In small town Indiana there are not a lot of options for a young boy not really cut out for farming. So when I heard fellow Hoosier, John Mellencamp, sing “forget all about that macho s**t and learn how to play guitar!” That’s exactly what I did.
It all began for me in a small United Methodist church in Waldron, Indiana, Pop. 900. First singing in the church choir, then singing songs for the congregation with my guitar on Sunday mornings, I fell in love with music.
It was the late 70’s and early 80’s; popular music of the time was moving from the Punk era into New Wave. This music, combined with the church music I was playing, mixed with the country music of Willie Nelson, Roger Miller, Tom T. Hall, Waylon Jennings, and David Allen Coe that came blaring from the AM radios of the family car, Mom’s kitchen, and Dad’s workshop. I blame this for my strange and sometimes bewildering brand of songwriting. Go figure.
After a string of garage band mishaps, I went off to college at Ball State University to study music. Soon after beginning my music program, I flunked my piano final and was about to also fail music theory. Crushed and convinced I would never be able to make music; I switched majors to Radio and TV Production. I really enjoyed it and ended up winning two David Letterman production scholarships: one for a music video of one of my songs and another for an album project of my songs. I also spent the 4 years playing guitar for a contemporary Christian band, Lifeline. Even without being a music major, I was totally immersed in music and was loving it!
A few years after my undergrad, I started making regular treks to Nashville to learn what this music industry was all about. I got hooked. The first big lesson I learned was that the talent here was amazing and that they didn’t just learn how to play on their back porches. These folks know their stuff! It inspired me to go back to school again. Two years later, I got my Master’s in Music Technology from the IU School of Music – Take that, Ball State!
For the next five years I came to Nashville a couple times a month to meet people, play writer’s nights and co-write. The draw to Nashville got stronger and stronger and I knew if I wanted to make a real go if it, I had to move here.
So, here I am. Writing, singing, playing and having a blast. It doesn’t matter if I ever sell a song; I’m with my peeps and that’s what matters.
Hi Rhett, thanks for the friendship and good vibs let's get together and jam write
a song fellowship whatever, I play around Nashville somewhere every week www.myspace.com/artiportilla, God Bless, arti.