It started with the trumpet.

I wouldn’t say I grew up in a musical household, but my father did love to sing. He only sang in church, and my mother sang in the choir. One summer day, just before I was going into the third grade, I heard a trumpet. We housed six young men who were going to Alabama State, and one of them was practicing his trumpet. I thought it was the sweetest sound I ever heard in my life.

I told my dad I wanted to learn how to play the trumpet, so he took me to rent a trumpet from the local music store. I had one lesson with the band director at the local high school a block from my house. He died the next day. (No correlation, I hope!)

However, I did continue playing the trumpet from third grade through my eighth grade year, then switched to baritone horn throughout high school before changing to singing in college.

Today there is a piano at my house, which I play—but not necessarily for public consumption.