Hey gang, Eric Whitacre here.

Proof: http://ericwhitacre.com/blog/iama-this-friday-the-11th

I’ll be back on at 4pm EST to answer your questions, so ask me anything. Woo hoo!

Edit: Holy crap - just checked in and there are a ton of questions already. I'll start early.

Edit 2: WOW, I am totally overwhelmed by all of your compliments. I can't tell you how much this all means to me, because I fangirl over reddit like the rainbow-barfing kitty cat that I am. Seeing my name on the frontpage will seriously be one of the highlights of my career.

I'm going to check out for a while, but i'll come back later tonight or tomorrow and try to answer as many questions as possible. THANK YOU all.

Comments: 1884 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

mary09design573 karma

I can't think of any legit question to ask right now, but I just want you to know that your music has been a big part of my life. From playing your pieces in band, to hearing them live. Your music is so beautiful and I just want to thank you for it. fangirling :) And sleep is my all time favorite song.

ericwhitacre288 karma


AvikaWhitacre518 karma

Hello , My name is Avika .I am a female, i will like to establish a long lasting relationship on you.

ericwhitacre328 karma

Love it.

njg5292 karma

Sleep and Water Night. Thank you for making dissonance beautiful to me.

ericwhitacre200 karma

What a beautiful thing to say. Thank you.

ericwhitacre205 karma

Hey gang, not to be a total douche bag (or a Nicolas Cage), but I wanted to let the community know about about the Kickstarter campaign we are currently running. We're trying to raise $100,000 to make the next Virtual Choir video, and right now we are about 55% of the way there. (Three weeks to go).

I would be so grateful if you would consider backing the project or letting people know it's happening. http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2085483835/virtual-choir-4-bliss

ethanoost179 karma

What's your favorite key signature?

ericwhitacre293 karma

That's a tough one. Not sure I have a favorite. Each key has a different color to me, a different 'taste' (I don't have synesthesia but I do associate sound very closely with taste, and color). I am often drawn to B flat minor, and to F# major, and D flat major... oh god, I could just go on and on.

The_Commandant136 karma

This isn't a question, but I just have to say that my high school Wind Ensemble performed "Sleep" and "Lux Aurumque" last year, and they're absolutely wonderful pieces. Sleep is simply one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. Every time I played it I got chills.

It's composers like you that inspire me to write music!

Edit: Holy Christ, I just realized that you wrote Godzilla Eats Las Vegas! I played that at my very first concert with high school's audition only Wind Ensemble. As a trombonist, I loved the laughing effects we got to do. I still remember playing that piece like it was yesterday, despite it having been nearly four years ago! Thanks for all the great memories your music has inspired!

And here's an actual question. What makes you write a piece like Sleep, and then something like Godzilla Eats Las Vegas? Do you go into these pieces with a certain mindset of "I'm going to write a zany story piece", "I'm going to write a choral", etc? Or is it more organic than that?

ericwhitacre238 karma

For me, each of my pieces is just another facet of my personality. So with something like "Sleep", there is a big part of me that longs to brood and feel melancholy, then rise above it for a moment and sink back in. With a piece like "Godzilla", or "The Animal Crackers", sometimes I'm just goofy, and I find nothing funnier than poking holes in the establishment. Godzilla was partly born out of a year-end comp jury at Juilliard where the professors (Milton Babbitt, John Corigliano, etc.) told me that I "needed to work on something serious." I presented them with Godzilla the next semester...

deconnexion124 karma

First off, thank you for the brilliant music that has so perfectly encapsulated several moments of my life. My question is this: What kind of hair products do you use?

ericwhitacre350 karma

Oh my god with the hair products.

Bogart0990 karma

You've mentioned multiple times your love of 80's pop music, specifically Depeche Mode. In what way, if any, is that influencing the music you're composing today?

ericwhitacre134 karma

That's a good one. I suppose part of it is the harmonic language I sometimes gravitate toward. To my ear, Water Night could very easily be an 80's pop song if I stripped it down to its bones. Also, when setting texts I tend to 'land' hard on the direct object, much the way they do in pop music, for example:

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed, is here in your ARMS. (Depeche Mode) If you open your EYES. (Water Night).

dominantseventh83 karma

How dissapointed were you when the movie you made Seal Lullaby for got cancelled and replaced with Kung Fu Panda?

ericwhitacre243 karma

It was pretty early in the process so it didn't completely break my heart. Much worse was when I was signed up to write with Hans Zimmer on Batman and in the end it didn't happen. THAT was brutal.

merzachief83 karma

  1. Do you have a 'composing ritual', a certain place you sit or food you eat while crafting your masterpieces?

  2. If you were famous for only one of your pieces, which would you have it be and why?

  3. Do you have a favorite voice part or instrument?

  4. At what point did you know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you wanted to compose/conduct for a living?

ericwhitacre188 karma

1) No. I wish I did, but I don't. I'm always writing by the seat of my pants.

