OK, why am I releasing my first vocal album ever at this stage in my life? I think a good deal of the blame lies with my friends. You see, I try to be supportive and encourage others in their creative endeavors and they get nasty and just throw all that right back in my face! I mean look at what my friend Markus Black wrote on his website when he released his first vocal album:
“I have a friend, his name is Brian. We have written quite a lot of songs together over the last 15 years or so. All of them for other artists.
See, that’s what I have been doing all my life – writing, producing, playing and mixing for other artists. I am one of those behind-the-scenes-dudes who never show their face in public. Until now.
And it’s all Brian’s fault.
One day, a couple of years ago, Brian asked me “so when is your album coming, Markus…?”. My first answer was short and simple. “Never”. Followed by “why on earth should I make a solo-album and pretend to be an artist?”. Brian said “‘because you can!”.
Sure, I can… but I have worked with many extremely talented singers over the years and I can tell you that stepping up to the vocal microphone when you’re used to being on the other side of the glass feels a little like walking on thin ice. So it took a while to digest the idea. But Brian would not give up, he kept asking me about how my album is coming along. Many times.”
So Markus finally releases his vocal album and then this so-called “friend” of mine has the nerve to write:
“So, when is your album coming, Brian?”
I have another friend named Andreas Aleman and he is even more straight to the point: “Just do it,” he says, and tells me he can give me a reason to do my album in two words, after which he mentions the name of an artist we both love to hate. And then he even expects me to mix it myself!
So you see what I’ve been up against…
And then there are my songwriting students… “when are we going to hear YOUR singer-songwriter album?”
It’s been unbearable and so I finally cracked. And that is the background to how GENESIS OF WHO I AM came about.
The songs on the album include songs I’ve written over the last 40 years. Yes, one of them was written my first year in college, others 20 years ago, a few 10 years ago, and a couple in the last year or so. They’re all me and hopefully they give an indication of who I am, complete with all the flaws and blemishes, the humor and the melancholy, the hope and the despair.
And now comes the part where I say thanks to the people who helped me with the project. Please don’t skip this part because these people mean a lot to me and they deserve every bit of praise I’m about to lay on them.
Andreas Aleman for all his technical help and encouragement and for just being a great friend. Ditto for Markus Black. Thanks to Ron Boustead for his support and his great ears and mastering work. Even though all the songs on this album were written by me, I have to thank all the fantastic co-writers I’ve worked with over the years for teaching me so much about the craft of songwriting. I’ve had too many fantastic collaborators to name here but I think you know who you are. Thanks!
Thanks to all the musicians who played on this album; Jonas Olofsson, Ola Hultgren, Mikko Paavolo, Peter Hallgren, Wojtek Goral, Jonas Gideon, Karolina Karner, Teresa Perrelli, Felicia Eriksson, and a very special thanks to Andreas Rydman. His guitar work on this album was outstanding and he somehow knew exactly what I was looking for even when I didn’t! Every one of these musicians were fantastic, generous and gracious. My humblest thanks to you all.
Thanks to John Jacobson for the photography and layout work.
Thanks to Mikael Engström for writing the liner notes and always supporting my music.
There are many others I’d like to thank for their support in my musical endeavors: David Albert, Donald McCoy, Scott Gross, my extended family in North Carolina, my family in Sweden, and my friends all over the world; my teachers; Bill O’Connell, Skip Kennon, Wes and Rachel Gragson, and those who are no longer with us like Scott Callaway and Jeanne Milbrath.
And lastly, I want to thank all my former and current songwriting students; by working with you I have become a better writer and a better person. Thank you all for being my teacher.