Welcome #2014

Like just about everyone else, I've been looking back on 2013, and it's just flat out crazy to think that its almost over.  So much happened that I'd never have expected this time last year. I started the year like many of my friends, headed to Passion 2013.  I'm so blessed to have been able to go, and it truly began to change my perspective on a lot of things.  Little did I know, I'd get the amazing opportunity to be in the Passion Choir for 2014 in Houston.  Not long after Passion last year, I got to meet Carly Rae Jepsen (the singer of 2012's summer smash "Call Me Maybe") and sit down with her and other GRAMMY U students for a Q&A. I also got the chance to meet the Lumineers as well at a similar kind of event.  I stepped into my new role as GRAMMY U Ambassador for DBU along with a good friend of mine, and it's been an incredible experience thus far, and we have so many great things in store for 2014.

It's no secret that I traveled a lot in 2013. In fact, I hit a new personal record: 50 flights and 61,764 miles flown in 2013.  It was honestly so much more than I expected, but every trip was truly memorable.  Not long after Passion 2013, I took a trip to Vancouver, British Colombia to relax a little bit before the semester, and wow, what a cool city.  I had some of the best salmon I've ever tasted, zip lined on Grouse Mountain, walked the Capilano suspension bridge, and ate at Tim Hortons for breakfast just about every day.  In February, I visited some family-friends in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates.  I always knew I wanted to go there, but never did I think that it would happen that soon.  I got to eat lunch in the Armani Hotel in the Burj Khalifa, shop at the largest mall in the world, the Dubai Mall, and visit the Atlantis Dubai on the manmade Palm islands. 

I flew straight from Dubai to London to Dallas to Austin, TX to represent DBU and get a chance to speak with some Texas representatives.  It really was a great trip, and it gave me a new appreciation for these people that represent our state.  At the end of spring break, I spent a fun-filled day in New York City with friends that were there on a choir trip, and it was a great way to spend my first time in this remarkable city, followed by a quick stop in Toronto on the way home.  Just after the semester ended, my parents and I went to the island of Curacao for a week, and it was just what I needed after a busy semester. My mom and I attended a movie premier in Chicago. I got to spend a week in France exploring Paris, as well as some lesser known cities in the countryside of France.

From Orlando and Universal Studios, to Jersey City and the Barclays, to Las Vegas for the iHeartRadio festival, to an all inclusive resort in Cancun, to Milwaukee, Boston, Albuquerque, and beyond, it was a great year for travel.  I got to DJ more events than I ever thought I would, including the Recording Academy Texas Chapter's GRAMMY Watch Party and Holiday Bash.  I spent another unforgettable summer with a great group of people leading worship at camps around Texas.

Despite all of the incredible opportunities that I got in 2013, the thing that stands out to me is all of the people along the way.  When I go somewhere to visit people, it's the time I spend with those people that makes it truly special.  Even the places I go by myself, I get the chance to interact with people in different cultures.  I'll never forget the conversation about America that I had with the receptionist at my hotel in Amiens, France.  I remember a great conversation I had with a German lady on the way to Grouse Mountain.  I got to meet DJ Promote in Milwaukee at Chris Tomlin's Burning Lights tour.  Even when I wasn't traveling, it was the friendships in my life that really made a lot of moments memorable.  I feel like there were a lot of people I got to know better this past year than in the past. It's amazing how much God can show you from the people in your life as well, especially the ones that really do care about you.

All of that to say, I'm super excited for 2014.  I don't know what all it has in store, but I know that among the many things, I'm going to the GRAMMY awards for the first time, graduating college, and of course, I'll continue making music.


- Joey