Artist Exclusive // Sincerely, Iris

With an album release just around the corner, Sincerely, Iris is making serious moves in his music career! On and off the road, he's the real deal when it comes to honing his craft while staying true to himself.

Describe your vibe:

Road Trip Music. I've lived in about 7 different states in the past 15 years or so. I think my music represents hitting the road and heading into the great unknown. Tom Petty meets Jeff Buckley on a homemade license plate guitar.

Where do you find inspiration:

All over the place. I grew up listening to classic rock and early nineties music. When I went to college I studied jazz guitar. I don't think it's a style that I'll ever master, but I visit it now and then to borrow a cool idea and apply it to a song.

My mom and cousin gave me a homemade 4 string license plate guitar for Christmas a few years ago. I use it at every gig. I think that the limitations of that instrument have really taken my music in a much different direction these past few years. I couldn't rely on all of the tricks that I knew on a regular guitar. It forced me to get creative in new ways.

The last album "Trouble" was about a lot of characters outside of myself. I wrote a song about Bonnie and Clyde and Mark Twain. I wanted to mix things up a bit. The cool part about that process is you end up sneaking things about yourself into the song that you don't even notice.

This new album "I'm Not the Same" is much more autobiographical. The title track was a catalyst for the the entire album. I took it to a producer to mix the song initially and I'm not sure if he didn't like the song or was just too busy, but he bailed on me. He wouldn't work on it. That rejection sort of lit a fire in me and I finished it with a different producer. That same song made me a finalist in the International Acoustic Music Awards this year. In a way, these songs represent pushing through that self doubt and rejection that we all go through.

What advice do you have for musicians?

Never quit and just be yourself. I love what Thelonious Monk said: "A genius is the one most like himself." I feel like that's the one way you can avoid being discouraged by competition in the music industry. I mean there are a million 9-year old guitar players who are better than you on Instagram. So the only way to beat that is to be the most pure version of yourself.

Also, there's nothing wrong with being DIY. No one is going to care as much about your music as you do. You can make a living off of music being DIY and that's pretty exciting to me. It takes a lot of hard work, but I think its worth it if you love it. I generally get one "yes" for every 10 "no's" in the industry. So in other words, you might not get 10 yeses until you've sent out 90 emails!

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