How up-and-coming musician Spencer Sutherland came up with his hit single “Selfish”
Ohio-raised Spencer Sutherland is a voice to be reckoned with.
This young star got his start at a young age, listening to his father's music and getting inspired. After high school, he knew his future was in the world of music, and he stuck with it.
After playing at pizza restaurants and the like, Sutherland struck big when he got the chance to open for boy band "Big Time Rush," on a whim -- and it's been uphill from there. His single, "Selfish" debuted in 2017, and has received over 100,000 listens on Spotify.
Not only that, but Sutherland has a budding modeling career with Ford Models, and has big plans for the future.
We had the chance to sit down and chat with this charismatic musician about everything from his songwriting process to his recent tour. Check out part one of the interview below!
#YouShouldKnow is a feature that showcases rising talents. To see more past interviews, including more features on Spencer Sutherland, click here.
How did you first fall in love with music?
For as long as I can remember I've loved music and singing and performing. I remember the first time I felt the love for music was when my dad was playing Elvis in the family room. He was playing the song "Jailhouse Rock" and I remember the way it made me feel. I was working on math equations or something like that, and I just stopped. I remember hearing it and feeling like, true love. It's a true passion for me.
How would you say your love for music has evolved from that initial moment to now?
It's definitely had a bunch of different stages of evolution. I was in about third grade when I heard Elvis and then I would hear other things like Marvin Gaye and bands like Greenday and all kinds of cool music that my dad would play around the house. But it took a long time for me to get the courage to sing in front of someone. There were other stages too, like writing my first song and having my first band. I think as an artist it can be hard to go through these stages. It's already been a crazy ride for me.
What is your songwriting process like? How does it go from being just an idea to becoming reality?
It depends from song to song, but for the most part, I like to work with someone that I vibe really well with. I have a couple go-to people that I write with and have produce. I'll take a real-life experience and make that something that resonates with my fans. Not just my fans, but everybody. Whether it's heartbreak or something funny -- it's important to make those connections because people will listen to you for that reason.
Did you have a moment when you realized this was it for you? That this was what you wanted to do?
There are actually two moments. One was when I just graduated high school, I had always wanted to sing but I didn't know how to go about it. I got the chance to sing with these singers from Nickelodeon's "Big Time Rush," it was in about 2012. I remember it was my first show I ever played outside of pizza restaurants and other things I would play cover songs at. I sang one song opening for Big Time Rush in front of like 10,000 -- it was crazy. That was a moment when I realized I didn't want to go to college or have a regular job -- I just wanted to do this forever. The next few years I worked really hard writing songs and practicing every. Fast forward to this past September called "Selfish," it was the first session ever with this one producer and we wrote the song in a day. I knew as soon as we wrote, I thought it was incredible. I went home and I listened to it about five times in a row, and I called the producer at about 11:00 at night saying I knew it would be a hit. That was the other moment I had where I realized this was a game changer. I was confident about it.
You were recently on tour with Wes Stromberg -- what was that like? What did you take away from the experience?
It was cool because Wes is my best friend. We just hung out every day like we already do, but this time it was in a different place every day which was interesting. I was a big fan of Wes and his band before I even knew them. I got to tour with the band for a few dates a few years ago and to be doing that with my best friend is crazy in itself. It shows how much my life has progressed in the last few years. One thing I take away from him and the tour is the way that he treats his fans. It's so genuine and sincere. I think there are some artists that forget that, and they think they're too big. The respect I have for my fans is probably more than they have for me. So that was a great takeaway from this tour.
What was your process like for building the song "Selfish" specifically?
"Selfish" is about something that was definitely real to me. It's basically about having someone who you're so selfish with -- with their time and their emotions and their affections. You want everything to yourself, and it's not necessarily a bad thing because it means you're super into someone. I used that real emotion to create the song. We did it in about a half a day and it was the first time I ever met that producer, and now he's one of my closest friends. It was a good experience. It was just the best vibe in the world. I've had writing sessions where it doesn't quite flow the way you want it to, but this was crazy because I think one of the best songs I've ever written has been one of the easiest songs to write. Sometimes things just come naturally like that.
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