And he’s only just begun.
Person will headline our next Front Porch Session at Still Austin Whiskey Co. on Feb. 26. (Click here to buy tickets!) We sat down with him to chat about his start, his calling and the legacy he hopes to leave behind.
You sing, play guitar and write your own songs. What would you say to the accusation you’ve taken more than your fair share of talent?
I’ll say this—a lot of people are far more talented than I am. I’m still on my way. Playing an instrument, it’s something you’re constantly learning if you want to keep growing. It’s a lifelong journey—you’re always a student, always trying to improve.
You had a monthly residency at Houston’s House of Blues when you were just 15. How did that come about?
In middle school I was approached by some students when they found out I played, and they asked me to join their family band. The dad spoke to the person in charge of bookings at House of Blues and said we’d be a good fit to play regularly. And we started doing it. Eventually, the band members went their separate ways, but I wanted to keep doing music. So I took on the residency and did it solo for two years. Going back to House of Blues for my first album release was cool. It felt good to go back to the audience who got me started. There were a lot of comments like, “Oh, he’s grown so much.” It’s cool to have that reception.
At 24, you’ve been doing this professionally for nearly a decade. How did you go from playing as a creative outlet to knowing this was your calling?
I knew pretty early on. We moved to Houston from North Carolina when I was 13. Around that time, I was playing every day after school in my bedroom. I watched YouTube videos of people like John Mayer, Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan, and I knew I wanted to do that. I had no plan or strategy for how that was gonna happen. Getting approached by those students in seventh grade got me started playing out.
You know, it’s funny how we first connected. It was Career Day, and there happened to be an acoustic guitar in the cafeteria. I picked it up and started playing and singing. A crowd of students surrounded me. Their applause was my first indication of “Oh, wow! This is cool! I got a reaction out of people.”
You recently finished your first European tour and have a U.S. tour coming up. How are you feeling about life on the road?
Coming out of the pandemic, there was a period of learning to perform again. Some said people had been without music for 18 months, but I was playing every day. So I didn’t think I’d missed out on anything. But stepping back out on stage and getting that feedback from a live audience … that energy … I realized that was something I hadn’t felt in a very long time.
With that came the realization that it’s really about the audience. I spent 18 months thinking I had everything I needed, but the whole reason we’re playing is to interact with them. It helped me as a performer, because before I was just kind of on stage in my own world, doing my own thing.
Imagine—you’re in your 70s, your career is, for the most part, behind you. What’s the number one thing you hope to have achieved?
When I was in high school we did an assignment that asked, “In 10 years, what do you want to accomplish?” My answers were the two biggest things I care about—having a meaningful relationship, and having a successful career performing and doing music. I didn’t care about everything else that fell in between as long as those two things were there. That’s what’s important. I’ve now got both those things, and as time goes on, I just want to expand upon that.
The most important thing across the board are your relationships. At 70, I’d like to have made many meaningful, long-lasting relationships with other good people, produced a lot of great music and had a positive impact as a result of my actions throughout my life.