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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Spence Paull – Crush [Interview]

Describe your sound in 3 words

Fresh, genre-crossing, groovy.

Tell us a few things about your new song “Crush”. What is the story behind it?

You know what having a crush on someone ~feels~ like? I wanted this song to what having a crush on someone ~sounds~. Giddiness, warm butterflies, uncontrollable smiling…I think all of these elements are mirrored in the production and writing of “Crush”.

The story behind it is a bit cheeky, to be honest: there was a coworker that I developed a bit of a crush on. We continued this harmless little flirtation for so long that I thought, “what if I just told them that I had a crush on them? Would it ruin our friendship? Would they like the idea, and entertain it?”. Naturally, I had to write a song about it, and thus, “Crush” was born!

What first got you into music?

Fun fact: I was tone deaf until age eight. Like, could not hold a pitch, nails on a chalkboard tone…not cute. When my grandmother (the only musician in the family) suddenly passed away, I could sing…Spooky, eh? I say that because while I’ve always been drawn to the arts, my first love was acting, not music. Though, since discovering my voice at age eight, music has been my mistress…and we have a love affair for the ages.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

It’s perhaps a bit cliché to say I draw inspiration from all artists, but it’s true! I find inspiration in all genres, styles, time periods – you name it. That said, if I had to pick a top three, they would be Quincy Jones, Taylor Swift, and Michael Bublé. Quincy brings a level of production mastery few can rival, creating a timelessness to every artist’s record he works on; Taylor has a way of capturing and expressing the human experience unlike any other songwriter to date; and Michael (a fellow Vancouverite) has seamlessly placed jazz and big band arrangements on the pop tracks, which is no easy feat!

Crush has a lovely groove. Tell us a song with a groove you wish you had composed yourself.

Funny you should ask because I have entire inspiration playlists dedicated to the tracks I produce for this exact reason: finding tracks that sit in the same place in my body as the one I’m making! Some key artists I turned to for inspiration for “Crush” were ABBA, Dua Lipa, and Lizzo. That said, if I had to pick a groovy song I wish I composed, it would have to be “Radio Gaga” (Queen).

In which state of mind do you imagine people might listen to your music?

In general, I want people to feel transported when they listen to my music. Transported to where, though…that is for everyone to discover themselves! For “Crush”, however, I hope people have grins from ear to ear, and are addicted to that happy feeling so much that they want to listen again, and again, and again.

What would you say is your biggest vice?

Chocolate. Need I say more?

Thank you!

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