2) Hmm... probably "A Boy and a Girl". I feel that I truly got out of the way and did exactly what the poem was asking me to do.

3) So many, I adore the cello, the english horn, altos, horns. But if I were on a desert island I'd probably take a Juno 106.

4) I tried teaching choir for a semester after I graduated from Juilliard. (4-12 grade, 6 choirs). The hardest job I've ever had. At the end of it all I realized, "I am not able to do a real job. This is going to kill my soul." And so I started taking every commission I could so that I could make a living as a composer. It forced me into becoming a professional musician - best thing that ever happened to me.

deansgirl73 karma

Huge fan Eric! I have played several of your pieces in high school symphonic band including Cloudburst and October. I play the Euphonium, and was lucky enough to score all the solos in your pieces when we played them! So, my question as a Euphonium player/lover- Do you have any pieces in the works with Euphonium features? Also, how do you feel about the Euphonium compared to other brass instruments? I feel like we are like, the unsung heroes who dont get enough credit! THANKS! <3 PS- I love your facebook posts!

ericwhitacre106 karma

Nothing currently in the works, but a few weeks ago I posted a meme on FB/Twitter with a pic of a Euphonium and the caption "I AM A GOLDEN GOD", and since then I think I've received a thousand requests to write a new euphonium piece!

Hostile_lunchbox69 karma


ericwhitacre158 karma

That is ABSOLUTELY me, 100% I take great pride in trying to personally respond to as many people as I can, and I would never, ever let a media assistant write a single word for me. Great video, BTW!

chass365 karma

Could you talk about your music's relationship to traditional tonal harmony? Everyone who is familiar with your work knows about your fondness for cluster chords, but I'm wondering if you use functional harmony at all in devising your compositions or if you just go purely on writing what you like the sound of without any intentional grounding in Western tonal harmony.

ericwhitacre119 karma

I don't really think in terms of functional harmony, though god knows I had it beat into me at Juilliard. It's difficult to describe, but the way I think of music is more in terms of emotional color, and contraction/expansion.

giuseppe_peppe60 karma

How do you feel about the evolution of music composition?

10+ years ago you needed quite a bit of know how to write and compose music for an orchestra, wind ensemble, etc. However, in todays time, through the use of sample libraries and MIDI controllers, we are seeing more and more people, specifically young people, writing for entire ensembles without actually knowing anything about theory, notation, etc. Do you feel this is taking away from the art that is music composition?


ericwhitacre126 karma

I hear you - in some ways the easy access to samplers and sequencers can make for composers who don't write very well for live musicians. At the same time, sometimes that ignorance makes for astonishingly creative choices, thinhs that a 'trained' composer would simply never do. On the whole I think that anything that gets people being creative is a good thing.

musicmajor59 karma

You look like Jamie Lannister. Is there something behind this? Also I remember you did a test run for Sibelius when they released Sibelius 5. How did that go? Do you still write music by hand? Any other thoughts on electronic notation?

ericwhitacre85 karma

I still write with paper and pencil. The Sibelius experiment didn't go so well, but I didn't want to write them a bad review. It's an amazing program, just not for me.

I wish I was as much as a badass as Jamie Lannister is.

The__Afterman58 karma

Eric, what is the secret to amazing hair?

ericwhitacre128 karma

LOL... I suppose I have to answer one of these hair questions. To be totally honest, I don't get the 'hair thing.' I have it cut by someone I really like, I bleach it blonde (I have pretty dark brown hair naturally, so the carpet doesn't match the drapes, thanks for asking). Some people just freak out over the hair, and it just baffles me.

