Derek is drawn to the creative and musical potential that percussive fingerstyle guitar holds. He focuses foremost on writing compositions that are music-centered as opposed to overly-technical and meandering. "A black hole has a boundary called an event horizon," says Derek. "Nobody knows what happens past the event horizon and that's what this EP is like. (Speaking about A Different Wavelength) It's like being in the event horizon and peering over the edge. That's where I feel all my music comes from: the unknown, the uncharted, the great mystery."
Derek has produced dozens of songs and several LPs showcasing different genres of music. His first all original guitar music album is Metaphysics. He also has an EDM album, Decagon, which features many sub-genres of original EDM. A new EP of all original, percussive fingerstyle, steel-string guitar called A Different Wavelength was released in the Spring of 2019.
Just some of Derek's notable past performances include The Dairy Center for the Arts, Band on the Bricks, Fox Theater, Boulder Classical Guitar Society, KMG Studios, The Walnut Room, Oriental Theater, and The Denver Art Society in Denver, as well as dozens of other venues. His goal is to develop as much as he can as an artist and ultimately reach a global audience with his music.
Derek's connection to music emerged at 18 months when he’d slap the vinyl of Herb Albert & the Tijuana Brass onto his mom’s record player, drop the needle at random and dance wildly. It was a daily occurrence for years. At 12, he received an electric guitar and his passion for music flared.
Some say a formal education in music can be stifling to one's creativity, but Derek used his Bachelor’s degree from Colorado University as a springboard to develop a eclectic and diverse portfolio. One of Derek’s songs, “Las Alamas Antiguas,” overlays duo guitars and contains elements of flamenco, blues, rock and metal music, highly inspired by Rodrigo y Gabriela. Another, “Riverside Vibe,” draws on elements of blues and ragtime. Recorded with captivating cinematography that takes his fans on a journey through many different landscapes and emotions, ultimately returning to the sunshine and Derek’s favorite creek in Boulder. All of Derek's songs tell a story.
The songs on A Different Wavelength are the most cutting-edge yet. They combine elements of eastern music, percussive techniques, blues, rock, syncopated African rhythms, lesser-known scales and harmonies and plenty of Derek's own unique musical style. "Each of the songs on ADL is crafted to be highly progressive and attention-catching." Says Derek. "The general theme that emerged in ADL is one of light-speed, of super acceleration. It was my intention to make each of these songs so musically rich and diverse that one could listen to the same song for months and still be finding nuances and character that had perhaps been missed on the first 20 listens."
A prelude to Derek's current percussive fingerstyle repertoire was a guitar duo that covered the music of Rodrigo y Gabriela. Derek played the role of Gabriela, who developed her own percussive-rhythm style of guitar. The duo lasted a few years and when it ended, Derek had developed many techniques and had perfected Gabriela's rhythm techniques. He had also been learning songs by Andy Mckee, Antoine Darfur and Michael Hedges for some time and decided to pursue a career as a soloist, performing covers and originals in this genre of guitar.
Derek's repertoire is vast and includes much original music as well as covers from The Beatles, Andy McKee, Michael Hedges, Eric Johnson, Queen, and many others. Derek has also begun to add vocals to his guitar playing. Some of his vocal covers include "Colors of the Wind" from the movie Pocahontas, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as done by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole, "Hallelujah" and many others.
One of Derek’s most memorable performances came on the heels of him watching the premiere of a movie, The Last Avatar, in Boulder in which Adey Bell, a talented singer, was featured. Feeling highly inspired, Derek went home, quickly learned one of her songs from the movie, returned to the evening showing, played it for her, and that night they performed it live--together. Coincidentally, the song was titled, “Together.”
Derek won “Most Eclectic Artist” after performing a 14 minute, original, electric guitar concerto at the Colorado Solo Artist competition (Oriental Theater, Denver) in 2014 and was featured on the cover of Vail Daily in 2017.
Derek strives for a live show that is technically and musically dazzling as well as intimate and tasteful. He seeks to create a connection with the audience no matter its size and make the show as memorable as possible by combining guitar mastery, humor and humble honesty.
Says Derek, "It's my goal to put as much emotion and what you might call character and magic into each of my songs. My music has dragons in it, fairies and elves, creatures from the bottom of the sea, from other planets, my music is from a place that I know well yet can only remember faint traces of." I want people to connect when they hear it. Connect to the music, to the far-out parts of themselves, to other people, to the world. That's what good music does, it makes you stop for a minute or two and go 'wait, what's all this about.' Music is such an integral part of who I am that I can't imagine life without composing and performing."
What does the future hold? It is Derek's goal to change the world through his music and re-define what is possible for a musician, for a performer, for a guitarist, for a visionary. "I'd like, perhaps most of all, for my music to stir things up, to rock the boat a little. If someone can walk away from one of my performances thinking, 'I don't know what the hell that was, but goddamn'...that's it, I did it.."