I am so obsessed with ‘Drama’ – I have had it on repeat ever since hearing it! What was the creative process like for this song?
AJ: That's awesome! I'm so glad you love it! The lyric and melody just poured out pretty quickly. Then I started creating the track for it. I just knew I wanted the song to be as dramatic as possible, so I designed it to have a time signature shift at the chorus. My friend Lily Lane (she's an awesome artist too!) came over to help me track vocals and it was the most fun I've ever had tracking vocals. Honestly, I usually track by myself in my room, so it was awesome having someone I trust help vocal produce me.
You have released quite a few songs in the past couple of years. Which one would you say is your favorite? You can only pick one!
AJ: Why are you making me pick from my babies?! I think "We're All Gonna Die" because it was brutally honest. "Drama" is a close second :)
What is one of your favorite memories from performing? Or a favorite venue you have played at?
AJ: I once had the opportunity to open for Lindsey Stirling at Tyson's Center in Virginia. One of the largest crowds I've played to, with 2,000 people there, including my family and neighbors! But there was a moment during our last song when the whole crowd sang along during the last chorus. And keep in mind, 1,994 people there had probably never heard my music before. But they joined in and sang along and it was so magical. That memory has sustained me through many years of tough shows!
I read that you recently moved to Nashville. What was that like? How has living in Nashville influenced your music?
AJ: I love it here. There's such an incredibly supportive music community here that is unlike anywhere else I've traveled. And there's such a great work ethic here that I absolutely love and helps to keep me inspired.
Who have been some of your biggest influences?
AJ: Too many to name! So I'll just highlight one - Glenn Frey, who was one of my mentors before he passed. He taught me so much about songwriting. And I will always cherish our time in the studio together that completely changed how I thought about my songwriting.
What can we expect next in terms of your career? I cannot wait to hear more music from you!
AJ: More, more, more! You may have noticed I didn't release a ton of ballads this past year. It wasn't necessarily on purpose. But I've got some really powerful songs that I'm excited to release next year.
Interviewed By Kendall Koval