INTERVIEW: Spencer Sutherland talks music, modeling, and the perfect day off
Self-taught singer/songwriter Spencer Sutherland released his latest EP, ‘Unveiled’ at the beginning of this year. Since then, he’s spent 2016 sharing cover videos on YouTube and touring alongside names like SoMo, Emblem3, and Sammy Adams. When he’s not working on his burgeoning music career, Spencer is also modeling, signed to Ford Modeling Company and working with top tier brands such as ASOS and Timberland.
Spencer’s most popular YouTube video of all time is his cover of ‘Hey Mama’ by David Guetta & Nicki Minaj:
And his most recent music video for his own original song is for ‘Bad Influence’:
We caught up with Spencer during some free time between music and modeling to discuss his experiences so far, the changes in his life, and of course, music.
Can you describe your music using a combination of 3 well-known artists?
Bruno Mars / Justin Timberlake / Prince
Walk us through a typical day in the studio.
A typical day in the studio consists of a whole process haha. First, I make sure to hit a coffee shop and get a lot of water! Then we start writing. The way I write a song with people all depends on the person I’m writing with! Sometimes we just write from scratch on acoustic guitar, and sometimes to tracks and make everything from scratch that way. This usually takes anywhere from 4 hours to like 3 days haha. After we write, we record vocals for a few hours and get a million takes, (I’m a perfectionist). After a few breaks for coffee and food, the song is complete!
We saw you tweeted, “People will always say shit behind your back. Realize they’re not your friend and move on.” How do you determine a true friend?
Determining a true friend is harder than you think! People attach themselves to you because they want something from you or something that you have, and they’re very good at disguising their true motives. You just have to follow your gut and ask yourself “do i genuinely like this person’s company and do they make me happy and does it feel right?” and all will fall into place.
What are the major differences between Columbus, Ohio and Los Angeles, California? What do you love and hate about each place?
Columbus & LA are SO different. They both have negatives and positives, and I feel like I get the most out of both!
I get work and amazing opportunities in LA with music and modeling, that aren’t available in Ohio. However, I get recharge time in Ohio! It’s so important to have time every few months, even if just a few days, to see family and just chill without insane LA traffic – haha. It also keeps you grounded and gives you great perspective on what is happening outside of LA. LA is like its own microcosm. It is not necessarily whats trending in the rest of the country. It’s where many, but not all trends start which is cool, but many of the things that are popular in LA never make it past the city limits.
What do you look for when choosing a song to cover?
First, I make sure I personally like the song and that it has the ability when I change it up to showcase my voice! I always try listen to the song and figure out what I would change if it were my song and that usually comes pretty naturally. There are so many places you can take songs to make them your own and it’s so fun finding out!
What’s been the most memorable experience of your career so far?
There have been so many memorable FIRSTS! I’d have to say there just is one most memorable. It’s every show that I’ve really ever played. I remember pretty much something from all of them, especially the fans. Whether it was my first time throwing water on the crowd in Wichita KS, or the first time I heard a crowd sing my song back in Columbus OH, every show has its thing!
What was the inspiration behind the music video for “Bad Influence?”
Bad Influence is a real life situation haha. It’s about a girl who you know you shouldn’t mess with, but she’s just so hot you can’t say no. The video shows this pretty clearly and I got to shoot it in downtown LA, which is pretty cool to say I did! Never woulda thought in a million years I’d shoot a music video in downtown LA.
Where do you see yourself and your music in 2 years? How about 10 years?
In 2 years I want to be on my own headline tour! Big or small I just want to be performing for people who love my music! In 10 years I see a producing and a world tour 🙂
Do you find being a model AND a musician go hand-in-hand, or present more challenges?
ABSOLUTELY! They help each other out so much yet they’re so different! Modeling is a form of performance in itself! The only challenge is scheduling, but FORD (my amazing agency) is so good about that.
If music and modeling suddenly weren’t career choices for you, what would you be instead?
Man I don’t know. The entertainment industry is like the only thing I have passion for. Maybe I would own a new concept of fitness centers all over the US because I am into fitness, but I don’t know anything as intimately as I know music.
Describe your absolute perfect day off.
Perfect day off includes: Brunch, then the gym (with no time crunch), beach or mall, baseball game or movies, dinner, late night coffee, bed by 11:) I have a LOT of late nights with recording.
Who’s been your biggest mentor? How have they helped you?
My manager is a huge mentor. She’s helped me grow as an artist and a person. She’s helped me find myself and by doing that I have found MY sound and MY music.
Do you have any advice for singers trying to break into the industry?
Make sure you love it and then go HEAD FIRST. Its the only way to make it. You have to put all your eggs in one basket and grind! Work hard, stay grounded , be passionate, focused and time will do the rest!
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