I wanted to be a rock star. I dreamed of it, and that's all I dreamed of. To be more accurate, I wanted to be a pop star. This was in the late '80s. And mostly I wanted to be the fifth member of Depeche Mode or Duran Duran. They wouldn't have me. I didn't read music, but I played synthesizers and drum machines. And I grew up in this little farming town in northern Nevada. And I was certain that's what my life would be.
And when I went to college at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas when I was 18, I was stunned to find that there was not a Pop Star 101, or even a degree program for that interest. And the choir conductor there knew that I sang and invited me to come and join the choir. And I said, "Yes, I would love to do that. It sounds great." And I left the room and said, "No way." The choir people in my high school were pretty geeky, and there was no way I was going to have anything to do with those people. And about a week later, a friend of mine came to me and said, "Listen, you've got to join choir. At the end of the semester, we're taking a trip to Mexico, all expenses paid. And the soprano section is just full of hot girls." And so I figured for Mexico and babes, I could do just about anything.
And I went to my first day in choir, and I sat down with the basses and sort of looked over my shoulder to see what they were doing. They opened their scores, the conductor gave the downbeat, and boom, they launched into the Kyrie from the "Requiem" by Mozart. In my entire life I had seen in black and white, and suddenly everything was in shocking Technicolor. The most transformative experience I've ever had -- in that single moment, hearing dissonance and harmony and people singing, people together, the shared vision. And I felt for the first time in my life that I was part of something bigger than myself. And there were a lot of cute girls in the soprano section, as it turns out.