The funny, Greek-morality-play part of it is: it's starting to thin in front. So pretty soon imma cut it all off, and then POOF, there goes the career. ;-)

Jasontherand54 karma

Last spring you agreed to a duel by swords with a man from Westminster Choir College after your DCINY concert. Seeing as the Westminster Choir will be the heart of virtual choir 4, and I presume you will come to conduct them, do you plan on fulfilling that agreement while you're there?

ericwhitacre113 karma

I will indeed. And I will prevail.

Lkoitlvien49 karma

I know a lot of composers and director have a favorite voice part. For example, my director loves the way altos sound. He likes their voice quality and generally he finds their part of the song most interesting. Another director we worked with loves sopranos, another loves basses etc. They don't necessarily show favoritism, they just personally really like the way that voice part sounds. Do have any preferences like that? Also, just wanted to say, your work is incredible. My choir sang Seal lullaby last year and it's one of my favorite songs we've ever sung. The top choir also sang Lux and it brought me to tears. Unfortunately I wasn't in the top choir at that point :/ Anyway, your music is wonderful and Ivery much so appreciate your musical genius:)

ericwhitacre252 karma

Thank you so much. Yes, the altos are by far my favorite voice part - I always try to give them the best lines. I love the whole alto aesthetic: earthy, sexy, no-nonsense, non-diva.

jgg4741 karma

  1. What is your favourite fruit?
  2. What is your most important daily routine?
  3. What is Most amazing place (doesn't have to be a building) you've seen music performed? (In terms of sound quality and general breath-taking-ness of the place)

I could go on and on about how much your music had affected my life. I even wrote my own piece of music because of you! Highlights would have to be: performing Ghost Train Mov. 1 in front of 5 and 6 year old's, (we called it "The Train Ride" so we didn't scare them) they could not believe it sounded like a train. Performing When David Heard with the Elmer Iseler singers, what an epic emotional piece. Finally, performing my favourite piece "This Marriage." It brings me close to tears every time.

Thank you Mr. Whitacre!

P.s Virtual Choir and Paradise Lost are cool too. Yes, I could go on and on.

ericwhitacre108 karma

Love these questions.

1) Cherries. Oh god, cherries. 2) Every morning when I wake up, before I open my eyes, I recite e.e. cummings' poem "i thank You God for most this amazing day". (I'm not a Christian). And when I get to the line "now the ears of my ears awake" I wait and wait until I hear my wife breathing next to me, then I finish, "now the eyes of my eyes are opened." 3) This past summer I was in Austria with my family and two of my best friends, composer Steven Bryant and his wife, conductor Verena Mösenbichler-Bryant. We were climbing wooden steps through the inside of a glacier (for reals), totally dark except for the small lights the guides carried, cold as hell, when suddenly we heard choral singing. It came from deep inside the glacier, very distant, and it was beyond magical. It was some tour group singing a simple hymn as they climbed far ahead of us, but it was perfection. I'll never forget it.

SuperTonicV735 karma

Why does it seem that writing for saxophone is the bane of a composer's existence?!

Love your music, by the way.

ericwhitacre88 karma

I think the problem with the sax is that so many people play it badly, by which I mean loudly, so it's an 'unsafe' instrument to write for. When sax is played well, my god is it beautiful. But that is an uncommon thing...

boredlike33 karma

How did it all begin?

ericwhitacre77 karma

I played in a pop/rock band in high school, didn't read music, had never really heard classical music. At 18 I joined the choir as a freshman in college, and the first piece we sang, Mozart's Requiem, literally changed my life. Three years later I write my first piece, "Go, Lovely Rose".

kraw32 karma

Hey Mr. Whitacre! First of all, you rock. Keep it up. Second of all, when exactly are you going to do Cloudburst with the virtual choir?

ericwhitacre84 karma

Sooner than you think... ;-)

trey192818 karma

Hey Eric, i just want too let you that i went to the Free State performance at the Lied Center that you directed. The performance of Leonardo's flying machine was phenomonal.

ericwhitacre30 karma

That was one of my all-time favorite concerts. DAMN those choirs could sing!

TheyCallMeTalex31 karma

I've always wondered- how often are you recognized in the street as a famous composer?

I mean, I am a serious fan of yours, having performed several of your compositions in large choral ensembles, but I don't think I would recognize your face out of context unless you were wearing at t-shirt that read "Yeah, I wrote Water Night, When David Heard, and Sleep. Deal with it."

ericwhitacre34 karma

It's happening more and more often, sometimes in the oddest places. (Top of the Eiffel Tower this summer). I can't imagine what it's like to be very, very famous, where a public life isn't an option.

shaylybri27 karma

Any musical guilty pleasures (secret bieber fan or something?)?

