The future looks bright for guitarist Jordan Lawhead, a 20-year-old Scottsdale man with a contagious smile, outgoing personality and smooth voice.
Lawhead will make his television debut on MTV in November — pretty good for someone who took a single guitar lesson as a 10-year-old.
Yet memories of a dark period in Lawhead’s recent past permeate his thoughts.
In 2003, the Arcadia High School student was diagnosed with melanoma on the middle front of his neck. While in Hollywood, Calif., to see a specialist, Lawhead visited the Musicians Institute, an accelerated guitar learning school that’s open around the clock. He decided to relocate to Los Angeles to attend the school, but not until dealing with his illness.
"The doctors were concerned because they said something like this usually hits people twice my age." Lawhead said. "I was scared. I thought a lot about dying. It all affected my family.
"It was my place in life where I had to say ‘Do I trust God or don’t I?’ I trusted God and I was healed with one surgery. Just when I was supposed to have another surgery and chemotherapy, every test came back clear. It was one of those miracles in someone’s life and it happened to me."
Now he’s ready to show off the talent he’s cultivated over the years — and perhaps even win a date.
The episode of MTV’s "Score" with Lawhead has already been taped, but he can’t reveal details. The Monday through Friday show, which premiers at 4:30 p.m. today and stars singer/songwriter Ryan Cabrera, is like the old "Dating Game," but with music. Two aspiring musicians get five words and have a
limited amount of time to incorporate them into a romantic song. A winner is picked sight-unseen by a date partner, solely based on the song written.
"It was a lot of fun," Lawhead said. "I’m not a very competitive person except when it comes to music, so I put a lot into it. I wasn’t even going to sign up for the show. A friend signed me up and, when they wanted me to play, I had to borrow a guitar. I wasn’t prepared at all."
Lawhead admits it was challenging to have to incorporate specific words into his song. But he said he came up with a good tune. He describes his style as pop folk, his words telling of memories of hope, love and loneliness, emotions he said he experienced when diagnosed with cancer.
"I hope the show helps my career," Lawhead said. "I’m looking for a record deal. I sell CDs on my Web site — www.jordanlawhead.com — and hope music winds up being what I do for a living.
"Anything I accomplish wouldn’t be for the money," he said. "Sure, that’s nice, but I just have a passion for music. Thankfully, God has given me more time to fulfill my purpose and that’s what I’m going to do."