I have a habit of doing a personal year-in-review each year, and this year I’ve decided to add in a career one. Later I will have some stats and other observations to share, but this first post is simply to acknowledge everyone who has helped me this past year.
I do want to say there is obviously no way I could make this list exhaustive, so please don’t be upset if I forgot you! I really am grateful for every single person who bought my merch or music, put one of my stickers up somewhere, came to see me, watched my videos, streamed my music on Spotify, or even just liked or commented on one of my posts about my music. It all matters.
On the other hand, some of you in this list might feel like you only played a very small role, but they add up – without all those small acts of support I’d barely have anything, so the little things matter a lot more than you might think.
In no particular order:
- My family members who have repeatedly come to see me, especially my mom, who attended at least 20 performances, but my dad, grandmother (90 years old!), and other family members attended many as well.
- My sister, Nicole, for also helping with photos and regularly being my cheerleader on Facebook.
- Matthew Corrales for helping with design and video multiple times throughout the year.
- Lucas Swank who, according to his Spotify Wrapped, listened to my songs for 33 hours in 2019 after discovering me on the playlist for Lost Evenings. I myself only spent 22 hours listening to Frank Turner on Spotify, so this was quite impressive to me! (If I featured in your Spotify Wrapped, I would love to see it, although I doubt you can beat Lucas!)
- Jordan Grant, a lovely songwriter from the UK, for always being supportive of me and other people through Facebook posts (and surely would be supportive in person if we didn’t live in stupid different parts of the world).
- Kate Sharp and Chris Luxford for probably being my biggest, mostly long-distance supporters, sharing/recommending my music in online comments and similar stuff. I don’t want to take away from anyone else, but they really make me feel appreciated!
- Chris Campbell, my friend from Frank Turner’s Campfire Punkrock, who found me inspiring enough to be a positive example for his niece who recently started learning guitar, and so he gifted her some of my music and merch. I hope she likes it and that maybe someday we’ll meet or even perform together!
- Steve Merkel (another camp friend) who I think has gone out of his way to see me more than anyone else has (and once was lucky enough to run into me while I was busking during his commute, but I don’t count that one).
- Everyone who came to see me at Lost Evenings (especially my camp friends!) and made it the best performance ever, packed out and complete with an unprompted singalong.
- My Flogging Molly Cruise friends: Pauline and Derek for letting me host a gig in their balcony cabin on the Salty Dog Cruise (with Pauline going out of her way to promote it with DIY napkin flyers), and everyone who listened to me – Heather, Darlene, my jam buddy Kevin (even though we only jammed for like one song this year, but there’s always next year!), the self-dubbed “Fucking Germans” who I’m pretty sure adopted me as an honorary German, and all the other new friends I made.
- George Gadd for getting me to meet him at an open mic while he was visiting Brooklyn all the way from Nottingham, England. I had been wanting to go to this open mic for years, and this was what it took for me to finally get my lazy ass out of bed to make the trek from NJ on a Sunday afternoon.
- Everyone who covered me in blogs, radio and playlists, including:
- Lazlo from BlowUpRadio.com who’s the absolute best, working extremely hard to curate the best NJ and independent music both online and in person, and helping lots of great causes along the way — I played twice in his studio, twice at his curated local shows, featured in two compilations and got a bunch of airplay!
- Dan Thompson from Expatriate Radio (Radio Free Pensacola) who is also a cruise buddy
- Chris T-T (or, the man formerly known as the artist Chris T-T?) for including me on his awesome, highly recommended New Folk Friday playlist in July
- Jim Testa from Jersey Beat
- Bob Makin of Makin Waves
- Readifolk and Acoustic Routes online radio shows in the UK.
- Everyone who booked me any number of times, including:
- Jade and Rhonda at my favorite cozy hometown(ish) café venue, The Fine Grind
- Janet and the volunteers at the Café Artiste showcase, which I would adopt as my hometown venue if it wasn’t so far away
- Dave Vargo with Musicians on a Mission (which also raises money for good causes)
- Daniella Galati, who steps outside of her normal role at NJ Transit to manage “Music in Motion,” which allows musicians to perform at train stations (the tips from this have actually provided a large percentage of my income over the past six months, believe it or not)
- Rick Barth and his Acoustic Singer-Songwriter Series
- Greg Pason with Montclair Make Music Day
- the Clash Bar, which is sadly now closed (though, I’ve heard, possibly not permanently!)
- Neil Sabatino of Mint 400 Records for adding me to a songwriter showcase and offering/helping me get some honest and balanced feedback (which is surprisingly hard to come by)
- the good people of Musikfest (which I hope to play again!)
- Craig at Krogh’s for an awesome acoustic night that I definitely hope to do again sometime soon
- And last (in an effort to spare the less devoted readers) but certainly not least… my musical raison d’etre, Frank Turner! From the start he has been so important for my music, whether through inspiration, direct support/encouragement, or exposure to his very open-minded and supportive fan base. When I got to play the Nick Alexander (emerging artist) stage at his Lost Evenings festival in May, it felt like a bucket list achievement for me. He’s not in a position to say yes to every ambitious opportunity I ask him for, but I’m grateful just to have him in my life to answer questions or check out my new releases even though he’s so busy. He never makes me feel bad or stupid for asking — or for gushing, which despite my genuine best efforts I can’t seem to stop doing. He always makes me feel like greatness is possible with his example and his positive, encouraging, collaborative energy in everything he does.
Well, I feel amazing now! I’ve done a lot in the past year, and I’m so lucky to have so many people in my life who believe in me and go out of their way to support me. It’s especially gratifying because the whole reason I want to succeed at music is to connect with others through it. I want my songs to touch people, inspire them, comfort them, and otherwise improve their lives. I want to be surrounded by other songwriters who inspire me and they feel the same way and we can collaborate and perform together.
Thank you to everyone who helped make it an amazing year for me, and I hope that together we can achieve even greater things and have an even better time this year!