My Musical Journey

I got my first taste of the music biz when my band of fellow 9th-graders scored a gig playing in an auto repair shop for a crew of beer-drinking mechanics at the end of their shift. As our first song concluded... silence. Until a guy named Roger hollered, "Tune yer #@$& guitar!" After that humble (and humbling) beginning, and lots more after-school rehearsal, my band THE RITZ eventually forged an identity as one of the region's top acts. Our first single, released when we were still in high school, scored airplay on a few radio stations and became a jukebox favorite in pizza parlors and teen centers. Years of touring eventually followed, entailing thousands of shows all over the US and Canada. I have appeared as a guest vocalist on other artists' recording projects, various specialty CD's, and have sung on a few advertising jingles. My tunes have been featured in two indie films, I've written music for Chicago's Second City Theater, my songs have been featured on NBC-TV (KARE 11), in episodes of 'A Taste of History' on PBS and 'Mare of Eastown' on HBO, and other shows. I appeared as a lead vocalist on the Target Corporation CD Praise & Worship Christmas (32,000 copies sold) and am the recipient of a Billboard Musical Achievement Award. Still, my greatest achievement is simply having been able to entertain, encourage and enrich other people by sharing the musical gifts with which I've been blessed. I recorded my first album, Everybody & Their Brother in 2002. My sophomore set, Then Went the Demons was released in 2006. In 2014, my band FROM ORDINARY debuted the album 211 Degrees, which was largely funded through a successful Kickstarter campaign. After years of people asking me to record a Holiday album, in 2015 I released 'Christmas Peace' and its follow-up 'Christmas Hope' in 2020. I’ve also released several singles. In 2018, I released a best-of collection entitled The Road So Far, which brings together 18 favorite selections spanning my 20+ year recording career. My latest record is Spiritfruit, and is the first album I wrote, performed and produced in my own home studio. It was a labor of love, and I feel it's my most creative and enjoyable work yet. My songs have gotten airplay on radio stations across the US and around the world... Pretty cool, but it hasn't changed my life all that much... I still do my own laundry:) You can catch me performing in solo shows, or my music duo COSTELLO & HIPPS, or in my Spirit-fueled rock band FROM ORDINARY, depending on the venue and type of event. I take great pleasure in occasionally serving as a guest music worship leader at various churches, and my associations with the MN Assistance Council for Veterans, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Crossroads Chapel at the MN State Fair, North Memorial Hospital/The Humphrey Cancer Center and other charitable causes and ministries. One of the major turning points in my life & career: I underwent a kidney transplant 27 years ago. After being diagnosed with chronic kidney failure, I lost my health, my singing voice, and my hope for a future. My sister donated a kidney and God performed a miracle (that's what he does). I got a second chance, and I'm trying to make the most of it. In fact, I wrote a song about the experience entitled, "Second Chance", which the MN Kidney Foundation used as their official theme song. Not long after, I was asked to perform that song (and a few others) and tell my story in the rotunda at the Mall of America, and I happily obliged. Any time I'm asked to share a bit of myself through music, more often than not I'm going to take the gig!