I began to learn piano at five years old. It was absolutely no fun, I won’t lie. I was a child with ADHD so I couldn’t sit still for more than five minutes and thought the piano was lame. Looking back now, I am so grateful my dad encouraged me to keep going because it set me off on this path I’m on now. Obviously once I got older I didn’t think so badly of it but this isn’t about me learning piano. That would be a very boring story where I just tell you how many teachers I went through and how I practiced and that would be it. This is about growing up in the business.
I started this journey at twelve when I wanted to learn guitar. I had a really bad guitar that used to be my older sisters. It was purple and had a butterfly sticker on it, not really my style at the time but I just cared about learning. I was lucky enough to start lessons with Chris Holly who wasted no time teaching me the basics. After a month or two of lessons I began to write my own songs, and they were complete crap. I’m not going to paint some pretty picture of me automatically writing hit after hit, because I was twelve and angsty and still couldn’t figure out the proper use of “they’re” in my cool tween poems. Eventually I got the hang of it, although still not masterpieces, they were enough to make my teacher proud. He got me my first show playing a couple songs with him at Awendaw Green. It was exhilarating for little me and I wanted more.
Growing up, you look forward to the weekend because that means you get to sleep in and do all your favorite hobbies. Maybe you would watch cartoons, go somewhere with your friends, play video games. I still did those things, but around gigs. Saturday nights were playing local gigs at anywhere they would let me, and Sunday’s were practicing and then a movie. I enjoyed it though, don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t be here writing this if I hated my childhood or something. It made me come out of my shell and pushed me to be greater. I learned who I was on stage and off. Was it sometimes frustrating as a child when you couldn’t go to someone’s house because you had to get on this open mic? Yeah, of course, but the minute I was on stage I remembered why I was there in the first place. To grow and express myself. It was just as fun to stay up late and sing to a crowd as it was to go ice skating.
I think what sometimes people don’t understand is that it was never some after school activity for me, it was my passion and my dream (cheesy I know). I was willing to miss out on some things so I could practice and perform. When I became homeschooled, it was just another step to make sure I could have the control that I wanted over my career. It made me grow up in a way, having to balance a career and school at a young age. Playing venues, selling merch, talking to people, putting on a show while on stage, and still having to do homework when I got home. I would do it all again. Some might look at it in a bad light; think I missed out on some things, but I don’t think that. I think I was beyond lucky to have such supportive parents who allowed me to explore and begin this career so young. I got to go on tour so young and record an album filled with MY music. I got to make my own merch that people actually want to buy and show off. I don’t think I missed out on a childhood, I think I had a very special journey that is only going to get better.