Message from the Author
Life Story has always been about communication and connection, and by me sharing with this with you I hope to foster some of that. A connection across space and time, through music and stories.
I can’t exactly quantify it as an album, or a story, or a multimedia experience, because it is all of those things and none. What is fortunate for you is that you don’t have to understand the project to experience it. In fact, there is nothing to understand other than what you would like to understand about it. So, whether you listen to one track or experience the whole project, story and all, I hope you take away something meaningful, even if it may not be the meaning I set out for you to find.
Life Story has been a passion project of mine for years at this point. Something that I never truly believed would be fully realized. While I can’t describe exactly what Life Story is, I can tell you it is comprised of a full-length album of original music sitting at seventy-six total minutes composed over two years of my life, a fifty-page undergraduate thesis on the relationship between music and story, a website to engage with, various videos and multimedia elements, and the written story comprised of the Journal, the Records, and the Logs that can be explored on the Life Story website linked in the album cover. As well, the track Journey on the album has been incredibly fortunate to receive a Downbeat student music award for Outstanding original composition, which was featured in the June 2019 issue of Downbeat magazine.
With the Music of the album, I pulled from inspiration such as contemporary jazz, film scores, concept albums and more from the likes of Charles Mingus, Wayne Shorter, The Roots, Ambrose Akinmusire, David Binney, Becca Stevens, John Williams, and others. While many of the tracks are long and multi-sectioned, there are many moments of improvised performances from the various members of the group. The tracks are designed to be listened to in chronological order. I did this intentionally as to harken back to the days when records were meant to (and could only be) listened to from top to bottom, but also to tell a cohesive musical journey starting from the first track and ending at the last. As well, while each track has its own identity, you will notice similar themes and motifs passing from one track to another. This is by design, as I wanted to evolve musical, lyrical, rhythmic and harmonic ideas over the course of an album instead of limiting them to a single song. These are presented in obvious ways, and sometimes in more subtle ways, so keep an ear out for them and how they change over the course of the album.
As for the Story, it is now out there in full form of the Journal, the Records, and the Logs, available on my website enclosed in the album cover. While there is a recommended chronological reading order, you can choose to enter from any point. A message for the curious though; the truth is never found exclusively in spaces, but it is found from the connections we make between spaces. You will not find the answers to the meaning of Life Story in the music alone, or the narrative alone. You must connect the threads for yourself. And once you do, the meaning is yours to keep, and yours to do with as you please.
As well, a disclaimer; the content that is presented in Life Story is purely fictional. Any attempt to blur the lines between reality and fiction is simply an attempt to enrich the narrative that I desire to tell. But, as with all stories, does it really matter what is real or not real, when you can't tell the difference? What does matter is what you take away from it.
I want to use this space to thank everybody who has been a part of it. Everybody who listened to me, my band for all the rehearsals and directions, my family for being there, my teachers for supporting me, and everybody who pushed me along to finish. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I have learned so much about the creative process, both technical and mental, and about myself, though the making of this project. While it was difficult, I wouldn’t go back and undo what I have done. In fact, I’m more than willing to throw myself back into the creative fires in the future, thanks to the confidence I have gained working on Life Story. It has been a truly humbling and powerful experience.
And finally, if you take the time to engage with this world I have created, I thank you too. As I said, Life Story has always been about communication and connection. I hope that, through what I have created, I can communicate to you a human experience with faith that some part of me will resonate meaningfully with some part of you. And isn’t that, at the center of it all, what creating art is all about?
Author and Composer of Life Story,