I started Fiddler Records when I was 16-years-old.

I released 25 records in ten years and worked with several artists that went on to sell hundreds of thousands of records. I released New Found Glory’s first EP, Dashboard Confessional’s first album and EP, and launched the debut of actress Juliette Lewis’ musical career—all while doing other radical musical things.



It seems silly to start at high school, but it’s pretty relevant. When I was a Junior at the MAST Academy (Maritime and Science Technology), I started frequenting local concerts. I enjoyed these concerts so much, that I went to a local all-ages venue and somehow convinced them to hire me. Initially I booked the local shows, but after a few months I was bringing in national acts. This was also the impetus for me to learn design. I loved making posters and flyers- I gave up sleeping for about a month to teach myself Photoshop. I spent two years at Cheers before it closed, and it was the best possible introduction to the music business I could have asked for.

[photo by Amy Fleisher]



Through booking shows, I met a band called Saves The Day. They asked me to be their tour manager, effective immediately. I took a leave of absence from The University of Miami and packed my bags for tour. I drove around the country with five new best friends. It was amazing to say the least.

[album photo by Bryan Newman, drummer, Saves The Day]



While I was at Vagrant Records, I signed Dashboard Confessional, and did A&R for Saves The Day and The Get Up Kids. However, after a year there, I missed running my label and I wanted to finish my college degree. So, I left Vagrant to attend The Art Center College Of Design and put as much of my free time back into my own label.

[my favorite photo of LA by Emily Shur]



Two semesters into Art Center, I signed a band called Recover and everything changed. My track record of working with bands that had proven successful had caught the attention of just about ever major American record label. I withdrew from college once again to pursue the ‘what if’ and within a few months I had signed a distribution deal with the Universal Music Group.

[Recover “My Only Cure" Fiddler Records #014 / directed by Andrew Curran / this is still my most favorite video I’ve worked on, the budget was $450]



This is the part that is kind of one big blur, but in a good way. I released more records, signed more bands, rubbed more elbows, made music videos, and got to travel the world, but I was literally run ragged. In 2006 I decided that it was time to close Fiddler’s doors. It was becoming near impossible to stay afloat as an independent label in a major-label world, all in the midst of the download crisis of the 2000’s. If I had to use a metaphor to explain the struggle, I’d say it was like treading water while someone punches you in the face. So, with a heavy heart, I closed Fiddler Records and started my next adventure.

[photo of me watching Dashboard Confessional at Madison Square Garden by Mike Dubin]



The closing of the label echoed through the grapevine and one morning I woke up with an email from a publishing company asking me if I’d be interested in running a magazine for them. I jumped head first into the publishing world and started Death + Taxes Magazine. Within three issues our circulation had reached 50,000. Death + Taxes was a music/pop-culture magazine that leaned heavily on personal stories and real interviews. I was with D+T for 18 months when I began to feel the desire to go back to college, again. So, in the fall of 2008, I returned to Art Center, to once and for all finish my degree.

[photo of Mark Hoppus of Blink 182 for a D+T cover by Nabil Elderkin]



When I resumed my studies at Art Center I knew I had made the right decision. Part of the pain of running your own business is that you rarely have time to explore and learn about new things, and that’s exactly what I did at school. I had some wonderful teachers (Roland Young, Scott Wilson, Rick Bursky) and two amazing mentors (Mikio Osaki and Elena Salij) that helped me carve out classes that were perfect for me. Going to Art Center is as close as you can get to feeling like you’re studying with Professor X at the Mutant Academy, without feeling too much like a comic book nerd. I also made the fun-filled decision after eight semesters on an art direction track to switch to copywriting. I truly love art direction and design, but there’s just something about writing…

[self portrait of me setting foot (once again) at Art Center]



After graduation I flew to New York for the One Show portfolio review. My book caught the attention of the creative recruiter at JWT, and within a month I moved to New York. If you made it this far and you want to take a look at my advertising portfolio, go right ahead. But, that’s it. I really never planned for any of this to happen. I never knew I’d be living in New York and working in advertising. Also, in addition to advertising-things, I still have a slew of ‘extra-curricular activities’. I have a new record label and I’m in the process of releasing a documentary film, as well as a few vinyl records. I work closely with a Breast Cancer Foundation called Shirts For A Cure (I create shirt designs for them). And of course, I have a blog… I take famous quotes and change them to be more fitting to my current thoughts and feelings. It’s fun to say the least.

[self portrait of me setting foot (once again) at Art Center]

© 2014. All rights reserved.