Being a musician is easily one of the greatest blessings of my life. There are countless variations of a single sentiment that expresses the magical capacity of music to affect our lives. "Music gives a soul to the universe." Plato. "Music is the language of the soul." Hazrat Khan. "Music is...proof of the existence of God." Kurt Vonnegut.

Unfortunately, the human ego can make a pure and beautiful thing quite complicated.

When I was a kid in Dallas, Texas, about 12 years old, my parents bought me my first guitar and my life changed forever. A few years later I was trying to write my first songs. What proved most challenging then is what still proves most challenging to this day, some 30 years later. "What does my own voice have to say in the language of the soul? And why?"

Here is the best answer I have come up with.

It's nearly impossible as a human, especially in our modern society, to completely avoid the pitfalls of the ego. It is also nearly impossible to create art without the influence of other artists. The trick is to trust there is a purpose to your own voice, even if you don't understand that continually work to fine tune the signal you are receiving from your internal make sure that the voice you are using is as close as possible to the true voice within you. This is a lifelong pursuit.

As for the matter of style and influence in the act of creation, take no shame in finding inspiration, even borrowing, from those whose voices you find to be pure. They certainly did as well.

Ultimately, be grateful to speak the language of the soul. Broadcast your voice out into the universe. Let go, release, start again, and come what may.