002. stronger.

this is the start of the first season of UNrefined. the first season is called “YOUR Love Is…” and this song is called Stronger. here is the story:

i had just graduated college. i finally earned that slip of paper that confirmed years of hard work. it told me that i was valuable and that i should be successful. i made all my plans and started my journey towards that success. i thought i was doing pretty good, but then…it all caught up with me. the depression, the anxiety, the lies…everything that i had been running from and tried to bury deep inside of me took me down. i spiraled and couldn’t get out of it.

it was there that GOD showed me i had been looking for love and life in all of the wrong places. HE alone is the source of true love and true life. anything and anyone else will leave one completely empty and broken.

i had to face my depravity without GOD to see my desperate need for HIM. it’s an amazing and terrifying thing to realize you are nothing without HIM. it’s not that i need GOD because i think i need GOD; i need GOD because HE designed me to need HIM.

i began this road of relationship with HIM. as i started to walk away from everything i used to believe, i had this vision:

i’m in a valley. the sun is setting. all i can see in front of me is a storm on the horizon. it is fierce; wild; completely out of control, rushing straight toward me. i know there is no escape. i couldn’t out run it if i tried. i am terrified, and yet, captivated by the beauty of the chaos. it is coming closer and closer. so i start running toward it.

i knew that, in moving forward, life wasn’t about to get easier. it was in fact, going to get much harder. in this storm, i could see the past, the fears, the lies, everything i had been running from. i didn’t want to face it. but i knew one thing – in the storm is where HE was. HE was calling me into it.

i started going to counseling. HE started working the lies out of me and guided me into truth. at my church, we started going through a series called the comeback, which was further encouragement to me to push forward. i started trusting HIM and believing HE is who HE says HE is. i started to believe that HE actually does love me.

and that’s where this song came from. HE gave me this as an anthem to sing in the storm. this song is a promise to me that HIS love is stronger than anything i will ever face. it is a promise to me that HIS love is stronger than my own strength, specifically, my ability to outrun HIM.

i used to think that pain was bad. i spent my whole life trying to avoid pain. but the truth of the matter is, pain is good. pain tells us that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. for so long, i avoided the pain (the storm) inside of me. but in encountering GOD, HE showed me that HE can and will faithfully lead me through it. that HE is stronger. no, that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. but HE is able. and it is worth it.

do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and CHRIST’s love for us? there is no way! not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in scripture…none of this fazes us because JESUS loves us. i’m absolutely convinced that nothing - nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable - absolutely nothing can get between us and GOD’s love because of the way that JESUS our MASTER has embraced us.
— romans 8:35-39

whatever you’re going through, HIS love is stronger. i can guarantee it. hold on to HIS promises. i pray this song may be an anthem to you, as it has been for me.

you can listen to the song right here:

you can also buy it on iTunes, or listen to it on Spotify.

there are several people i have to thank for aiding in the creation of this song.

to Hannah Humphries – you brought this song to life. you didn’t merely perform this song; you worshipped in spirit and in truth. i am so honored to have worked with you. HIS love is stronger. thank you for everything.

to Olivia Becker – you were there for almost every step of this journey. thank you for constantly listening, being my creative wall to bounce everything off of, and for the killer back ground vocals. you’re awesome.

to Jarryd Wallace – thank you letting me crash at your place all those times so i could write. thank you for encouraging me and walking through the storm with me. thank you for living a life that says HIS love is stronger. i honestly don’t think this song would have been written if it wasn’t for you.

to Julia Rivera – for always listening to every draft i sent you, for telling me it was good (even if it wasn’t), and for your continual support through this. i am so thankful for you.

to Michael Maiocco – for always doing my album artwork, and for consistently telling me to keep going, even when i didn’t want to. you’re the best.

and lastly, to GOD – thank you for this anthem. i pray that it may be an anthem to others. i give it to YOU.

thanks for reading.



001. origins.

everyone has a story. and everyone loves a good story. we are hardwired for stories. they show who people are, what they’re about, where they’ve come from, and most importantly, where they’re going.

i want to share with you some of mine and GOD’s story. i’m going to keep it brief, so if you’d like the full picture, let’s go grab coffee or something.

i write music. it’s like, what i do. i went to school for it, totally immersed myself into that world, and had big dreams of becoming the next hollywood blockbuster hot-shot film composer. but then last year, when i finished school, i hit rock bottom. like, hardcore. it was more than just the post-college-grad-millennial-slump that plagues my generation. it was a complete dead end. after months of denying i was struggling, i finally admitted i couldn’t do it on my own and that i needed help.

so that’s where GOD came in. HE picked me up. brushed me off. told me that i’d been looking for love and life in all of the wrong places, and that HE alone is love and life. HE asked me to give HIM a chance and trust HIM to be the source of my love and life. and HE’s completely transformed me, my heart, and my life. it’s been amazing. HE’s amazing.

throughout the midst of it, i wrote songs to help me process everything i was encountering. i didn’t share them with anyone except for two of my closest friends. 

then HE told me - find vocalists, produce the songs, and release them to the public. honestly, i didn’t want to. the songs i had written were really just for me and HIM. but HE wouldn’t let me say no. so, here we are. UNrefined was born.

unrefined means “something that is not pure or perfected”. and that’s me. i am unrefined. i totally relate to Paul when he says:

not that i have already obtained this or am already perfect, but i press on…because CHRIST JESUS has made me HIS own. brothers, i do not consider that i have made it…but one thing i do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, i press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of GOD in CHRIST JESUS.
— philippians 3:12-14

i’m not perfect. i’m far from it. i haven’t “made it”. i’m not “there” yet, wherever there is. but i’m pressing on, cause JESUS. and this is just part of that journey.

UNrefined is the “artist name” that i’ve decided to release all of this music under. it’s a music collective. there really are no “official” members. i write the songs, find the vocalists, produce the tracks.

i would love to sit down and produce album after album, but i can’t. i don’t have the time or resources. so i’m going to release the songs as i finish them, one song at a time. instead of doing albums or EPs, I’m going to do seasons. (more on that to come.)

thanks for taking the time to be on this journey with me. it’ll be fun. :)