Drawing inspiration from the eyes of his 4-year-old daughter, Erick Baker writes songs that speak to the soul on both love and loss.
But Baker didn't grow up planning his life out as a musician. He majored in public relations at UT.
He explained he had always been a fan of music growing up, but it wasn't until later in his life he discovered his own abilities after picking up guitar as a hobby.
"I started learning to play the songs that I loved on guitar, and unearthed a hidden talent," Baker said. "Within the span of a couple of years the whole direction of my life changed."
One of the "validating moments" for Baker was on the stage of the Tennessee Theatre in 2007, opening for John Legend.
He will return to headline that same stage tonight.
"The man that walked onto the stage wasn't the same man that walked off," Baker said of himself.
The show tonight at the Tennessee Theatre will be a homecoming to the place where his career really took off. For Baker, playing in Knoxville is different than playing anywhere else because of the personal ties he has to the city.
"It doesn't get any better than playing in Knoxville," Baker said. "These are my neighbors, family and friends."
Baker explained that because he didn't hold any expectations with his musical career and instead just let it unfold, it allowed him to develop and grow as it was happening.
"I feel like my personal and musical growth are hand in hand ... my music is rooted in my personal life," Baker said. "Growing as an artist means growing as a man."
Baker once had the opportunity to tour for a month with Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Heart. Baker reflected on the tour as a learning experience of remaining thankful to fans even as successful musicians.
"To see not only their performance, but how they are as people," Baker said. "How they remain humble and grateful."
Baker's music pulls inspiration from a personal place giving his music a heartfelt quality as he writes of "the good and the bad."
"My family is my inspiration ... seeing the world through my 4-year-old daughter's eyes," Baker said. "To put those eyes on and have that innocence, love and simple joy."
As far as what the future holds, Baker is content right where he is now, and says his only goal for his career is to stay on his current path and hold true to his music.
"I want to keep doing what I'm doing," Baker said. "It would be a blessing if in five years I was still able to do what I'm doing right now."
Baker said he is looking forward to the end of this year and the beginning of the next year so he can begin writing new music to add to the four other albums he has already released.
Doors open for the show at 7 p.m. and tickets are $25.