Multi-instrumentalist and studio wunderkind Gooding's unique mixing of funk, jazz, rock, neo-classical, and electronic elements established him as one of the more adventurous artists of the early 21st century. Growing up in Ann Arbor, MI, and educating himself with a Kiss fixation and his parents' extensive music collection, Gooding was already tinkering with his craft with a drum set at the age of four. By seventh grade, his family had relocated to Wichita, KS, and 12-year-old Gooding had met up with classmate Jesse Reichenberger, with whom he would go on to perform hundreds of shows over the following years. By the age of 13, Gooding was making his first recordings and garnering local attention as a guitar prodigy. His first cassette release, City Lights, arrived in 1989 and moved an unheard sum of 150 copies at his high school. His follow-up, Perspective Views, did even better. After being featured in a national guitar magazine, Gooding sold his talents as a guitar instructor and saved up enough money to purchase an eight-track recorder and mixing board, soon founding Sixth Sense Studios. By 1993, Gooding had moved on to college in Lawrence, KS, and was performing in numerous funk, reggae, and blues jam bands, releasing the first of three albums with Reichenberger and MC Chief Justice under the moniker of Safety Orange, as well as finishing his own Winter's Return. Quickly accumulating accolades for the aural complexity of his soundscapes, by the age of 22 Gooding had left college to focus on his solo recordings and the running of his growing studio, while also beginning to write scores for student film projects. The summer of 1997 saw Sixth Sense Studios become an official record label. After issuing a little-known compilation of local artists, Sixth Sense closed, as Gooding relocated to Wichita and started S3 Records, releasing his Factory Blue soon thereafter. After touring, Collection Number 1, the first in a series of limited-print experimental recordings incorporating a series of genre-blind workouts, was released, as well as another album with MC Chief Justice as the Outer Lords. The limited edition LP Disarray followed in 1999, with the widely acclaimed 3X following less than a year later. Assembling a backing band with Reichenberger on drums, extensive tours extending to major U.S. cities followed, as word of mouth spread and tracks from 3X started showing up on television shows, like MTV's The Real World. In the spring of 2002, Life Itself was released by the Michigan native.