web of inspirations and supporters is integral to ANY creative out there.

  • jess ray – raleigh – master of song structure and lyric, admirable woman in the business, scriptural song without musical compromise.  also one of my dearest friends.  the fact that i knew her when she had a middle-part and braces does not affect my musical admiration.
  • campbell – charlotte – soaring melodies, dramaticism, and super satisfying live performance.  also hilarious and debonair band members.
  • brooke waggoner – nashville – champion in the songwriting arena. super enviable lyrics and melodies!  also, general pretty things all over.  i don’t know her but she is absolutely notable in my songwriting inspiration!
  • alexis worthington – charlotte – proficiency in songwriting, fearless gigmeister.  even though she’s in boone at the moment, it has not stopped her writing and playing out.
  • shelly moore – charlotte/raleigh – creativity in multiple arenas, always pushing the lines of what she can do, poetic lyricism (noteworthy blog)
  • andrew palamara – nashville – beautiful songwriter, very careful and meticulous lyrics, constant supporter of local musicians (noteworthy blog)
  • kelsey kopecky – nashville – truly lets her own light shine, as mandela describes. unique songwriting, incorporates her music into her life and vice versa, homemade (noteworthy song, “making people wait”)  ALSO she’s a-dor-able!!
  • brooke fraser – newzealand – okaaaay, i don’t know her either.  but i love the way she carries herself in her music.  she is approachable and bold, confident and soft.  i love the way she did her new album, the process, i mean.  going away to the nc mountains, writing in solitude, conceptual art.  i love it.  most of all, she’s not afraid to admit her inspirations, hence, this post. (NOTEWORTHY BLOG!!!)  also i love her.

there it is folks.  more info to follow on EP progress (and nether-progress, and progress again, and it all being okay)




pictures and stuff!


the ray siblings, daniel faucette, and i doing a crosby, stills, and nash version of “my country” at wake forest coffee co.

john ray on bass, daniel faucette on drums, amaree davis on violin = my awesome team

also my makeshift tablekeyboardstand!!

just a few lingering snapshots of the triangle christian music festival in june (thanks nancy!)

don’t worry i play with both hands, too

dependent, risk

you know how in the Bible, the Lord tells Moses to speak to Pharaoh on behalf of his people and Moses says, “Lord, I’m not eloquent and they won’t listen.  I’m slow of speech and tongue,”?  And the Lord says, (and this is good stuff):

“Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I, the LORD? Now therefore go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak.”


i know this is kind of a long shot, but sometimes in my heart i really feel that way.  i write songs, and i love writing songs, and i love singing them.  i know the Lord gave this to me. but sometimes i feel like i can’t control my heart speeding up and my voice getting quake-y when I share by myself.  i pray against pride and fear of man and performance, but still my natural desire is to keep to myself.  i do want to share and i feel like the Lord is urging me to share.  faith is risk, and when we’re out there the Lord will teach us what to do.  and then give us joy.


it just might take me a few times to get the hang of this!


OCTOBER 1st    7-9

The FIRST Listener’s Lounge at Chick-fil-A of Falls of Neuse

free show AND get a free coffee with any purchase!!


in reagan’s words, the “board of directors,” etc.

a few weeks ago, my dear friend reagan wrote a compelling post on her “board of directors.”  these are the people in her life that have a direct say into her life, into who she is, and who she becomes.  they are the people, she eloquently describes, from whom you take bits and pieces of and weave into your identity.  i haven’t shaken the thought of that since.

my friend andrew recently sent me this article, “How to Make a Living Playing Music” by Danny Barnes.  solid, no nonsense direction and advice on just what he says he’s going to talk to you about.  he, like reagan, emphasizes the importance of a “board of directors” in life, regardless of music, but especially with music.  he talks about record deals, part-time jobs, and performance mentalities.  if you are an artist, i deem this a MUST READ.  the following is one of my favorite nuggets of wisdom:

“keep your art the main focus. it isn’t about you it’s about your art. do what’s good for your art and don’t draw attention to yourself as much as the art. if your main focus is on the art, waiting tables is no big deal because you are doing it to support your art. if your main focus is you, you are not going to like waiting tables. you will feel like you are way too good for that.”

read the article here, it’s not a waste of time.  it’s actually most everything you wish people would tell you.

i wonder…

how many musicians have impressive resumés unrelated to music?  i mean, think about it.  we would never know, if music is all we knew of them.

just curious, as i’ve been facing the “real job” vs. “small jobs/starving artist” dilemma while creating my grown-up resumé.

and then i remember someone told me recently that sam beam of iron and wine was a professor of film before recording iron and wine’s music.  ezra koenig, lead vocalist of vampire weekend, taught 8th grade english.

and i wonder, when they were making their resumé to become a whatever-unrelated-to-music, if they asked themselves if they really at the heart of it all wanted to be a musician instead?  or can you do them both, at the same time or at different times during your life?


So we got the details:

Saturday September 11th


Wake Forest Coffee Company

Come see me, Daniel Faucette, Amaree Davis, and John Ray play a stripped down set of originals and some fun covers.  Enjoy a great cup of coffee (or two) from Wake Forest Coffee Company, bring your friends, take a seat outside under the stars, and we’ll play some music for ya.