Wednesday, December 30, 2015


Ok, so this has been a crazy year! It's been both emotionally and physically draining. But it's also been amazing. Here's my recap.

  • My song RUNWAY earned #2 Billboard Magazine Emerging Artist Chart rank in January.
  • In February I won the NEXT BIG THING in Christian Music award (here's a vlog about it)
  • Got to perform at my very first PLAYLIST LIVE in Orlando in February.
  • My song RUNWAY had radio play throughout the country (a first for me for radio)
  • Graduated High School in June (thank you Lord)
  • I performed nearly 50 concerts in 2015 including being part of opening for artists like FOR KING AND COUNTRY and NATALIE GRANT.
  • I got to play basketball with my lifelong music idol TOBYMAC. (dream come true)
  • I was cast in my first 2 movies. GOD'S NOT DEAD 2 (April 2016) and CAMP COOL KIDS (Summer 2016).
  • Made my first trip to L.A. for a week and met some amazing industry folks that I'll never forget.
  • Wrote and recorded 11 new original songs which will be released in 2016.
I could probably list a lot more details of stuff that happened during the year, but it would take too long. I'm so thankful to God for my family, friends and amazing #KANEIACS who have shown me so much support. I know 2016 will be incredible and I'm looking forward to sharing some details about new things you all can expect. There are some HUGE projects and announcements that I think you all will be as excited about as I am.


Friday, April 17, 2015


So Billy grew up going to McDonalds with his family. He absolutely loved the Kid's Meals and playing in the indoor playground when he visited the dining room. His family would make a trip through the drive-thru a few times each week and Billy's appetite for McDonald's french fries grew into a passion.

As Billy became a teen, he began experimenting in the kitchen with his own cooking of burgers and fries. His parents were intrigued one day when they smelled the aroma that spread through the house. His dad popped in and asked Billy what he was up to while seeing a basket of home cooked fries laying out on the counter. He sampled one. "Wow. These taste pretty good son. You made these yourself?" Billy nodded. His dad mentioned an upcoming county fair food contest that he should consider entering his food recipe because it was pretty good for a young teen just learning how to cook in the kitchen with no training or classes.

Billy took the chance and entered his best dish along with over 100 other teens in the county. The judges each sampled the entrants food and eventually selected Billy's as the runner up to an older teen who had been cooking for years and had formal training in culinary arts. The 2nd place finish earned him a $100 gift card. Billy was encouraged.

His friends and family were equally impressed and suggested he take his recipe and enter a national cooking contest in the big city next to his small home town. Billy did it. Out of over 120 other cooks Billy was the youngest and, like before, ended up 2nd place out of all of them, with a 27 year old taking first place. The judges praised his ability and skill in culinary arts at such a young age.

Billy was encouraged.

With the help of his parents, Billy asked if he could offer some free samples of his recipe to people from all around to see if the public, too, would appreciate his food. So the family set aside enough money to buy the ingredients and began to help him make up sample size meals that could be reheated and taste like it was fresh from the kitchen. They advertised on social media that he had the free samples available and to his amazement, thousands of people came and tried it out. Many came back throughout the week for more samples because they really liked it.

The family was a bit shocked. What was a casual experiment was looking like a promising future for Billy if he wanted to keep working at it. So, the family decided to focus more on Billy's skills in the kitchen and began to reach out to places beyond their county and state to see how his recipe would fair with other public members. Like before, they loved it. Except this time, the time, investment and people needed to keep up with the demand became quite expensive and the family needed to find several volunteers to aide in the process of simply making the recipe and many more volunteers to help deliver it to the distant locations.

Billy's parents couldn't continue to support providing the samples without having some way to get some sort of return on the investment. So Billy set up a website and offered for the public to buy his recipe for $1 per portion. Some people loved the recipe enough to buy 1, 3, 5 and even 10 portions at a time. But once the free samples were gone and he started charging for it, the demand dropped. Orders were very few.

Billy talked to his dad.

"I don't understand. When we were giving samples away, so many people came and got them and kept coming back. They all told me how much they loved my recipe. We even had a few calls from major restaurant chains in the country asking if I would be interested in coming to work for them as a chef. But now it looks like nobody is buying anymore and I'm not getting those calls," he told his dad.

Billy's dad decided to talk to a few restaurant and food company executives about how Billy could take his recipe and make a career from it. They, like the ones early on, all felt his recipe was unique and they could see how it would be accepted by the mass public. This excited Billy and his family. But when it came down to possibly hiring Billy, none of them offered. A few asked if he'd be willing to give them his recipe for free since they could handle the man power and money it would take to handle the demand that would happen once they announced to the public that Billy's recipe would be available in every city in the country. But Billy's parents refused to let his recipe be taken for free.

