Who Are Open Mics For? 

Open mics lead to shaky nerves. The reason is because you're not playing for fans at an open mic. You're playing for other musicians who are waiting for their own 15 minutes of glory. That can add to the pressure to perform more "perfectly" than you might at your own gig with your homegrown fans.

Seth Godin would ask "Who's it for?" If playing open mics is for you to garner more fans, then perhaps another venue would be more fruitful. But if it's for you to hone your skills in the face of adversity, then seek no further. 

Happy Mother's Day 

A great deal of who I am is largely due to my mom. I was on a clear trajectory as a teenager to become the next Joe Satriani or Steve Vai with a twist of Metallica and Iron Maiden. I even had long hair down to my waist and a matching V-Shaped guitar. It was at the height of my metal musical training that we packed our bags and moved to Portugal. 

When we arrived she was the one to suggest I enrol in the local classical music school. From that moment my life changed forever. My dreams of becoming the next shredder metalhead were gone and instead replaced with something quite different. 

This may sound a little like a complaint but nothing could be further from the truth. The wisdom of my mother made me into the musician I am today. 

“...mothers are the first educators, the first mentors; and truly it is the mothers who determine the happiness, the future greatness, the courteous ways and learning and judgement, the understanding and the faith of their little ones.” 

It’s thanks to her that I’m able to write and perform songs in a way never before imagined in my unseasoned and youthful mind. 


Happy Mother’s Day Nancy Lee Harper. I’m the luckiest son in the world to have such a great and loving mentor.

The 2nd Phase? 

We are now at the stage in our quarantine that you will begin to see people arguing fervently to "open up" their countries. People will post convincing arguments on both sides. One will argue for and one against. I think it makes sense. People are tired of staying in-doors. Only the future will tell us what would have been the wiser choice of the two. 

Until then, I will continue to stay home and make music.

Childhood Trauma 

I grew up in what was rated the "worst state to be raised in in America" according to Albuquerque Journal. From the age of 8 to 15 I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico. For me, those were the days of bullying and constant fear of someone wanting to start a fight The rules of the land were that if you even looked at someone in the eye it was grounds for starting a fight. So, I began a practice of always keeping my sight to the ground. A lot of what I went through in those days shaped how I come to trust people.  

The other day my wife and I are out running around a track in a park with our dog. Our dog is off-leash. Someone from animal control shows up and proceeds to go up to another couple who also has a dog off leash. From what I can see the animal control authority seems to be giving them a ticket. I put my dog back on a leash and my wife and I continue our run around the track. 

In my mind, I'm already coming up with multiple arguments to get out of a ticket and even in one scenario I'm envisioning him wanting to start a fight. Simply because all of these scenarios have happened to me with authority figures in Santa Fe.  

Eventually the man from animal control comes up to us. I can feel my heart rate increasing and I decide to just let him speak and not say anything until he's spoken. The first words out of his mouth are "Thank you so much for putting your dog on a leash. This is an on-leash area and I'm grateful for you for putting your dog on a leash." I was taken aback. He was so kind. I was expecting a chastisement, a belittling, or even a fight. But not only was he kind, he was respectful. He thanked us. And even gave us a suggestion on where we could take our dog off-leash. He then left us and went up to another family whose dog was off-leash. 

So often we're taught to not judge a book by its' cover. To let people surprise you. And I know all these things. But what is interesting to me is that how I was conditioned in those years in Santa Fe was exactly the opposite. That to survive you had to judge many books by their cover or you would put yourself in harm's way. What I noticed the whole time during this animal control situation was my internal state. My distrust of authority. My wanting to defend myself even before anything had happened.  

My take away from this situation is that I may never fully recover from what I went through in Santa Fe. I'm 42 and I still have these internal ways of being. But despite what I'm feeling on the inside I still have a choice on how I decide to react to outside situations. I can choose to let the outside unveil itself in a way that's completely independent of my internal state. And that in itself allows for empowerment and learning. 

Small Changes Change Environment 

The impulse to focus on the negative during these times is a strong one. So much of what is around us in the media, in the news and even suggestions from Netflix is an almost never-ending stream of pessimism. It creates an environment of hopelessness. And because we're only human we're most susceptible to what happens in our environments.

The good news is that it only takes small changes to change an environment. Whether it's a daily practice of yoga or meditation. Or listening to a song with a positive message. Not reading the news every day, because let's be honest, we already know what it's going to say anyways. To writing a loving note to a friend or loved one to let them know you care. In small ways we can powerfully change our environments which leads to us changing our mental well-beings.

When it says in the prayer "I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being." This is a choice and not something you need ask permission for.

When You Pray 

When I pray I'm asking for something outside of my control. I can control my emotions. I can control my thoughts and I can control my own personal actions. But many things lie outside of that control. I can't control the spread of this novel Coronavirus except by staying home and not engaging in social interactions. I can't cure it. I can't come up with a vaccine and I certainly can't tell my neighbor or anyone how to behave during these times. 

This is what prayer is for. It's a call for assistance for things that lie outside the boundaries of our control and personal power.  

I never knew that when I wrote my song "Cura" back in 2001 it was going to become so poignant to today's circumstances. My friend Elika Mahony loved it so much that she offered to sing with me on the song. And the result was truly moving. 

For everyone praying for health and healing let me join your efforts by sharing this musical prayer.


To Have Faith 

To have faith one must have vision of the future and knowledge of the past. 

To better reduce one's anxiety about today's circumstances one simply can look to previous relatable circumstances. 

Whether you look at the Spanish Flu which took out 50 million people or to the Great Depression that brought the US economy to its knees a lot can be learned from these catastrophic events. 

To look to such events is to understand the future. When we see the outcomes of these events we see how humanity afterwards learned and grew by great leaps and bounds. 

And though we will all suffer in this great tragedy. To see what is to come after this cataclysmic event is to have vision and understanding. 

In all great suffering comes great learning. 

Be patient. Be kind to one another. Have faith. And see the end in the beginning.

Integration and Disintegration 

In nature and throughout the universe things are either in a state of integration or disintegration. Things are either growing or dying. And as humans we can choose which side we want to be on. We can choose the stagnant safety of status quo or we can choose to renew our lives with the fresh breezes of a new worldview and paradigm shift.

If you ever had a book that you never gave yourself permission to finish, or a musical that you've put off because it wasn't "practical" or an idea to create a business that you know would revolutionize the world then what are you waiting for?

Between integration or disintegration what will you choose?

True Nobility 

“Anybody can be happy in the state of comfort, ease, health, success, pleasure and joy; but if one will be happy and contented in the time of trouble, hardship and prevailing disease, it is the proof of nobility.” - 'Abdu'l-Bahá

Food For Thought 

Back during World War II, Poland was forced to eat more of a plant-based diet. None of the meats and heavy foods that they usually ate were available in such an impoverished time. Consequently, their rates of cancer were drastically reduced to almost nothing during those years. When the war was over they went back to their previous ways of eating and the cancer rates increased. 

When my wife went to the grocery store today she saw that a lot of the food was gone but what was left was all the produce. Tons of it, in fact. Interesting what turn of events are happening right now. It seems we're headed more and more in the direction to eat a plant-based diet as it could very well be the only option.

As for us, we've been cooking every day and getting really creative with plant-based recipes. Not that we're against eating meat. We're just not eating as much of it. But what we have noticed is an increase in our energy and vitality as our paradigm is gradually shifting.

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