Looking Back on 2011

If there is one word that sums up my 2011, it is GRATITUDE.

I am infinitely thankful for the incredible opportunities I had, the meaningful work I accomplished, and the fascinating people I met. Truly. 2011 was an unforgettable year. It certainly did not lack challenge (wich is my second choice for "word of the year'), but even the challenges brought about things to be thankful for.

This post is an attempt to give you a recap and point out some things that stood out for me last year.

January 4th was the release of my very first solo studio project. I had the distinct pleasure of working with one of the music industry's finest producers, Jake Rye at Sonus Clarus Media Group to create this EP. "Crash" was a fun project that allowed me to learn and grow as a recording artist all the while making something that I am STILL proud of today. Back in high school I "released" a couple of "records" which I thought were SO GOOD... for about a week. But, this CD has been time-tested and I know that I will be proud of it for years to come. I cannot express how thankful I am for those who helped me make this project happen. "Crash" was an awesome start to 2011 and it set the stage for a fun year of sharing the music with new fans in new places.

The "Crash" EP just after they arrived at my doorstep (and just in time for the CD release show)

I love traveling. I recommend it. Everyone needs to experience life outside their own world. My travels to the West were horizon-broadening, for sure! Between January and May of last year I performed for the first time in California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Colorado. I cannot wait to go back! The people were some of the coolest I've met, and the scenery... well... here's a tiny snapshot of all I got to see: 

Picture taken while flying to Seattle. I believe this is Mount Rainier.

Now this was fun! I had done my part in creating the music, so all I had to do was sit back and watch other people create the visual. I am SO thankful for my talented friends at Three Ring Media for taking on this project. They put a lot of thought and planning into this and I cannot thank them enough. I also had some help from friends who were extras and those who helped fund the project.

"Your Crash" Official Music Video - March 17th, 2011

1000 MILES
Not only did I put some serious mileage on my trusty S-10 pick-up, but I had a stellar year of RUNNING some serious mileage as well. You could say I caught the "running bug" in 2011. I ran my first 10k, my first half-marathon, AND ran over a thousand miles last year. Plus, I had some awesome supporters who helped me raise $1000 for non-profit As Our Own. I "ran for Valarri" in the Atlanta Half-Marathon on Thanksgiving to raise funds and awareness for human trafficking. I felt incredibly honored to be able to run for such a worthy cause.

Run on Dec 31st brought my Nike+iPod mileage to exactly 1000 miles!

I had the opportunity to showcase my music for thousands of people between four different performances at the end of 2011. Showcases in Myrtle Beach, Cincinnati, Syracuse, and Hartford have lead to a BUNCH of shows for 2012. I am PUMPED to get back out on the road again this year and share my music. Of these four showcases, I received the greatest response from the Northeast region of the U.S. so I am gearing up for travels to Massachusetts, New York, Maine, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and New Hampshire.

Showcasing at NACA Northeast Nov 17th, 2011

2011 ended with some much needed rest and relaxation time with my wife. We had the opportunity to get away to Charleston, SC for Christmas and spent New Years in Atlanta. It was low-key and perfect. I enjoyed several different craft beers (Mmmm.. IPAs), some amazing sushi, caught up a little on "Parks and Recreation" and "Psych", and started off 2012 worshiping with my Victory World Church family. 

There's so much more. 2011 was an unforgettable year. I can only imagine what this upcoming year will hold. I just know that I have much to be thankful for. And if 2012 is be anything like I think it will be, grattitude will win "word of the year" twice in a row.