On top of that, what is the biggest tip you got from your father, as far as songwriting is concerned?
I would have to say that it doesn't have to be rushed. Every bar doesn't have to be filled up with some noise or something. He always took his time. There was always space in between the bars of music. Listening to my dad's songs helped me realize that my songs don't have to be rushed. I can really take my time writing them, performing them, and now producing them ultimately. They don't have to be over-produced.
I see. And that’s an interesting counter-narrative to what's going on right now in the music landscape – knowing and saying that music doesn’t have to be overproduced. For a lot of songs that come out now, production is the focus, so it is interesting to hear you say that. And going back to what you mentioned earlier, I am curious to know how it feels when a song with a personal attachment, like "The Rain Don't Last," winds up being utilized by an outside organization. Does it transform to something greater and serve dual purposes, or does the original meaning override the second?
Well, I was thrilled that the Red Cross wanted to used my song. Hurricane Katrina had just happened, and there was so much devastation, and I was in California thinking: “What can I do to help the people of New Orleans? They are destitute. They have no food, no water.” And like everyone else, the whole thing seemed so overwhelming. I wanted to do something to help. I wanted to just go down there, but because I wasn't able to, when this opportunity came up to give my song to them for the commercial, I said of course. It was just relief, because a lot of us don't understand that some of the biggest joys in life are seeing other people experience joy, seeing other people happy, and helping other people. But as we begin to exercise it, we can understand how much it really does fill us. So it was amazing for me to be able to give them my song. I was very proud and very excited.
The title of your website is “Follow Hope.” On one hand, the title could be viewed as a simple ploy to amass followers. But I sense that the title is much deeper. Why do you think people should “follow Hope”?
That's so cool that you recognized that! I have been laboring over my domain name for quite a while now, and “Follow Hope” was something that just popped into my head. I thought, at this point in time, and our climate in the world, there's a lot of people following so many different things, and a lot of people aren't very happy. They're fearful right now. So I felt at the time that I needed to have something simple that people could find easily. I happen to have a name that shares a word that means something even to me, because I need to feel hopeful at the same time. So, it was kind of just thinking of a word that was easy for people to find and that would just make sense with my name and with the word "hope."