Which composition(s) of yours is/are particularly special to you, and why?

Also, just thank you. I was lucky enough to be exposed to a lot of your work in high school and get to perform numerous pieces of yours and it DEFINITELY played a part into shaping me into the musician I am today.

ericwhitacre93 karma

I've got way too many guilty pleasures, starting with Katy Perry and will.i.am...

bluetrevian27 karma

Hey Eric! I sang in some of the early compositions of Paradise Lost in Coral Gables Florida and was wondering...

What happened to the full-scale production?! The music was haunting and beautiful and we all fully expected this to go mainstream. What aspects of electronic music still influence your composition today?

ericwhitacre52 karma

WOW! That was a while ago, huh? The good news is that we are very close to a West End production here in London, ideally later this year. Only took 12 years. ;-)

MesseJinor27 karma

When you utilize cluster chords how do you approach the initial note selection? Especially over long phrases. In other words, what is the process you use to begin note input during these moments? Is it aural, visual or are you using a simple method based off of your classical training? I have sung your music in choir over the years and have always wondered this from an artistic standpoint. Thanks!

ericwhitacre38 karma

It's so hard to describe. It usually has little to do with the actual chord, and more to do with the line. Even if the piece is homophonic, like Water Night or Lux, I try and make all the individual lines their own perfect melody. So I have a sense that the music needs to get to a certain place, say the climax of a phrase, and then it just becomes a big math puzzle, pushing and pulling individual lines until it starts to breathe. Then when I've got something I like, I go back and (badly) sing through every one of the lines, trying to make sure they all work on their own. The clusters then feel organic, natural, and easier to perform.

ristj26 karma

For what it's worth, you are the real deal, Eric. Your music is fucking great, your style is impeccable, and you're personable, kind, and hilarious. Thanks for your legacy of helping make choral music awesome and relevant in the 21st century.

ericwhitacre26 karma

I cannot begin to tell you how much that means to me. THANK YOU.

oostdykr25 karma

I am a huge fan! What advice would you give to an aspiring composer/creator of music?

ericwhitacre59 karma

This is going to sound so cliched, but the best advice I could give you would be to write the music you love. You will hear all kinds of criticism, even more when you start to become popular. Hold onto that sound in your heart that got you into composing in the first place.

stixanstones22 karma

Way back when, my high school choir performed many of your pieces. My favorite will always be Lux Aurumque. Our conductor absolutely loved your work. He inspired us to look into your other works, and I just wonder if you enjoy going to concerts and listening to your work. Also, do you consider conductors who put their spin on a piece to be messing with it, or think that everyone puts their own spin and experience into a piece?

Thank you so much for your work! It's very much appreciated!

ericwhitacre80 karma

I have a really hard time listening to other people conduct my music. The pieces are SO personal to me, autobiographical, that it feels awful having someone else interpret 'me'. However, there have been a few conductors who have conducted my music much better than I do, who found things in the music I didn't realize were there. So now when I conduct those pieces I incorporate (steal) what they did.

coloraturachel22 karma

Mr. Whitacre, How does it feel to be the "rock star" of this generation's musical world? Do some of your outside commitments (lectures, public appearances, hanging out with John Mackey, etc.) distract you from the time you would normally spend composing, or do you find there's a desirable balance? Do you also find time to spend with your family?

ericwhitacre55 karma

My family is more important to me than anything, so that is always my first priority. I'm still trying to find the balance between composing, conducting, public speaking, and my public persona. Sometimes I just want to hide in my cave and try to make simple, delicate music, but it's getting harder and harder.

Fun fact: John Mackey and I sat next to each other in ear training at Juilliard.

-LunaEclipsed-18 karma

Hello, I am percussionist and vastly enjoy both your choral and musical compositions. When listening to much of your writing for Concert Band, I have noticed that besides in your fantastically zany and off the wall composition of "Godzilla Eats Las Vegas", you don't seem to use an extensive use of percussion in your scoring for songs. I was wondering if to plan to do so in the future and how you as a composer see them in their interrelation to the rest of the musical ensemble. Thank you for your time and of course your wonderful contributions to the world of music!

ericwhitacre50 karma

I do when I get the chance. I've written a piece called Equus - originally for wind ensemble but I transcribed it last year for full orchestra - that has four percussion players. Also for the proms concert in London this August I wrote a piece for triple choir, piano and three percussionists. Had a blast writing both pieces, LOVE working with percussionists.

