Camp Stories

The camper in Nathan remembers plenty of times when the experience didn't quite match the brochure, and looking back, that's a good thing. Over the years, Nathan was a youth leader at camps for kids across the country. In a single week at a camp in Texas, over 100 middle school kids bonded through playing and singing songs in praise of God. Among the lakes and trees, there were plenty of spaces where, as Nathan likes to say, "we connect and bond so quickly, where you really enjoy nature and find the God within us without the outside noise of televisions or computers."

Okay, so there were a few bugs flying near his face while trying to sleep at night in a cabin with no air conditioning. And there was that time when a kid accidentally stuck a fishing hook completely through his thumb (don't ask). At a national youth event, Nathan was the Director of the Choir for over 100 youth who sang from their hearts. He remembers looking at the crowd of 1,000 kids, thinking "they all bring different gifts, different needs, different hurts, and all there together to celebrate them. We're all a child of God." Nathan has also traveled on several mission trips, like the one to Venezuela while in the eighth grade. The mission? Concrete streets. The work was hard, but thanks to a shared relationship with God, communicating with the locals was magical. After his experience conducting from the pews (see below), but before college, Nathan's true calling to God and his connection as a disciple of Christ came as a camper at Tall Oaks. As far as the eye could see, there was nothing but God's natural creations. Camp featured plenty of time for singing, worshipping and truly experiencing God. It was here that Nathan heard his calling to music ministry. And the rest of the story? Read on…

The Q's and A's

It all started when Nathan was a youngster conducting the church choirs from the pews. By the fifth grade, that love of music grew to include playing bass and piano. Thanks to a life-changing experience at Tall Oaks camp in the eighth grade, Nathan connected as a disciple of Christ and heard his calling for music ministry. While attending Northwest Missouri State University, he picked up the guitar and has been playing and singing ever since. Not long after graduation, Nathan had played countless venues, leading up to the Grand Emporium and Beaumont Club in Kansas City, where his show was crashed by none other than country stars Big and Rich. Nathan released his first EP, "Waiting for Now" in Nashville. The next step? A trip to L.A. to record his first LP in the coming months.

In the meantime, listen in on the conversation below for a few more tidbits about Nathan.
Q: What makes a song great?
A: The song must take me somewhere... must inspire, or push, or aggravate, or leave me with a thought. Songs are extensions of people, which have more than one dimension... a great song must find its way weaving through the person, the harmonic, melodic, and the joy of just a song you can sing.

Q: How do you come up with a song?
A: Songs for me come out of moments... being touched with a feeling or emotion.  I don't write in a few lines, but songs come in whole forms.  Just recently I have been able to come back to a song that was written months or a year or two before and look at it with different eyes and ears... but they normally come in a wave.  It is something that touches me and moves me to tell the story... and then literally, normally in 30 minutes or less, the basis for the song is formed.  Then I tinker, adjust, evaluate, and play it over and over until it fits like my favorite jeans... (so corny.. but so true... over and over!)

Q: What place would you visit and why?
A: I have really had the joy and great pleasure of traveling pretty extensively throughout the United States with doing church camps, regional, and national events. I have been to Costa Rica, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Paris... and all but three or four states in the US.  So, for the city which gives me energy and the chaos (ying) it would be Barcelona, and I would go back to Montana or Northwest Washington for the peace, the green grass, the mountains, and the seclusion that provides that angst (yang), the desperation, and sadness and the calm that I need as a writer.

And here are just a few other facts about Nathan:
Family includes his amazing wife Stacy and two dogs, Bo and Bella
Experiences include peace missions to South America and Costa Rica
Enjoys biking and running
Secretly watches Project Runway
Avid cook (has all the equipment, the cuts and burns to prove it)
Wine fanatic (especially Washington State or Oregon Pinot Noir)
Musical tastes range from Chopin, Ray Charles, opera, Norah Jones to Metallica, along with singer/songwriters Jason Mraz and John Mayer

Stay tuned…