John's first recording experience was at the age of 17, working with Mike Auldridge (Seldom Seen, Linda Rondstadt) on a recording project with Allen Griffin. John went on to college in Nashville, Tennessee at Belmont University. At Belmont, he worked with various musicians who would go onto successful careers of their own: Jim Olander (Diamond Rio), Chris Rodriguez (Keith Urban, Kenny Loggins, Michael W. Smith), Dan Huff (Faith Hill and Madonna), Michael Mishaw (Natalie Cole, Michael Bolton), and Wade Jaynes (Amy Grant, Boz Scaggs, and Randy Newman). After college, John wrote for RokBlok music owned by Steve Gibson (England Dan & John Ford Coley, Michael Johnson, Martina McBride, and Lynn Anderson). John wrote Sterling Music owned by Michael Snow (Bee Gees, John Lennon). It was under the tutelage of Mr. Snow and Mr. Gibson that John began writing his best material up to that time. While at RokBlok he also worked with other artists including Tom Kimmel and Kathy Mattea.