I come from a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa called Waukee, where I grew up listening to Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and John Prine. I discovered Jazz through my first teacher, Willie James Shay, contemporary to Booker T and Joni Mitchell, who introduced me to Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, and Jim Hall, and the history of this great music. After my mother forced me onstage at a jam session, I found a family with the Des Moines Community Jazz Center, where I met many friends and mentors including, Abe Goldstien, Sam Salomone, Phyllis Leaverton, Nadine Calhoun, and David Altimeier, who encouraged me to love and share this music. In high school, John Albaugh, former educator at the Musician's Institute, provided a valuable education in not only how to play guitar, but how to listen. At the University of Iowa, I studied Jazz under the mentorship of Steve Grismore and Damani Phillips, where I also earned my degree in International Relations with an emphasis in anthropology and transnational issues.
In 2022 I graduated from the University of Iowa again with a Master's Degree in Ethnomusicology, specializing in issues of race, gender, community, and improvisation. I also moved North to the Twin Cities, where I currently live, teach, and play.