In the Spring of 2013, I wrote and recorded an optimistic anthem about keeping the faith that there’s someone out there for each of us. I wrote “Somebody 4 Everybody” with my friend and collaborator, producer and DJ Mark Picchiotti. To promote the song, I produced a music video that depicted a modern day Dating Game like show showcasing gay, lesbian, and straight contestant episodes. At the end of the video, it’s revealed who ends up with who with some unpredictable conclusions. I really loved the message of that song and had thought that I’d like to expand upon it. When I released “S4E”, I was madly in love. I started writing a batch of new songs expressing how happy in love I was at the time. I wanted to share my happiness with the world. A couple weeks into working on my new album, my relationship ended abruptly, without warning. I was devastated. I found it difficult to access a lot of loving emotions to finish the new songs in the way I originally intended. Around this time, I wrote “Constantly”, which I felt was one of my most personal and emotionally raw songs that I had ever written. I knew at that moment that my new project had to go into a new direction. I had been toying with the idea of writing a musical for a long time; and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to merge my 2 worlds of pop music and musical theatre into a cohesive one. I continued writing these new songs while keeping the new trajectory in mind…a single narrative that tells the story of one man’s journey thru love, heartbreak, and healing. Originally I had thought of doing 3 music videos to tell the complete story, a trilogy of sorts. I then met with Ben Pollack, who I worked with on “Trust Me”, my most successful video to date. I ran the concept by him and he was immediately onboard to direct. I then launched a Kickstarter campaign to help raise funds to complete the new album and 3 music videos. Being a self financed, indie artist was expensive. I knew in order for me to produce this project the way people expected me to, I'd need some assistance. I did in fact reach my goal, thanks to my loyal supporters. By the time the campaign funded, I began to flesh out this whole concept. It became clear to me that I wanted to include the rest of the songs on the album into this musical storytelling. Ben and I had the idea of incorporating all of the songs in an edited form to fill out the narrative. I flew to NYC to finish writing with my long time producer and collaborator, Andy Zulla. He had just finished 2 seasons on NBC’s Smash, so he was very experienced with producing music that was intended for a more theatrical format. I had spent years working on Broadway and have spent my life in the theatre and have such an appreciation and affection for the medium. I admit there have been times that I felt like musical theatre hadn’t evolved musically as much as I wished it would. It also gets a bad rap, in my opinion. Many feel that it’s corny, cheesy, and old fashioned. I made a commitment that when the time came for me to write a musical, I would wanna accomplish two missions. The songs would of course all service the piece and continue to move the story forward (that is of course the most important mission). But I also wanted to write these songs so they could each stand on their own independently without the narrative framework. I wanted them to work equally as well within the confines of the theatrical experience as on the radio. I kept that firmly in mind when writing hopefulROMANTIC. While finishing up the songs, Ben and I began to hone in on the specifics of this story we wanted to tell. We had the idea to have someone in the film depict a mentor like figure to me. That person should be someone that reaches beyond all boundaries and is beloved by everyone. The first choice for both of us was George Takei. He embodied everything that I wanted this figure to convey. I reached out to my dear friend, Stafford Arima, who just directed George’s upcoming show, Allegiance. Stafford was generous enough to do an email intro and I sent George a demo of “Constantly” and a simple synopsis of the concept. He quickly signed on and it began to dawn on me that this dream project was actually becoming a reality. I was beside myself. There were 2 other principal roles to cast so I reached out to my real life best friend, Jolie Jenkins to portray my bff and Chuck Saculla, (coincidentally, a real life ex of mine), to play my boyfriend. When Ben secured the location for the shoot, I knew that a kismet force was at work. We shot the entire film in the Malibu home that was originally owned by the Captain & Tennille, my first musical obsession as a kid. I do not use the word obsession lightly. They were EVERYTHING to me between the ages of 5-8 years old. My parents can attest to this. LOL The week of the shoot was the most exhausting and most unbelievable week of my life. It was an incredibly loving, inspiring, special 6 days that I will never forget. It felt like a true labor of love for everyone involved, not just me. There was an energy on set that I had never experienced before. So much love. Once we wrapped that week, I had to complete the musical elements. Two weeks before shooting began, I came down with bronchitis and was unable to complete the final vocals for a few of the songs. That was first priority….get these songs completed. That month following the shoot, we completed the vocals and Andy worked on getting the musical components completed (we have live strings, drums, guitars, and piano on every song). I wanted these songs to have more weight and more organic qualities than my prior recordings and Andy knocked it outta the park. I can’t say enough good things about this guy. Our collaboration process is so effortless and I always know it’s gonna sound better than I could ever imagine. He doesn’t have a Grammy and Emmy for nothin’. He’s brilliant. As we were finishing up the musical side of the production, we were deep into the editing process, which was a massive undertaking. It was imperative to me that this story be told in a unique way. It was a musical; but I didn’t want it to be presented like a traditional movie musical. I wanted it to feel like a series of short music videos that would link together to tell one cohesive narrative. I wanted the audience to feel at ease from the beginning. As much as I wanted people to experience a new format in musical storytelling, I also wanted it to feel somewhat familiar. I know a lot of people have a difficult time buying into a story that breaks into song out of nowhere. Yet ironically most don’t mind a music video with a heavy narrative driving it. So approaching the final cut of the film, that idea was priority. It was most important to tell this story with a quick and fresh approach. The minute we tell this emotional story in an overly sentimental way, we’re dead. I mean, the word "romantic" is in the title...I think people will assume it's emotional. No need to spoon feed that to them. They'll get it. With that revelation, came cuts. The film was over 20 minutes when we finished the first cut. A couple months and revisions later, we have a lean 16 minute musical journey that I hope many will relate to. I couldn't be more grateful for my talented team that helped bring this vision to life: from Chris Ekstein's beautiful cinematography, Ashley Leung's thoughtful art direction, my director Ben Pollack for helping shape the narrative and for being one of the kindest, and most sensitive "ring leaders" I have ever worked with. Lastly, I cannot praise the stellar work by my editor, Katheryn Rupert enough. She's a rockstar and one of the sweetest people that I have ever had the good fortune to work with. Our edit sessions were nothing but pure joy and I'm eternally indebted to her. In the end, the film features every song (in an edited form) from my new album. In addition, that "S4E" music video that inspired this entire project is actually the thread that ties the songs together....while reinforcing the message that there's somebody for everybody out there. Is this a music video? Not really. Is this a musical? Well, sort of. I think hopefulROMANTIC is best described as simply a universal story about love....with music as its guide.