How I got named Rigel

There is this tiny northern California town called Fort Bragg (near Mendocino). My parents were a couple of adventuresome live-off-the-land types…dare I say hippies…

One day they decided to embark on an epic adventure—sail the Pacific ocean.

They built a boat from scratch, painted flaming eyes on the front, and named it Lookfar. They had a big ol’ hootenanny...

broke a bottle of champaign on the bow, and waved farewell. (This is from real video footage).

Did I mention my sister Meadow? She was two at the time and traveled along with them.

Back then there were no GPS’s. They navigated by the stars.

Rigel star is the left foot in the Orion constellation, and they used that one to navigate across the Pacific Ocean. They set a course for Hawaii.

The journey was 30 days of nothin’ but flat horizons in every direction for as far as you can see. By the time they reached the big island my mom was pregnant, and I was no longer a twinkle in the eye. And that's How I got my name.

How I got into Music

Fast forward to 1988. Our family moved to the northwest (Port Townwsend, Washington). I was in 2nd grade when my great grandmother G.G. died. She left us her upright piano, which is how I got started.

I signed up for classical lessons, but my teacher couldn’t figure out how to teach me. I learned music the way I heard it in my head, not the way it was written on the page. She had the good nature though, to refer me to another teacher, Overton Berry—a jazz legend who happened to be living in my home town.

Overton taught me Jazz, Blues, Boogie Woogie, and all kinds of fun stuff that made me fall in love with the piano.

When I got into high school I joined the jazz band. 

During the summers I played on the streets of my hometown, Port Townsend, Washington State.

But in year the 2000 I moved to Austin Texas and got into Real Estate…at a young age.

My music shifted from being my identity to a hobby. I was the Realtor who played piano. Every once in a while I played private parties, but I wasn’t giving it much effort. Then everything changed.

In the summer of 2015 my wife gave birth to Oswald in our home. Our son had some health issues, so the first few months were all-hands-on-deck keeping him alive. This was the first time in the 17 years I wasn’t at the beck and call of my clients.

This respite from bidding wars, inspections, and negotiating repairs, gave me enough breathing room to get some perspective:

I have been half-hearted with real estate, and half-hearted with music. Is this what I want to teach my son?

I had to make a decision. It was either music, or real estate. I couldn’t do both. The thing is, music is in my bones. Whenever there is a piano in the room I have to walk over and play a few notes.

I had been running from music my entire adult life, so I decided to go all-in with it.

I let my real estate license go in the summer of 2015.

So what does going all-in mean? Record an album of course!

My own adventure out to sea

Using the Indiegogo platform I raised $17,000 from friends and family, and recorded my first EP. I named it “Out To Sea.”

Then I did a Christmas Album, "We Sing Together."

Today I perform three nights a week in Austin Texas in the Truluck’s lounge. I play private parties, teach piano and voice, and run a membership site called 100 Days of Songwritinga community that helps songwriters get into the habit of writing daily.

I would love to hear from you! Say hello, below. Tell me your story, or me on social media, or contact me directly.