I recently did an interview on Rock Talk USA with Aimee. We talked about my first EP, musical inspiration, and a bunch of other stuff, music and non-music related. She’s a really great host, with a really great show. She was cool enough to play three of my songs after the interview.

You can check it out here.

A big thanks to her for having me on.

Don’t miss her show every Tuesday night on Armed Radio, or stream it on her website shortly after at rocktalkusa.com.

Unlearned Lessons is the title of my first release, a five-song EP I recorded in the Spring of 2018. Some of the songs were written in whole or in part a while back – like a decade. Nonetheless, they seem to have timeless relevance to me. That’s where the significance of the title comes from.

Unlearned Lessons was pulled from one of the tracks on the EP called “Into the Waves.” The full line in that song is:

“We all still feel it, subtle heat. Unlearned lessons, always repeat.”

The song as a whole is about growing up and feeling the pressure of so many different aspects of life, and getting fed up to where you just want to get away from it all. In the chorus, I use surfing as a metaphor for escape, singing “I just want to jump into the waves.”  Surfing’s my metaphor, but the line itself represents anything that helps you get away from the seemingly endless challenges we all have to deal with.

It seems that until we figure out how to remove ourselves from whatever cycle we’re playing out, and find a way to move past the continuous and familiar problems we face time and time again, there is only temporary escape in whatever you do to get through it. Until you understand why you’re going through the same patterns and what’s at the root of it, your “unlearned lessons” will always repeat.

The line and the idea really hit home for me. So much so that I wanted to use it as the name of my first EP. I hope it’s just as significant in your own experience as in mine, and that the music resonates with you in a meaningful way.

But really, I’ll just be happy if you think it rocks.



A very cool review of my song “The Rebel Inside.” Check out the other songs reviewed here as well. They rock.

Mind Noise Network

Ey up! Today James takes the reigns on our daily singles review, picking out a fresh batch of talent worthy of your listening attention. While you’re out enjoying the bank holiday weekend, he’s been sat digging through new music all day, nothing but love eh!

Chio – The Rebel Inside


Allow ‘The Rebel Inside’ a good minute or so to really kick in, while the initial opening of Chio‘s US radio rock sound didn’t really do much to win me over, once that chorus starts, man, it’s like a different song altogether. What’s more impressive was finding out that Chio is just a one man rock and roll operation, and with writing choruses as big as this, it won’t be long before he’ll be getting noticed further. Chio’s new EP Unlearned Lessons is available on all media platforms, check it out! For…

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One of the challenges I had while bringing my songs to life was identifying where they fit in on the musical spectrum. I know I play rock music. Yeah, it gets a little softer here and heavier there, and sometimes a little more abstract…maybe less alt rock, more classic rock at times. But “rock” is a broad genre and I think I fit comfortably within it.

People continue to ask specifically what artists my music sounds like. Fair enough, it’s not available for you to hear yet, but I’m usually at a loss with that question.

I had come up with some answers, but nothing that felt accurate. I also didn’t like to try to fit what I did into some other artist’s slot. That’s missing the whole point of writing original music.

I have influences. Tons of them. But I never want to imitate, replicate or steer too close towards someone else’s creations. Otherwise I might as well just play their songs.

Writing original music should come from a place that’s all your own. Sure, it’s going to reflect things that you enjoy, but you should direct and filter it as little as possible, because your value as a creator is in your unadulterated originality.

Unless you’re gunning to be signed as a pop artist, as an independent musician, you have the freedom to not sound like anyone else, and do it with a smile on. And that’s exactly what you should do. And I hope that’s what I’ve done.

Soon enough, I’ll find out.



Things have changed over the past decade. Technology has transformed how we interact, how we do business and how we share creativity. It changed everything about the music industry, with widely available information, cheap distribution and home recording gear that sounds as good as any professional studio. DIY is the way to go for many musicians and creatives. After that, and putting aside the actual quality of what you’ve created, whatever happens is a function of marketing and good luck.

I did a lot of reading to gain as much insight as I could on how to go about recording and releasing my own music in the most professional and cost effective way, since that’s what we are all aiming for as indie musicians.

But once you get past that point, as a new, independent artist, how do you measure success? Is it sales? Likes? Follows?

Those things are cool, but I’m not sure any one of them really hits home for the purists. Most of us, though now functioning in this new internet-centric day and age, didn’t grow up in it. When we were first entranced by a chorus or a guitar lick, there wasn’t any way to quantify it. There was no social media, YouTube views or trending artists. Sure, you could look up album sales, but I doubt you cared about that. What mattered was the feeling you got from it.

There was just you and the feeling.

It’s the same feeling you get now when you find the right chord, or the right rhyme, or the right order of tracks. The same feeling of playing a song you love before an audience that is happy to hear it.

The compass that guided you here, will surely take you all the way to where you’re meant to go.

Measuring success by the feeling you get from what you’re doing is independent from anything or anyone else. There is no one to agree or disagree with, no numbers to compare, and there’s no limit on how successful you can be or who can be successful with you. That doesn’t make it inaccurate though. In fact, it’s the most accurate measure of success you can find, because it applies to everyone in this creative space.

If you’re true to yourself, playing the music you want, how you want, when you want, you’ll always have that feeling. And as long as you have that feeling, you’ll have success.



No, that’s not the amount of money I’d like to make once I release my first EP.

It’s the title of one of my favorite TV Shows, which I was actually lucky enough to work on as a background actor last year. It stars Paul Giamatti and Damien Lewis, a U.S. Attorney and hedge fund manager, respectively, who battle personally and professionally, constantly grappling with morality, self-preservation and their own egos. But the excellence of the plot is not why I wrote this.

I wrote this for a quote in a recent episode which really struck a chord with me.

A young lawyer trying to take down Damien Lewis’ billionaire character encounters tough opposition from a judge when he tries to show he has a real case against the billionaire. While seeming to be against the young lawyer in open court, in the privacy of the judge’s chambers, the judge reveals that he appreciates the young lawyer’s passion for justice, and does not want him to get discouraged, telling him:

“The world has lost countless artists who quit because they cared too much to come up short, and yet also too much to keep going.”

Caring too much to come up short, and yet too much to keep going.

It’s a brilliantly stated dichotomy that many of us struggle with in different aspects of life, especially in creative pursuits.

For me, at some point the scales tipped from not wanting to deal with all the trouble that comes with pursuing your creativity, towards feeling like I had no choice but to play music, as if my life wouldn’t ever quite function properly if I didn’t. And if that latter part is presumed true, is that because it is in fact a calling, or is it merely an addiction-like disease some of us are afflicted with?

I’ve spent plenty of time trying to figure that out. But it’s a trick question. The answer doesn’t matter, because the result is the same. Either way, you have to follow the path and see where it leads.