J wanted to be a comic book artist when he was younger. It was his deep bond to storytelling through images that helped him connect to the world around him. "I was an extremely shy kid and it took a great deal of effort just to look in someone's direction, much less talk to them. Drawing was a natural way of understanding my world."
Even though he felt at home expressing through images, he always had melodies and songs swimming around in his head. When he was 9 years old, the opportunity to pick up saxophone came and he quickly excelled at it, playing songs and writing music with it by ear while quietly maintaining his dream of becoming a comic book artist.
At least until he picked up a friend's guitar one day...
He would tell you that was the day his 'comic book career' ended. "I found out very quickly that I could express things with the guitar that my pencil just wasn't equipped to and an entirely different world opened up to me that day."
During his high school years he attended Douglas Anderson School of the Arts in Jacksonville, FL, where he studied many styles of music, from rock, blues, and jazz to flamenco and classical. He performed in numerous musicals, helped to form a gigging jazz combo, and even took dancing and singing classes. He still regards those years as some of the most creatively formative times of his life.
His studies there culminated in writing and performing his own scholarship-winning senior recital piece for solo classical guitar and composing the 1st movement of a symphony at age 18.
After high school, J studied guitar and composition under world-class teachers at Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, where he further honed his writing and playing skills, with a focus on jazz and rock performance and film music studies.
J has since written, arranged, and performed numerous pieces for solo guitar and orchestra, written music for an audio book, toured in a regional country/rock band, built his own guitar, and invented his own hybrid custom guitar strings.
J is currently working on a series of "micro-albums" that, in full-circle, incorporate storytelling in a comic book format.
"Who knows, Maybe I'll get to be that comic book artist, after all." He says with a smile.