To say Tom Petty changed my life growing up is an understatement. The first song I learned on guitar was Breakdown. I’m pretty sure he’s the reason I bought a guitar to begin with. I almost moved to Gainesville because he was from there. And I honestly think I always wanted to move to LA since age 15 because he lived there.

At 15, I once sent him a letter (the ‘ole PO Box fan club address) asking if he ever wanted to come over – you know, to my parent’s house, to hang out. I baked a cake for him on his birthday that year. My mom actually took me aside once and asked if she should be worried about my obsession with him. He’s the first artist I ever loved. His music helped me through a tough time moving to Florida with my parents as a teen.

I once saw him front row and it was a dream. And I wrote a pretty awesome song about him called “Date with Tom.” I met him once at Madison Square Garden. I just played “Wildflowers” yesterday on my radio show as one of my spirit animal songs. Damn. This is a tough one. Xoxox RIP, my friend.