I was fortunate enough to be raised in a home where everyone was welcome and there was enough love for everyone. We often hosted exchange students from other countries and for both my brother and I, our house was the house that our friends always came to to hang out… or came to eat since my Mom is such a great cook. But one exchange student in particular was very special – a girl from Japan named Saori. Saori and I would stay up late talking about boys, play music together and just really enjoyed each others company. I was sad when she went back to Japan but we always kept in touch.

Some of my first memories as a child are of jazz festivals: hanging out backstage, dancing around in the audience, being mesmerized by the incredible legends on the stage. To me it all seemed as normal as going to summer camp or eating ice cream on a hot day. I loved the festival life – meeting new people, hearing new songs, trying new foods, sleeping in fancy hotels. Getting to do this every summer with my family was really a dream because it combined my two favorite things: music and family. Both of my parents worked with such talented and interesting people, the world of jazz and festival lifestyle feels like home.