since i was a child i've always been around music; taught to appreciate the art form but only at a reasonable distance. my parents never let me listen to the radio or any kind of 'secular' music until i was well into high school. before that, in junior high, i recall making mix tapes from local radio stations during the day, and then lying in bed at night listening to all the pop hits of that time through a small, plastic walkman that i had received a few christmases earlier. third eye blind, counting crows, the verve pipe...these were the artists that first welcomed me into the world of meaningful pop music. the first album that i ever bought for myself was the counting crow's 'august and everything after' when i was a sophomore in highschool. it had already been out for several years at that point, but i can still remember sneaking it up to my room and listening to it very softly out of the dusty sony boombox in my bedroom; pouring over every melody and marveling over the lyrical genious in adam duritz; thinking, 'maybe i can do this someday?'. not that i think of myself now as important to music as adam duritz or the counting crows have been, nor do i even dare to compare myself to such talent, but thinking back on my earliest experiences with music, there is no doubt that those quiet moments spent alone in my bedroom shaped my desires and passions and gave me the hope to make my small mark on this world, one song at a time.