When someone is themselves through their music, it's soul music. James Taylor is soul music to me 'cause it's just him talking about him. It doesn't have anything to do with black or growing up in the church; it's where it comes from. It's just soul music.
You wash your hands when you shake a bunch of hands. You have to wash your energy when you're around people. It's hard for me to say self-care is washing, although I think it is. So I made music for self-care. That's what it's for.
I loved her music and the fact that she was a classically trained pianist and that her voice was so unique, but what made Nina Simone my hero is that I had never seen anyone in the public eye who looked anything like me at all, ever.
For the first ten years of my career, I felt suffocated. People constantly stood over me while I tried to create. And in 2009, I hit rock bottom. I couldn't find myself because I was looking to be defined by the music industry or by being number one on the Billboard charts.
Could a person really make a social contribution through music consciously? I mean, beyond making a person happy to hear the song and more making a social contribution consciously through your music? For me, Stevie Wonder is the paragon of that. And I didn't want to be Stevie Wonder, but I did want to do what he does.
Everybody has a spiritual body. Everybody has a physical body, and so your spiritual body is the stuff that holds all of your emotions like your body holds your organs, your food, your muscles, your water. Your spiritual body holds your emotional state and your mental state.
In Denver, all we really had was pop radio, so I grew up on all that late '70s pop stuff - Billy Joel, James Taylor, Lionel Richie, Elton John, Steve Miller and Toto. Great love songs and really hooky and melodic music - I have all of that stuff in my heart.
Now that I have better producer chops, a country album is something I want to do one day. I don't know who's going to put it out. But when I do, I don't think people will call it 'country music.' They'll probably call it 'neo-soul.'
I want my music to be a contribution, and I want the people who love me on Earth and in Heaven to be proud of who I am, and I want to be proud of myself, and I don't want to look back and say, 'Oh God, why did I say that?'
Just like the air you breathe or the water you drink, music shapes you. The trouble is, most people don't use it to spread love and healing. But I think music can make a social contribution if you're responsible with it.