IN CONVERSATION WITH SPENCER SUTHERLAND
Interview by Asia Lanzi
The American artist Spencer Sutherland is a rising star known for his powerhouse live performances and rock ‘n’ roll belting voice. With viral singing videos capturing hearts online in 2022, Spencer’s musical journey gained momentum. After a highly anticipated debut album release in March 2023, he embarked on a sold-out North American tour, leaving fans in awe with his high-energy shows and flashy outlandish outfits. In our exclusive interview, we dive into his passion for music, his collaboration with Meghan Trainor on “Chicken Little”, and his artistic vision that sets him apart from the usual “pop” artist.
How did you discover your passion for music and what made you pursue it as a career?
Music is just always something that’s been there ever since I can remember. Elvis was the first thing that sparked my desire to pursue it. Ever since I was a baby, I was singing.
How has your experience on ‘The X Factor’ shaped you as a musician and influenced your musical journey?
First of all, it was a fantastic life and traveling experience. I got to go to the UK, France, Turkey, just to name a few. It showed me that I really needed to dig in and figure out who I was: what kind of clothes do I actually like, what is my sound, why am I covering that song? I struggled with identity, and this experience helped put it in the forefront. Thank God!
Can you describe your musical style and share where you draw inspiration from in your music?
My music style is like Glam Rock Pop. I draw inspiration from so many people, such as Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, Bowie, Elvis, Prince, and The Temptations. I like dramatic and big lyrics that inspire, and huge vocals with larger-than-life guitar lines.
What was the inspiration behind your song ‘Chicken Little’ and how did the collaboration with Meghan Trainor come about?
The inspiration is as simple as it sounds. I was stressing about the dumb, small things in life. When I thought about how none really even affect me in the long run, it felt freeing. Meghan and I were introduced through a mutual friend, Arjan Timmermans, from Apple. We hung out once, and BOOM, the song was born that night! I’ve had it sitting ready for 3 years!
Were you expecting such an enthusiastic response from your fans for the release of ‘Chicken Little’ and their strong anticipation for the single?
I teased the song on my tour and my fans fell in love with it. If anyone knows me, I like a good tease. I expected them to be excited, but when I announced Meghan Trainor’s involvement, they went insane!
The music industry is often associated with seriousness and intensity. In your opinion, how significant is it for music to also encompass a sense of fun and lightheartedness?
I’ve been in every record label and met with every big wig serious important person. At first, I would be really nervous and serious, and then I realized nobody ever knows what they’re doing ever. I think everyone kind of fakes it until they make it. So I think it is very important to let everyone know and remind them that this is the music industry and it’s supposed to be fun!
The song carries a message of not taking life too seriously. Why do you believe this mindset is important in today’s society? And personally, how do you interpret and embody the concept of not taking life too seriously?
I personally find a sense of calmness in it. The human experience is an insanely stressful and wild thing, and this makes it easier to swallow for me. I’m not saying throw all your cares out the window all the time, but sometimes it’s exactly what you need!
For this song, you filmed a music video featuring 70s-inspired visuals. Can you share the aesthetic vision behind it?
I really wish I would live in the 70s. I was definitely born 40 years too late. It’s just what feels natural to me as a vibe and an aesthetic. The laundromat felt so right because it’s such a mundane chore that when it turns into a disco at the end it is, in fact, doing what the song says: live a little!
With a TikTok following of 1.2 million fans, how significant do you think social media has been in building your career, connecting with your audience, and spreading your music?
I believe social media has been wildly significant and helpful. It’s the primary platform for me to show more of who I am to my fans, and that’s something that’s challenging to quantify with numbers. I’ve come to realize that numbers don’t define an artist; it’s mostly about the connection I have with my fans.
Fashion seems to play a role in your image, including your Elvis Presley-inspired style and flashy outfits. Can you speak to the importance of fashion in your artistic expression?
Fashion plays a massive role in my artistic expression. Ever since I was in 2nd grade, I’ve been inspired by the king, Elvis Presley, and tried to convince my mom to let me wear a white jumpsuit to school. Now, I combine that inspiration with my own flare, expressing myself as extravagantly in my fashion as I am on the inside.
You recently completed a sold-out North American tour. Can you tell us what touring is like for you as an artist? What are the most challenging and most enjoyable aspects of performing live?
Touring is my favorite thing I could ever do. If I couldn’t tour, I would not be fulfilled and happy. What it does to my soul is almost religious. The enjoyment comes from, of course, the shows, but also everything else involved: the bus, the hotels, the green rooms, and trying out local food.
The only tough part is getting sick, as it’s inevitable on the road. It makes everything difficult, especially singing. However, the fans always come through and help me sing, which is heartwarming.
Looking ahead, what can we expect from you in terms of future music and where do you envision yourself in a few years?
In the future, you can expect me to be on tour, making people smile. I envision myself traveling the world, meeting and seeing people from all over singing my songs with me. That’s the dream.
Interview by Asia Lanzi