AMA: “How did you go about getting your first record produced?”

If you don’t mind me asking, how did you go about getting your first record produced?


Hi Davis –

I don’t mind at all.

I was 22, in college studying English, playing gigs whenever I could. I really just wanted to pursue my music. But how do you do that? I didn’t know anyone or anything about how to do that. I wasn’t even sure what I wanted.

Then one evening I opened a little college show for a folk duo called Storyhill. One of the members, Chris Cunningham, was also producer. He liked my set and asked if I’d consider making an album with him. I wanted to, but I didn’t have the money. A friend thought I should really go for it. He and his wife believed in me. And they helped pay for about half of it, but the rest was split between credit cards and borrowing from my parents.

And as I’m writing and thinking about this now, Davis, it occurs to me—I suppose getting my first record produced came down to five things. Motion, desire, trust, affirmation, and a good old leap of faith.

Motion – because I was already headed in the right direction. At least as best I knew how. What I mean is, I wasn’t doing nothing. I was playing gigs, weddings, funerals. Writing songs. Playing them for friends. I was already in motion. This was in 2004, had YouTube been around, I would’ve been making videos.

Desire – because I did really want to do music and figure out how to pursue it more seriously. Some people don’t. And that’s fine, too. But I knew I wanted to take the next steps.

Trust – because I believed Chris Cunningham genuinely wanted to help me figure out how to pursue my music more seriously. He was someone who I knew could help guide me. (Which he did, immensely, by the way.)

Affirmation – because I needed friends I trusted to confirm I wasn’t crazy or untalented, that I had something worth sharing.

And a good old leap of faith – because nobody could guarantee the record would be successful or whether it’d be enough to start a career. But if nothing else, I’d have some recorded songs. AND I wouldn’t spend the rest of my life wishing or wondering what might have been.

So that’s how I ended up recording my first album. The rest was just details and logistics.