(Note: this is part of a series of blog posts concerning my new album, which can be streamed or purchased here. However, this is one of the posts that I believe might be difficult to enjoy or participate in without hearing the album first.)

I hate this question.

Can I be honest? I really hate this question.

When someone asks me, “What kind of music do you play?”, my first reaction is usually to freeze up and scurry through my thoughts in an attempt to figure out some sort of response. Sometimes I’ll be super generic and say, “pop/rock,” or I’ll say something untrue like, “pop-punk,” or I’ll say something that’s strangely specific and impossible to discern, such as “a cross of Thrice and Barry Manilow” or “a mixture of Jesse McCartney and la dispute.” I also secretly want to get super sassy and say, “I play music with words and instruments.”

But I think the best thing I can do is request, you tell me! I would love to know what you think I sound like, what genres I seem to fit in, or what influences you think I have. So let the comments fly!

If you want some hints, I’ll do my best to recall the music that was inspiring me when I wrote the bulk of these songs, which was during the summer of 2011 in between my freshman and junior years of college.

This is surprisingly hard to remember… I can recall all my favorite albums from every single year of grade school from 6th grade through 12th. During college, things got blurry. Looking through my iTunes collection, I’m not seeing many albums released in 2011.

One of the primary reasons for this is I spent most of that school year purchasing second-hand albums from EntertainMart instead of buying new albums. I fell in love with Barry Manilow’s lesser-known albums, as well as the entire discographies from Michael W. Smith and The Academy Is…, all of whom were probably inspirations for the record.

I do know at the very least that during the writing of many of these songs, I was pretty hooked on the first half of The Dear Hunter’s Color Spectrum, primarily the Black, Red, Orange, and Yellow EP’s. I also know that I took a trip to Hawaii that summer (which, obviously, is where I wrote the song “Sandcastles”), and on that trip I was primarily listening to Pala by Friendly Fires, Human Hearts by Maritime, Mirrorwriting by Jamie Woon, Unfinished by Jordan Knight, and musiqinthemagiq by Musiq Soulchild.

Alright, your turn: what do you hear?

I would love to finally have a decent answer to this wretched awful question.