One day, Billy was in the local grocery store and saw shelves and shelves of premade food that looked similar and was made from very similar ingredients. It was then that he realized maybe he needed to change his formula a little since it seemed that he had competition that he didn't know about before. Billy tweaked his formula and sent it out as a free sample again.

And again, like the beginning, the public loved it and the demand skyrocketed for free samples. The family felt surely that this time they could keep up. The dad left his job and focused full time helping his son keep up with producing his new and improved recipe. They borrowed money to buy the ingredients and had to hire a few part time employees to help keep up with the deliveries since the volunteers they had from before were burnt out and not able to help again.

The newspaper and several culinary magazines did a few articles about Billy's recipe and his popularity spread around the country and even overseas. The internet and social media helped him find new potential customers for his recipe. However, the followers and friends on social media also loved the recipes of a few other young chefs like Billy and because those others were also just starting out and giving away their recipes for free, Billy was unable to convince most of them to buy his recipe when there were so many others willing to give theirs for free.

Billy was frustrated.

One day the phone rang and The Food Channel was calling and asking if Billy would be willing to feature on their weekly TV show "YOUNG CHEFS". Billy was shocked but humbled they would even consider him. His parents researched it and saw it as a great opportunity to show the whole country why his recipe was good. Surely, then, the viewers of the show would become customers for Billy's recipe.

Billy was still in school and doing his best to balance being a student and trying to work on becoming the best young chef in the country knowing the TV would give him the exposure. He worked it out with his school to finish his classes online so he could focus full time on making his recipe and traveling to the TV show. He left his friends and family and had to learn how to focus on his cooking more than what normal teens would be doing. The family supported him but they had since lost so much money they weren't sure how to keep his dream alive. The cost of travel and the ingredients and being on the TV show weren't possible to cover from his mom's job alone and the TV show wasn't offering him a paid role, but just all the exposure. It was their way of justifying not paying him or covering his expenses.

Before long, Billy's popularity became even more than ever before. Billy's Recipe became well known.

One evening, Billy's dad sat him down to explain that in order for Billy to continue trying to be a chef, he would need to find a way for his ingredients and travel to the TV show to be paid. Billy was doing all he could to finish his classes, be in the kitchen and still send out free samples to keep people interested in his recipe. He had already tried many times to ask the public to buy his recipe, but each time, they refused.

So Billy had to make a decision.

He would either pray his dream of becoming a chef which could support the costs for ingredients and the staff it would take to make the recipe would miraculously happen, or he would have to go get a job that would not allow him the time to make his recipe anymore.


This is what it's like to be an artist in the music industry.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


So this new album has 5 songs never released until this album and 5 songs that had previously been released as an EP before.

Two songs, SONG FOR LOVE and RUNWAY, were the most Pop R&B sounding that I released. However, there are two other songs I've not really talked about except at concerts.


This song is actually a cover song that was originally released in 2010 and written by the great producer Chuck Butler (who also recomposed the song for me and recorded with me at Sony in Nashville). The lyrics seem to be obvious if you listen, but they were impacting to me because I know a lot of people use words to hurt one another or to get back at each other in arguments. Especially on the internet, I find a lot of times when people comment or post words, they can be misunderstood or misinterpreted. I think it's sad that we don't choose to find words of encouragement and try to use our ability to speak LOVE instead of hate. Martin Luther King Jr. has been quoted a lot recently with his official holiday and also the movie SELMA that came out the past month. He used words to encourage, challenge and bring light to injustice. But sometimes people use words to bring about harsh judgment, hatred, insults and things that are not from a place of LOVE. I like this song for a few reasons. It's music arrangement is pretty good to dance to and the lyrics actually are important to me to share with other teens and young adults. Our words can either be fruit or poison, we can always choose what we say. Nobody but us is in control of our words.


This song is the first one I wrote that was intended to be more of a worship style and has lyrics that talk about how easy it is to get so caught up in your own life that you forget there are people around you that may be going through something equally or worse than you think you are. Having a heart which is focused on others and their well being is something we should all be focused to do. Our choices should be to care and love on others versus being self focused. The bridge of the song lyrics is my personal prayer about having a fire inside of me that takes over and oozes LOVE toward others. That's where I want to make sure I don't get so self-focused that I overlook the hurting ones around me. I like this music arrangement because it is still pop R&B but more laid back.

This album has been helpful to build my confidence and skill as an artist and song writer, but I always want to make sure that the reason why I choose to include certain songs or lyrics in my music can be something I share outside the paper sleeve in the CD case which has them printed out.