Eric Hutchinson, a rising star

Utah got a taste of up-and-coming musician Eric Hutchinson last week when he opened for One Republic at the McKay Events Center. The College Times had the opportunity to talk to Eric about how he felt about his performance, his advice to musicians, future plans, and the challenges of being a touring musician.

CT: How did you like your show in Utah?

EH: Ah, I had a great time. Were you at the show?

CT: Yeah, I was able to make it.

EH: Cool! Yeah, I had a lot of fun, and it was the biggest crowd I’ve ever played in front of, so that was definitely cool.

CT: What genre do you consider your music?

EH: I consider it to be acoustic-soul. I sort of like to think I’m mixing the best of the things I like, which are, you know, good soul music like Motown, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, that kind of stuff. And then, also, the people I also like are The Beatles, Billy Joel, Paul Simon. So I’m just kinda trying to bridge that gap I guess.

CT: Was this the first show of this tour?

EH: Yes. I played a show about a month ago while back with One Republic, but that was just for one show. Now we’re doing about 3 weeks or so with them.

CT: So you would say this was a pretty good show to kick off your tour?

EH: Yeah, definitely! It was a lot of fun.

CT: Where have you performed, and what have been your favorite and least favorite places?

EH: I’ve performed nationally, everywhere from Seattle to Florida. Pretty much have performed all over the place. Cities I always have a good time at are, of course, Orem UT, which is probably top 3 of all time. Chicago is always a good time. It all depends. But, you know, I try to go into it thinking every show is possibly going to be a great show. I don’t really believe in bad audiences as much as bad performers, because I think the audience is really just an extension of whatever you’re doing.

CT: I understand you made the iTunes top 10 most-downloaded music without being on a record label?

EH: Yeah, that was crazy. It’s all been very exciting and really cool to have that experience. I made the album really for myself, just kind of trying to, you know, make the album the way I wanted to – so to have people responding to it like this is really nice and sort of unexpected. Because, like I said, I was making it to please myself. That sort of is maybe why it’s doing really well, because I think people gravitate towards music that has some sort of up-vision. The problem with pop radio is that it gets so many fingerprints on it. There is the 6 producers, 4 writers, the record companies – by the time the record comes out it sounds sort of murky.

CT: What is your personal music-making process?

EH: Um, it’s sort of personalized and free form, but also I got to keep it open as well. You know, sort of be ready whenever inspiration comes to capture it. But I do my best when I’m not touring to try to write everyday. I sort of like to use the analogy of fishing. You’re not going to catch any fish if you don’t even go over to the pond. It’s a stupid analogy, but you get the idea.

CT: What is your advice for aspiring musicians?

EH: I think My main goal is, whatever level you’re performing at, whether it’s just playing while sitting around the dorm with friends or whether you’re trying to make international super-stardom, you have to make sure you love what you’re doing, because that’s the only thing that got me through the harder times was, you know, actually liking it, because you go through the ringer trying to actually make it a profession. So if you don’t really like what you’re doing, it’s sort of tough to wake up every day and keep doing it. I think that’s the main thing and the whole point of music, to enjoy it. So I would say find a way to play what you enjoy.

CT: When did you start performing as a musician?

EH: I’ve been doing it full time for about 5 years now, which I started right after I got out of college. I started performing at open mike nights when I was in high school, and I kind of continued that through high school and college. But when I really started performing full-time was about 5 years ago.

CT: Now you have your dream job.

EH: (laughs) Yeah, exactly.

CT: Did you graduate in college?

EH: Yeah, I was a film major actually. I went to college in Boston, and it was a good time. I’ve always loved doing film and music my whole life, and when I got out of college I figured I had to decide concentrate on one of them.

CT: What has been one of your biggest challenges as a musician?

EH: I think so far the biggest challenge for me has been to stick to a clear vision, like we were talking before, because I was signed to a record label before, where so many people’s opinions get stuck in there and they try to sway you. I think the main thing is trying to stay true to yourself without, you know, saying “f— off” to everyone else. It’s this sort of balance of trying to do what you want to do but still keeping everyone else happy. It can be really difficult to stick to your vision sometimes when everyone around you is telling you not to do it. Half the time, that makes you a genius that you went with your own ideas, and then half the time it makes you an idiot because you didn’t listen to the right idea and you were stubborn. So those were definitely some hard times. It sort of shook my confidence to have all these people not believing in me for a long time.
Also, I think you really need to make sure who you are when you’re getting into a profession. What you’re willing to do, what you’re not willing to do – you know, what makes you comfortable.

CT: Which direction are you striving with your music? What are some future plans?

EH: I would say I’m trying to just keep building. I’m always trying to one up myself with my songs and my songwriting. I’m always trying to, you know, I’m hoping to make the next album better than this one was, continue to tour and make fans. That was a great night the other night: We sold about 150 CDs in Orem. So I hope to be able to come back there and do my own show and have people who know the music and stuff like that. It’s really about going around and making fans. At the same time, and this is a big thing to me, I’m just trying to enjoy it while I do it, otherwise, what’s the point?

CT: How can fans get access to your music?

EH: I think going to the MySpace page is good: I’m also up on iTunes. That’s usually what I do when I hear about artists, is I’ll either go to their MySpace page or listen to them on iTunes. But I also have a lot of people who come to the shows who have never heard of me before, so I think checking out a show is a good way to sort of get what we’re all about, hear some songs, and see my personality.

CT: Anyone you would like to acknowledge for offering financial and/or emotional support?

EH: You know, my friends and family have always been good about supporting me. I’ve started working with this new management company and they’ve really gotten behind me. We started working together in July or so, and they’ve been really good about helping me to feel supported in the right ways, and they’re in for emotional values as much as economics. It’s tough sometimes, though. Especially being a solo act, there is not a ton of support. If you’re in a band, sometimes you can lean on your band members because you all go up there together. Sometimes it’s tough because you just go to sleep, get up the next day, and do it again.

CT: Any last words?

EH: Just that I had a great time in Orem, so I appreciate everybody being cool about it and everything. It&rsqu
o;s always tough when people don’t know the music, but everybody was really welcoming, so that was cool

CT: Thanks for your time, Eric, we enjoyed having you in Utah.

EH: Thanks a lot man, I appreciate you taking the time.

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