I grew up in Sydney Australia, which was a lovely place to begin my life, in a privileged, upper middle-class, private Anglican boys school, yacht club, beautiful beach, world.
I asked for piano lessons at age 7 and studied classical piano for 10 years, along with regular visits to the symphony with my aunt Penny and singing in the local church choir.
At 11, my dad in his wisdom, but perhaps mostly due to the constant nagging from my brother Andrew, took the whole family to see the Beatles. Then a few years later we all went to Hair, the fully nude live theater performance. I fell in love with a couple of bands at the time, Jethro Tull, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Deep Purple, all who represented a new emerging world of music, creating a fusion of classical, jazz and rock, setting the stage for a future unbeknownst to me.
This interesting combination of a somewhat staid, white bread kind of life, mixed with the stirrings of social disruptions in the 60s, was the prelude to my escape, when I headed to Asia with my girlfriend Jane, for what I thought was a short summer holiday. This however turned into three years wandering the world, establishing what would become my free-wheeling improv MO from then on.
Having lived for extended periods in Greece and London during my walkabout, I was back in Australia for three years, playing music in bands, touring, studying synthesis and the physics of sound. A new theme was also emerging as I began to investigate diet, massage, acupuncture, and naturopathy, which would become a lifelong path of attention to my healing and well-being, beginning with the physical, then moving into the emotional, mental and ultimately spiritual.
Then I was off again to SE Asia, this time in remote parts, finally landing in Vancouver BC, and I resumed my music studies I had left 10 years earlier, now with Bach and Debussy.
I first heard the term ‘music therapy,’ which I was later to study, but at that time I just eased into what was calling me by studying piano pedagogy, teaching a few students, finding a band to play with, and learning to listen to my muse’ inchoate voice.
Developing my ear for music has been a long, slow process, attuning to my inner voice, and working with small ideas some of which became pieces over time. I had no formal training in composition, and was feeling my way.It took many years to make my first official recording at age 35, and I thought of myself as a late bloomer.
I wasn’t ambitious about making music, as I simply loved to play and explore the keys and sounds of the piano and synthesizers. It was really due to friends and lovers who heard these nascent notes, who strongly encouraged me to record and share them with the world, and to whom I am very grateful, that I ever recorded at all.
My inner and outer travels continued with great variety and adventure when I moved to the South West US and married the lovely Nancy. She lead me to Seattle to deep healing through movement therapy, to which I added music therapy, and then we unexpectedly divorced, although not so surprising given the depth and intensity of the work.
I was then invited to be Music Director at a Unity Church, married Stacey and soon began recording my compositions with her strong prodding and support from a few other good friends, one being David Lanz, who got the ball rolling as co-producer on my first album. My path was accelerating.
I have recorded music of all kinds: my own original albums, soundtracks, accompaniment to meditations, music with other bands, along with many performances, concerts, personal events, musical portraits and other interesting collaborations.
A huge change for me emerged in the form of Bella, my beautiful partner, as the central influence in the development of my understanding and embodying the sacred marriage of masculine and feminine archetypes through relationship, a work still in progress.
My focus on music for commercial release shifted slowly until it became what it is now, which is what I called Sonic Soul Portraits. This is a short hand way of saying that I play music primarily as a mode for expressing what’s in my soul.
In other words I’m not trying to make music that is pleasing, fits a particular genre, or what someone might want to hear. It’s not that I don’t want to make lovely music for people, it’s simply that I have a different calling at present, which likely will change. The result of playing with this kind of focus is that my music is primarily for my own healing by virtue of my intent, and in the process sometimes gives other people pleasure, healing, release of grief, and a host of other responses.
In addition to music, my artistic pursuits include writing Haikus, photography, video and digital drawing combined with photography and modification, all ultimately aimed at expression that goes beyond my own personal desire, to a non-verbal commentary on our world, and have a spiritual role for me, or as a friend put it recently are ‘prayers for the world.’
I think of my life ultimately as following the ‘original instructions’ given to me, and what feels like one long improvisation, the purpose of which is to share all of who I am, hopefully inspiring others along the way and contributing to co-creating a thriving community for all beings.