Spence Paull – Christmas Eve [Interview]

What is your creative process like?

It honestly varies from project to project. Sometimes I start with the track, and melodies and lyrics just come to me; other times, I play around on the guitar or piano, and something will jump out. That was the case for “Christmas Eve”. I sat down in July with absolutely zero intentions of writing a Holiday song, but the words and melodies just flowed. It became very obvious very fast that this was a Holiday song – so I ran with it!

How would you describe your musical progress over the years?

I feel like I’ve been constantly evolving as a musician over the years, making pit stops in a variety of genres on the way to finding (and constantly finding) my sound. I started writing in the folk/singer-songwriter space with poetic lyrics and simple melodies, but as I continued to study and train in Jazz and Musical Theatre, I began incorporating more unique chord structures and melodies. I was then fortunate to perform a two-year tenure with a Grammy Award Winning Choir while I was at university, and that really helped to solidify my classical music knowledge and shape how I approach harmonies. All of this, coupled with my love of pop music, has lead to the sound listeners can expect now: genre-crossing pop with jazzy elements, story-rich lyrics, and unique harmonies.

Do you like the idea of collaborating? Is songwriting a lonely process?

I LOVE collaborating. Anytime there’s an opportunity to collaborate, I jump at it! I firmly believe that two heads are better than one. Of the songs I’ve released so far, all have been collaborations on either production, lyrics, or music. Sure, songwriting can be lonely sometimes, but writing alone can also be cathartic: it’s like a journal entry that only you understand. That said, I’ll take writing in a group over writing alone any day!

Main influences?

Anything from the 70’s and 80’s – pop, disco, rock…I take inspiration from it all! Specific influences within that time though are definitely anything Quincy Jones produced, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA, Stevie Wonder…the list is endless to be totally honest! My goal is always to combine the groove these artists embody with some modern production styles and cheeky lyrics.

Is Spotify the music industry’s new Gatekeepers?

I think with any industry, there are inevitably going to be big players that hold more of the power and influence than others. To me, “Gatekeeping” lives in the overlap of these big players’ spheres of influence. Thus, can we point the finger at Spotify only? No. Are they a big player in the industry, and do they hold a shared responsibility of Gatekeeping? Yes. We as artists and music lovers are always looking for ways to distribute that power and influence more equally, and I think we’ve made progress in comparison to where we were even 5 or 10 years ago. That said, there is certainly more work to be done.

What was the best film you have watched during the quarantine?

“King Richard”, hands down! The story of Venus and Serena Williams is beyond inspiring; the performances from Will Smith, Saniyya Sidney, Demi Singleton, and the rest of the cast were flawless. Everyone needs to watch it!

What is the most useless talent you have?

I can wiggle my nostrils. Currently working on wiggling my ears as well, but that’s not going too great so far!

Thank you!

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