Back in 2013, there was a guy from Ohio that wanted to stand out and create something of himself, which led him to move out to sunny Los Angeles and pursue that passion for music. His name is Spencer Sutherland, an artist that I can positively say you do not want to miss out on. His talent has proved otherwise, opening for artists like MKTO, Ariana Grande, Big Time Rush, as well as being a contestant on The X Factor UK in 2017. His powerful vocals and style has huge potential and all I’m saying is I’m waiting patiently for the day for his music to blow up around the world because he’s that good. Stage presence: phenomenal. Personality: adorable. All around human being: priceless. Currently on tour opening for popular boy band In Real Life, I had the chance to take a moment backstage before his set at his stop in Anaheim, CA, and find out a little bit more about Sutherland’s career and how the tour life has been like on his first national tour.
Me: Can you tell us where you’re from and how you would describe your sound to someone who may have not heard your music before?
Spencer: Ooh, good question. I’m from Columbus, Ohio originally, and if I had to describe my sound, I’d probably say something like left of center, pop, for all people.
M: Ah yes for all the people.
S: For all the people.
M: Very important.
S: Absolutely (Laughs)
M: How has the process been like over the years finding your sound? Do you think it’s an ever changing process, like experimenting with what you like vs what’s trending in the industry?
S: Yes, that’s an amazing question. It’s definitely an ever changing process. Every year of my life, I feel like I experience new things, and just learn more. The whole 10,000 hour thing is definitely a real thing; writing 10,000 hours of songs makes you so much more of a better writer. But it’s interesting too about the trends and stuff, because you do want to stay, you know, with what is happening kind of, but put your own spin on it. It’s definitely ever changing for sure.
M: You’ve released a few singles this year, when can fans expect a full length album or an EP?
S: At the top of the year (2019). Another single coming later this year. And at the top of the year, I’ll be putting out a whole body of work. I’m very excited, because it’s all stuff that I’ve written in the last seven or eight months too, so none of it is old stuff. It’s all kind of where I’m at right now as a songwriter. I’m very excited, just real life stuff.
M: Speaking of “In real life” -
S: Wow, I did not even mean to do that, that was awesome (laughs)
M: So you’re currently on tour with the band In Real Life -
S: What a segway, dude -
M: (laughs) I know, it was just so natural!
S: Yes, so we’re on tour -
M: Yes, so how has the tour been, and how has the crowd reaction been like in the different cities that you’ve been to so far?
S: The tour has been incredible, this is my first national tour ever, so it’s been really cool to, you know, you start playing the first few shows, and by the time it’s the ninth or tenth show, they’re starting to sing your lyrics. It’s super cool to see that, like as an artist that’s the number one thing you want to see. That’s been really cool, and then just playing show night after night, because you know, in the past I would play two shows, and then I would play two more, but here it’s playing show after show after show after show, and it’s super special.
M: And is every show different?
S: Yes! That’s the thing, sometimes a crowd is more energetic than the next one, it doesn’t make them any better, it’s just like the setting, or the sound, or how big the venue is or whatever, and you have to be able to adapt to that. Because if you keep the same state of mind the whole time you might be disappointed by some shows, but if you take them for what they are, it’s really awesome.
M: That’s amazing. Now, I have one more question and I ask everyone this that I get to interview because I like to get different perspectives. What’s some advice that you might have for creatives and musicians to stay inspired and keep pursuing the dream?
S: Wow, I would say that my advice is…number one, to be super true, real, and transparent because everybody can tell when you’re faking it. And everybody knows when it’s not a real thing. So that’s number one, just be true - don’t be embarrassed by what you’re going through and who you are, everybody embraces that. It’s 2018, you don’t really have to worry about anything anymore. Number two, just for me, it was putting in the time every single day, but also knowing when to chill, and have that time, because it really is important. Or else you’re just going to burn yourself out, seven days a week in the studio, doing stuff that doesn’t turn out great. Lots of work, and just being real, I would say.
Be sure to check out the photos from his set at the House of Blues in Anaheim, CA below:
Who would you like to see me interview and shoot with next? Leave a comment below and be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to stay updated on all things photo and music related! Until next time!
Written and photographed for Spencer Sutherland, in association with The Gypsy Shack Collective (www.tgscollective.com)