I started playing djembe at age 5, simply because we had one in the house. I had no lessons and played just for the joy of creating sound. In grade school, I became obsessed with a local djembe ensemble of middle school students led by a district teacher named Pete Santucci. When they performed at my school, they all dressed in native West African clothing and performed traditional West African songs. I was determined to be part of this group, and by age 10 I was performing with the middle school ensemble. My relationship with Pete continued and when he could no longer teach the ensemble, he introduced me to Ben Isaacs, a professional djembe player who had previously toured with Joan Baez and the Grateful Dead, among others. I continued djembe lessons with Ben until he moved away. I am now part of a West African drum group led by Wade Peterson, who is trained in traditional West African drumming.
During middle school, I taught myself how to play drum kit in order to fill in for various bands who needed a drummer. In high school, I started playing bass in a class called Performance Workshop, which mainly covers rock and pop music. The teacher, Chip Boaz, a latin jazz bassist, encouraged me to join the Jazz band and between the two classes, I quickly became interested in a much wider variety of music.
Currently, I am interested in many genres of music including soul, jazz, funk, fusion and more. I remain interested in traditional West African music and Latin conga. I enjoy writing music and blending different instrumental styles. I am enrolled in three different music classes at school. I play bass guitar in Jazz Band, bass guitar and drum kit in Performance Workshop, and percussion in Advanced Symphonic Band. I am currently doing a lot of work on mixing and mastering my own music as well as filming and editing my own music videos.
I play in multiple local bands outside of school including a jazz band, an experimental band, and a funk-rock band. I am part of the house band for a local wine bar where we play regularly. I am specifically enjoying the experimental band right now, as I have the opportunity to write music and perform alongside twin brothers who are extremely gifted musically and both have perfect pitch. I enjoy playing with them because they both approach music differently than any other musicians I know. In addition to playing in bands, I handle logistics and communication with contacts for shows. I enjoy live performance because no two shows are the same. There is always the possibility for something unique and amazing to take place whenever you play live music, whether between musicians that are really in sync or with an audience that is lively and involved.