As I write this piece, I can’t help but smirk at the irony. I’m laying in bed, coming down off the electrifying feeling of performing in front of a large audience in attendance for my album release party in my home state of Ohio. Any moment my new album, Obsession will be released.

All I can do is reflect on the amount of time and effort that was spent creating the album. It won’t be long before it’s shared with the world. Open for criticism and praise. Not the most ideal scenario for a good night’s sleep.

At the beginning of 2017, Jarad Barr, my longtime friend and manager gifted me “The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time” by Arianna Huffington. I suppose he wanted me to prioritize not only the quantity of sleep I received, but also the quality.

As an artist, much like most creatives, the ability of shutting down the brain waves is nearly non-exisistent. We’re always searching for that next idea for a song, analyzing each passing moment throughout the day, wondering how to capture that instance by telling a story. We take pride in our work ethic, knowing that at any moment creative juices can begin flowing. Long nights and early mornings are the norm in the music industry. It becomes a competition to see who is staying up later, working harder, #teamnosleep or whatever.

“It’s also our collective delusion that overwork and burnout are the price we must pay in order to succeed.” – Arianna Huffington

When I read this quote in the book, I instantly felt embarrassed. It was as if I was living a lifestyle lie for the majority of my life. The worst part, I was preaching this lifestyle to fellow artists, “you gotta be willing to work while the rest of the world sleeps,” I’d advise.

It wasn’t until I began to open my eyes to the deep truth of sleep that I started to find true success. I began to prioritize and schedule my sleeping pattern. It didn’t take long to see hard results. When listening to my new album, I can hear the growth and maturity in each and every song. From the lyrics that were written, to the vocals that were recorded. My brain was finally given the opportunity to reset each night. Doing so gave each day a clean canvas rather than trying to clear the fog of thoughts that were never really put to rest from the night before.

I’ve been blessed to receive incredible support from some of country music’s most influential people during the release of my new album, Obsession. Seeing my name next to music icons on popular country music playlists on streaming platforms has been an incredible feeling. It’s a milestone that has a direct correlation to the attention I’ve spent to sleep throughout 2017.

I can’t encourage my peers enough, whether in the music industry or any other profession. The mind is a very powerful tool… one that requires maintenance and attention. Don’t fall for the Wall Street mantra of sleep deprivation. Prioritize the amount and quality of sleep each and every night… no matter how anxious you are for the following day.