Spiffy31318 karma

I saw you at the ACDA conference in Minneapolis a few years back (another session had to be added because you were so popular!) and you worked some magic with the Luther choir.

I'm an elementary music teacher now, in my second year, and I'm struggling to get everything done at once!

  • What do you think is important for singers to practice and learn in their formative years?

  • Have you written, or considered writing, music for young singers?

  • What have you found to be the most effective way to share the importance of arts education with administrators and parents?

Thank you so much for your time! I'm INCREDIBLY happy to see you here!

ericwhitacre38 karma

1) Clean, natural singing, pure vowels, never ever trying to sound older than they are. 2) I desperately want to write something for young singers, just haven't found the right concept yet. Any ideas? 3) It's a brutal cycle - when the parents or administrators haven't been raised with any music education, they don't feel it's important. (You know all this). The good news is there are now a bunch of major studies showing the positive effects of music education on everything from test scores to empathy. Find a couple of thos online and hit them with THAT!

ecurtis17 karma

Hi Eric. If you had only one last chance to conduct, which of your own songs would you choose? PS: I love your music; it is absolutely stunning.

ericwhitacre38 karma

Oh my god. That's a good one. Maybe When David Heard?

Joshsizemore17 karma

Of all of the works you have written, which one is your favorite and why? I would ask which one was the most fun to write, but Godzilla Eats Las Vegas seems like the obvious choice.

Btw....I love followng your FB posts. You easily win the funniest composer award.

ericwhitacre40 karma

I don't really have a favorite - I have a really complicated relationship with my music. Sometimes I hear something I've written and think, "my God, I had no idea what I was doing," and sometimes I'll hear the same piece and think, "my God, I had no idea what I was doing and that was GOOD. I'm too polished now, too practiced."

All that being said there are four measures in "A Boy and a Girl" - when they sing 'never kissing', that I think is probably the best thing I've written.

orange_octopus15 karma

Eric -as someone who's loved singing your music and been following your career for the better part of a decade, I remember the excitement building up to Paradise Lost, how interested you seemed to be in merging electronic and choral sounds. Then after the show had its LA run, it seems like you went back to writing for pretty standard choral ensembles, and the most successful thing we've heard from you in recent years (i.e. the virtual choir) has been based on your existing catalogue.

I LOVE Sleep and Water Night and Lux to death, I really do. But as a fellow composer, I want to know: how you deal with the danger of repeating yourself artistically? what's your goal for the future, as a writer? What gets you excited? What are you working on, long-term?

ericwhitacre26 karma

Well, it's funny. I hear that sometimes, that I'm repeating myself, but from where I'm sitting it doesn't feel like that at all. In the past few years I wrote The Stolen Child, The City and the Sea, the Animal Crackers, The Chelsea Carol, The River Cam, Goodnight Moon... all of those pieces sound very different to my ear. They just aren't as popular as my earlier works.

I want to keep pushing myself, trying new things - maybe some film music, maybe a video game, maybe some more music theatre.

BTW, good luck with your own composing, and thanks for the kind words.

Botswanit_Upon_It14 karma

How do you respond to criticism regarding the "sameness" of your music? I am specifically referring to your choral works, which seem to be characterized by cluster chords - cluster chords everywhere. Not that I mean to discredit the beauty of your works, but it seems that much of your choral music very much occupies the same mood and feeling.

ericwhitacre44 karma

I answered this a little before, but with your permission I'll talk about it here, too.

To me, I think of choral pieces that I've written like Lux, The City and the Sea, The Seal Lullaby, The Animal Crackers, The Stolen Child, Leonardo Dreams, The Hebrew Love Songs, the Songs of Immortality, and I can't believe that people think they all sound the same.

I get the 'cluster' thing, and how that is a recognizable device in my music, but that cluster thing is ME. It's not a device I invented to brand myself, or invent a voice for myself, it is the way emotion sounds in my heart and my mind. I can't escape it. And I truly try and find new ways of using them, using my true voice. To me, each new piece sounds radically different, even if it some of the same language is being used, because - and this is the important part - the emotional drama of each piece is so unique. The text, the structure, the small moments are to me very new and different.

