When you sit back and realize that you want to pursue something full-time/professionally, you set many goals that you hope to achieve. When Spencer Sutherland moved from Ohio to Los Angeles to further his career in music, there was one show he really wanted to check off his bucket list — Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day.
“[Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day] is a show that I’ve looked at for the past couple years like wishing I was on,” Spencer told us when we met up with him in New York City last week. His wish is becoming a reality later today, as he’ll be performing on the festival stage outside Arthur Ashe Stadium alongside artists like Skylar Stecker, Sky Katz, and Aja9.
Hosted by Alex Aiono and Sofia Carson, the music-filled day will also feature a stadium show, featuring performances from Jack & Jack, Why Don’t We, New Hope Club, and Saving Forever and appearances from tennis legends Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Venus Williams, and reigning US Open champion Angelique Kerber.
Celeb Secrets sat down with Sutherland last week to talk about performing at AAKD, moving from Ohio to Los Angeles, his original music, and working on covers with friends like Wesley Stromberg. Take a read at the full Q&A below.
Make sure to catch Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on your TV tomorrow, August 27th @ 2PM ET/PT on ABC.
— Celeb Secrets (@CelebSecrets4U) August 17, 2017
Celeb Secrets: What’s been going on while you’ve been [in New York] so far?
Spencer Sutherland: “So much. I’ve been so lucky to get to do all the cool things that I’ve gotten to do. For the first time ever, I released a new song and it’s picking up some attraction. It’s really exciting. I was on the Today Show and everything’s fallen into place and I couldn’t be happier.”
Celeb Secrets: How does it feel thinking back when you first started with this to where you are now — performing on the Today Show, millions of streams on Spotify for “Selfish”, etc. How does it feel?
Spencer Sutherland: It feels amazing. I was just thinking about this earlier. Sometimes I need to think about if I were to tell Spencer a few years ago like, ‘hey this is gonna happen,’ it would’ve blown my mind back then. Sometimes I go back to that and it makes me even happier. It’s just incredible. It’s like what a lot of people strive to do and I think it’s just the beginning.”
Celeb Secrets: Would you give your younger self any advice or do you like the way that everything played out?
Spencer Sutherland: “I like the way everything played out because I’ve learned so much. If I had to give any advice it would probably be practice piano more.”
Celeb Secrets: Aside from music I know you model, so how’s that been going?
Spencer Sutherland: It’s been awesome. I’m so lucky to be with Ford Models and they’re incredible people. I’ve gotten to do some really cool brands and stuff. It’s been really fun and they work with me too because they know music is my number one love. If I show them something they will be like, ‘alright we won’t book you for this amount of time.’ The situation is just incredible.”
Celeb Secrets: How do you balance both?
Spencer Sutherland: Well luckily they’re very good at working with my schedule and stuff. It’s kind of why I picked them; we were choosing between a couple and they were like ‘yo we get it Spencer. He’s a musician it’s his passion, it’s what he does.’ It was perfect.”
Celeb Secrets: Your song selfish is out right now. Tell us the story behind that song?
Spencer Sutherland: “‘Selfish’ is basically about being with someone and you’re basically so selfish of their time, their affection, their attention; like in a relationship when you’re kind of like so into someone, maybe a little bit clingy. Everybody feels that way when you are first with someone and I think a lot of people can relate.”
Celeb Secrets: How was the writing and recording process for you? Was it a personal story or were you inspired by it?
Spencer Sutherland: “It was a personal story. A personal story a few times and the process was amazing. It was the first time I had ever worked with this producer names Cameron Bryer and we just got in the studio, hung out, started writing the song right away. As soon as we started writing it we both knew it was special. Its the only song I’ve started writing where I was like this is it.”
Celeb Secrets: Do you have a favorite producer or someone that you’ve worked with?
Spencer Sutherland: “Probably him because we’ve made my favorite song ever. So is – I can’t say anything bad about anyone I’ve worked with. I have like favorite things about all of them separately.”
Celeb Secrets: Are you working on an EP or an album or are you just going roll out some singles?
Spencer Sutherland: “I’m going roll out some singles and I’m also going to release an EP by the next couple of months. Then a full length next year.”
Celeb Secrets: How has that process been for you?
Spencer Sutherland: “Its fun. It can be frustrating at times because you’ll wake up one day feeling one way about a song and then a week later you’ll feel completely different. It’s just a lot of back and forth. It is tough but honestly all artists go through it. I think it’s just part of the process and at the end of the day I don’t want to put out music that I’m not 100% proud of. I just don’t wanna put out throw aways. It’s a process; it’s hard work, but all worth it.”
