Neil released his debut album Celtic Spirit in July of 2020 and his second album This Is Me in January of 2021. His music can be streamed online via Spotify, Apple Music, and can be downloaded via iTunes. Physical copies of the album can be purchased via the online store.
This Is Me
Where to begin? I identify with this song on so many levels. Growing up I struggled with my identity, self acceptance, and self love. Though I do not assign blame on anyone or anything, being heterosexual is ingrained in American culture and is institutionalized in the public school system. During my formative years when sexual education was taught, the topic of homosexuality was never broached. This not only made me feel vulnerable and different, but also ashamed of being gay when I just wanted to be ‘normal.’
I love the fact that this song is an anthem that celebrates the fact that being different is not only okay but incredible and empowering! I wish I had had the courage to stand up for myself in this manner and embrace the things that made me different rather than hide them from the world.
The first time I watched The Greatest Showman I fell in love with this ballad! In my experience there are songs that you instantly connect with and this is most definitely one of them. There is so much raw emotion in the singing of the lyrics and the performance of this ballad in the movie and I did my best to emulate that in my rendition.
A Perfect Canon
In 2018 I met my partner in crime. Although he is one that does not like the spot light (hence he will not be mentioned by name) I chose to dedicate a song on this album to him. Over the past two years this person has taught me so much, been my biggest cheerleader, and has supported me in every aspect of my life. During my live shows in south Florida where he lives I always dedicated Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” to him and this is my version to him - a mashup of “Perfect’ and Pachelbel’s “Canon in D.” Who knows, maybe one day we will have this song played at our wedding!
Be Thou My Vision
Earlier in 2020 I released my debut solo album, Celtic Spirit. Although I am not Irish by birth I have an affinity towards and identify with many parts of their culture. Who doesn’t like an Irish pub?! Additionally, I grew up in the Lutheran church and my favorite hymn was and is Be Thou My Vision. I thought this would be the perfect tune to add as a way of sharing both of these parts of my life.
My Heart Will Go On
Between 2014-2017 I spent the majority of my life working on cruise ships and I thought this would be the perfect song to represent that time of my life. Thankfully none of the ships I worked on suffered the same fate as the Titanic! During my time at sea I met incredible people, learned a lot of life lessons, and explored the world. I am so grateful to have had the opportunities afforded to me as a cruise ship entertainer and I dedicate this song to all of the friends I made traveling the ocean blue!
Red Red Wine
Anyone that knows me knows I have a love of red wine! You name it - Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chianti, Argentinian Malbec, and the list goes on! I have so many fond memories revolving around red wine (yes I know how that sounds) whether it be family gatherings, performing at my favorite wine bars, relaxing on a cold winter night, amazing dinners vacationing in Saint Martin, etc. that I could not release an album about me that did not include a song dedicated to my favorite adult beverage!
Now We Are Free
There are so many reasons why I chose this song to be on this album. I fell in love with the song when I was in 8th grade back in the year 2000 after hearing it in the hit movie, Gladiator. It also represents a time in my life where I was struggling with a bitter lawsuit and I think I will leave that one at that!
Most importantly, it represents the time that I decided to transition from being a full time entertainer on cruise ships to starting my own business. As much as I enjoyed my time at sea, it is very easy to get used to the comfy lifestyle as a guest entertainer but I decided I wanted more out of my career. During the summer of 2017 I took a huge risk, quit the ship life, and paid my mortgage and other bills as a street performer in Greenville, SC! I built my business from square one and thankfully with time it paid off and I was able to transition to being an artist, musician, entertainer, and performer on land.
If you are human you have struggled with something, fought for something, had to stand up for yourself, someone you care about, or something you believe in. This past election night I was enjoying a quiet night in when a group of anti LGBTQ+ demonstrators showed up outside my condo building spewing messages of hate to passersby. Although it was a bit frightening as I did not know how they would respond to me, I decided to take my electric violin and amp and combat their hatred with a message of love and acceptance. Thankfully they left soon after they realized their messages of hate could no longer be heard. I hope that everyone finds the courage to fight for what they believe in which is why this song made it on this album.
I am a HUGE fan of EDM (electronic dance music) and a large part of that is due to the EDM artist Zedd. To be honest, as a violinist / instrumentalist, I listen a lot more to the melody and overall sound of the track rather than the lyrics. I am embarrassed to admit that to this day I still do not know the lyrics of the song but I could sing back the notes of the melody after my first time hearing it. This is my cover of his hit from 2013 - Beautiful Now.
I am excited to share with you my first original, Breakthrough! I decided on the name as it took me a lot of time, energy, and frustration to create something from scratch that I felt was truly worthy enough to share with the world. I combined my love of EDM as well as my classical training and I am sure many subconscious elements to develop this track. This track has inspired me to create more original content that I hope to share with everyone (pending the album is finished) on my birthday, July 21st, 2021.