My two pence.

thelittlestsakura10 karma

  1. Do you have a favourite mass?
  2. What's it like working at Storm Models?
  3. Most unexpected occurrence of your career?
  4. Current career ambitions?

I really admire your work, and am happy for what you've done for the classical music genre. I'd like to shake your hand.

Thanks in advance.

ericwhitacre29 karma


1) Mozart's Requiem. It changed my life. 2) Bizarre. Part of my 'professional' life these days involves facials and low body fat. Sometimes I feel like a massive douchebag. 3) Working for Storm Models. ;-) 4) I'd love to write more for film, and work more in electronica.

Zhamf9 karma

I've got a question about your opinion of contemporary instrumental composition. It seems to me that composers today have a considerably smaller understanding of instrumentation and what works/doesn't work on particular instruments. Whereas composers of the past seemed to be much more cognizant of which instrument was playing what lines and how, composers today seem to just write whatever they want and consider any un-idiomatic writing to be the performer's problem.

That being said, do you think that might be contributing to a greater divide between today's composers and performers? Composers of the classical and romantic eras (and some 20th Century) would write for specific players and the players would have input on what was/wasn't feasible. Why do you think there's a decline in that collaborative process today?

ericwhitacre13 karma

Those are great questions. I'm not sure I agree with your first premise. the problem is that when we talk about composers of today we include every kid with a sample library, and when we talk about composer of the past we talk only about those who made it through the minefields of history, Bach, Beethoven, Stravinsky, etc. The thing is, there was a TON of crap music written in the past four hundred years, I mean just terrible, it's just that we never hear it now. I think the same thing will happen years from now - we'll look back on this era and be astonished by the craftsmanship - Salonen, Ades, Adams, etc.

But your point about the loss of collaborations is a good one, and I suspect it's simply financial. Excellent professional musicians are SO expensive these days, especially when they are members of an orchestra.

roflz8 karma

Hi Eric, What artist(s) are you currently listening to? For either inspiration or pleasure.

Thanks for visiting CLU back in 2009, my choirmates and I really enjoyed your music and conducting.

*edit, I a word.

ericwhitacre20 karma

I'm currently writing a piece for The Tallis Scholars, so I've been listening to a ton of Renaissance and Tudor choral music. Perfection.

bjh60607 karma

What was your inspiration behind A Boy and a Girl? Is it from a personal experience?

ericwhitacre10 karma

Not really personal experience - it was just one of those poems that had all the music inside it already, and somehow I just quieted myself enough to hear it.

mt_musicman6 karma

As an aspiring composer for musical theatre, I have to say that the first time I heard the demo on your website for Paradise Lost, I fell in love with it! The merging of operatic vocal lines in a musical theatre framework, all intertwined with techno music, is absolutely brilliant. My question is, what was your experience like writing it, if it differed from the way you approach writing one of your more classical works, and do you plan to continue writing for the theatre? Thank you so much for your time!

ericwhitacre18 karma

THANK YOU. I adore writing for the theatre, especially in the weird hybrid style that is Paradise Lost.

It was/is crazy writing it, because there are so many parts of the process. First, you need the lyrics and for that, you need to define the character. Then comes the music. Then comes the programming of the electronica, which is a massive, time-consuming process, and which sounds almost instantly dated. (Most of the demos on my site are at least 7-8 years old, and they sound like they are ANCIENT).

drew1936 karma

What's your favorite piece written by another composer?

ericwhitacre15 karma

Oh god, I could go on and on. One piece that just blows my mind is Arvo Pärt's Passio. But then there is The Rite of Spring. And Prokofiev 5. And Peter Grimes...

eyyboonie3 karma

Hi Eric! I have two questions:

  1. What has taught you the most about composition?
  2. What would you say really kick started your career and got you into the industry?


ericwhitacre4 karma

1) Simply composing, finishing a piece, writing it down and getting REAL people to play it. that has taught me more than anything else.

2) Not sure what kickstarted my career. I sometimes feel like that old joke "it only took me 20 years to become an overnight success." That said, I remember there being a serious swell of interest in my music when Napster happened; suddenly people were sharing my music all over the place and it kind of felt like a BOOM moment.