Celeb Secrets: What would you say is your biggest challenge so far when you’ve been writing this music and how did you overcome it?
Spencer Sutherland: “There’s been a lot of challenges. I’d probably say that my biggest one is, my most recent one; writing from a super vulnerable personal spot. It’s like sometimes hard to tap into that and get there but then when you are there it’s like, it just all spills out and that can be about a heartbreak or something near to you like your family or something else. It’s just like it doesn’t come as naturally to me but I wanna challenge myself I wanna get better every single day so it’s been something that I’ve been doing.”
Celeb Secrets: If you could collaborate with anyone who would you wanna collaborate with?
Spencer Sutherland: “Bruno Mars.”
Celeb Secrets: Are you like a huge fan of his music?
Spencer Sutherland: “My favorite. He’s my favorite.”
Celeb Secrets: Do you have any favorite songs from him?
Spencer Sutherland: “The whole 24K album is amazing. They’re all equally incredible. That’s why I like him, he’s my favorite.”
Celeb Secrets: You do a lot of covers with your friends, so how do you guys get together and know what covers you guys are going to put out?
Spencer Sutherland: “We basically – I’ll text my friend and he’ll be like ‘you wanna do something tomorrow?’ Then he says ‘come over at noon’ I go over at noon and he’s like ‘what song do you wanna do?’ So we look up Spotify and Apple Music’s chart toppers and the Top 40 radio hits. We then never cover a song that we don’t like. It’s a plus if its a hit. Then we just choose one and he has a studio in his house and we just do it.”
Celeb Secrets: You just a cover of “Sorry Not sorry” by Demi Lovato with Wesley Stromberg and Rajiv Dhall. Tell me about it!
Spencer Sutherland: “That was so awesome. We actually did that in about 2 hours with recording and filming. We sped through that because I actually had a flight that I had to leave for. It was so much fun. It’s so much fun working with friends. It’s like the best thing in the world. It’s the best job.”
Celeb Secrets: I know you’re playing a couple shows later this month including Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day?
Spencer Sutherland: “Yes, I am playing AAKD on August 26th. I’m playing the festival stage and I think I go on at like 11:30. It’s going to be fun. It’s a show that I’ve looked at for the past couple years like wishing I was on and it’s cool to finally be on it.”
Celeb Secrets: And we are Celeb Secrets, so what’s a behind the scenes secret when you’re making music that people wouldn’t know when they listen to it?
Spencer Sutherland: “When I create music, I have like a whole process; it starts when I wake up. I have to get up exactly at 7:30, I have to go to the gym exactly at 8:30 and then I have to be home by 10, then I have, this is really crazy I know, then I have an egg omelet and a cup of coffee.
Celeb Secrets: Every time?
Spencer Sutherland: Every time. Then I have to be at the studio by noon with another iced coffee. Then I walk in, I do vocal warm ups right away, then I start, but I’m not kidding, its like clock work.”
Celeb Secrets: So you’re like a very organized guy?
Spencer Sutherland: “Eh –“
Celeb Secrets: Not really? You just like to stick to a schedule?
Spencer Sutherland: “If I wanna be organized I’m organized. I’ve been living out of my suitcase for the last 6 months just because it’s easier for me because I’m like always in a place for like a week or two and its not very organized. I just throw everything on there. But career wise, yeah, I try to stay organized.
Celeb Secrets: How was your move from Ohio to LA? Was it culture shock?
Spencer Sutherland: “Not really because I had gone out a few times for like a week or two so I knew what it was like. As soon as I went the first time, as soon as I landed, I saw LA I was like ‘this is where I wanna be’ and I’ve never been happier living somewhere. It’s just incredible.”
Celeb Secrets: What are the do’s and don’ts of LA?
Spencer Sutherland: “If you don’t have to don’t go to downtown, it’s not great. I just don’t love downtown. The do’s are hike the trails. hike Runyon and all those cool canyons because California is probably the most beautiful state I’ve ever seen. Like you can be on top of a huge mountain and oversee the ocean, and then you drive around and there’s a desert. It’s crazy. It doesn’t happen in any other state. So explore is a big DO. You shouldn’t jump in the ocean because it’s freezing but I’ve done it before, it’s invigorating, it just wakes you up. DO have an acai bowl. It’s such a California thing. Acai is like a fruit and they make this bowl and it has like, it’s like berry ice cream almost but it’s like a fruit. You’ve probably seen it on Instagram. Then you put granola and like almond butter and it’s really good. Bananas on it. Strawberries.”