This past year, I had the chance to sit down with my good friend, Jon Phelps, for his podcast, PhelpsCast. He’s featuredĀ a lot of really great artists out of the Southwest Virginia area (Abingdon/Bristol). If you’ve ever been to a production at the Barter, then you might recognize some of his past guests.

In this episode, we talk about movies and music, insecurity, therapy, and Kanye West. There is quite a bit of talk of my conundrum between moving to New York or Nashville (I ended up choosing Knoxville, go figure).

I met Jon when I was looking for someone to play a key role in my movie, Fashion Police. An old friend recommended him for the part, and I took the chance. He turned out to be an excellent improviser. Although the film never was finished, we ended up turning it into a mini-webseries.

When I ended up moving back to the Bristol area from New York, we started to hang out more, going to movies and then making movies together. He became a dear friend. He pushed me to audition for Theater Bristol’s Bat Boy, where I got the part of Bat Boy. This role pushed me past my comfort level as a performer in the best of ways. It was here, too, that I got to witness Jon meet his future wife, Cassandra.

Our friendship is one of those marked by coincidence and synchronicity, and it makes me realize that I am happy, lucky to have Jon and Cassandra in my life. They have added so much.

If you are an aspiring artist, you can’t forget to keep yourself grounded and love the people in your life, the people that make you you. The art can wait.

So Jon and Cassandra, thank you.

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