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story.lead_photo.caption Zak Skinner performs with his band Love-Seats at Rose Music Hall in September. Photo by Dyllon Mykell Maddox

My name is Zak Skinner, and I am a musician.

At least that's what I was told once, and I really, really believed the fellow.

I've always loved music and the act of playing my guitar, singing my lyrics, getting on stage and being wide open, with nothing but the ringing in your ears and a voice in your head telling you to go for it. But I never really called myself a musician. That's a word reserved for idolized players and vocalists, or at least the kids in jazz band.

I was born June 9, 1988, and grew up in Dallas with music in my blood. My father and his father were both musicians, so I'd always grown up surrounded by artists, sort of thinking musicianship should be a skill normal people obtained, like learning how to read or write. When I finally picked up the guitar for the first time, I remember feeling so overwhelmed and my brain convinced me I was not, in fact, a musician, but that didn't mean I couldn't still enjoy the hobby.

So I kept at it for the joy and, with that, came a fearlessness with performing and learning new instruments such as bass, keys, percussion and harmonica, as well as challenging myself to musically discover new genres by jamming with people as much as I could, backing up other musicians and paying dues in bands I wouldn't normally enjoy listening to. What that brought me, really, was more influential ingredients to throw into my creative gumbo of auditory art.

I attached myself to punk, early alternative, blues, psychedelic rock and hip-hop early on in my musical journey. I could never really settle on one genre for too long. Lucky for me, music always seemed to find me. Either from my family or my peers, I have always had a supportive network of people in my life to keep me going even when I didn't know what direction to go.

In 2013, I started gathering a collection of the songs I had written, and one of my favorites is called "Sometimes I Wish I Were A Dog" which can be found on Spotify, and the electric and acoustic versions of all of my songs are at, which were all produced, mixed and engineered by dear friend Tommy Walker at Walker Studios in Gordonville, Texas. I have been making another collection of material and plan on recording that soon.

I seem to always be creating in my free time, but I also really enjoy playing in my current band, Love-Seats, who will be releasing an album soon. I also have some solo acoustic shows coming up such as my third time back to Porchfest JCMO, The Mission and more shows around the state.

Through my own life lessons, you're going to have people that discourage you, put you down or flat out stand in your way. It's up to you to stay truthful to yourself, your craft, your convictions and keep putting the love back into what you create.

Zak Skinner is a Mid-Missouri musician who enjoys connecting with people through music and art. Find more of his music at

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