“There needs to be more fun music in this world,” Spencer Sutherland says when talking EXCLUSIVELY with HollywoodLife, and there’s plenty of fun in his new song. “Grateful” starts off with an irresistible bassline, one that grabs you and doesn’t let go until your feet are bouncing along to the beat. Spencer slides in with laid-back vocals that radiate sex appeal. While there is plenty of seduction in the “Selfish” singer’s voice, “Grateful” is all about loving…yourself. “I’m not perfect, but I’m grateful,” he sings on the chorus. “And that sh-t’s perfect / and that’s me.”
An infectious groove about incredibly relatable issues, “Grateful” is the motivational poster and inspirational mantra your soul needs right now. It’s a celebration of not having a lot, but appreciating what you have, which is a timely message with Thanksgiving fast approaching. While the message behind “Grateful” is positive, it’s not sentimental to the point of being schmaltzy. Spencer retains the edgy cleverness that he displayed on the EP he released earlier in 2019, NONE of this has been about you (“That’s my sweater / why the f-ck you got it on?” he sings on the EP’s opener, “Sweater”). “Grateful” is a soulful pop song that’s unafraid of its cracks and rough edges. And really? Everyone should be grateful for that.
Fans will be able to catch Spencer at select iHeartRadio Jingle Ball shows this winter. During his interview with HollywoodLife, Spencer reveals why he’s excited to take part in this holiday extravaganzas, how “Grateful” practically wrote itself, and what fans can expect from him in the next year.
HollywoodLife: You’ve gone from “Selfish” to “Grateful.” What prompted you to express this “gratitude” with this new song?
I think a big part of me putting out music in the last year that has finally started to really resonate with my fans and make new fans to gain all this momentum was me being super real with myself. It wasn’t true to put a message out there that was just like a casual pop song. Not that there’s anything wrong with those, but I wanted to have a real, raw message in the music, and not be scared of what my voice was saying.
So I think “Grateful” really does that, and it’s kind of like a point in my life where I was really stressed out. I was writing for a few months, and I was just feeling pressure from everyone else.
And then we had this session that was so fun and easy, and me and the producer were talking like, well, what do you feel? And I’m just, and I was feeling grateful just to be alive. And, if you listen to the verse, lyrics, and stuff, that was the first try, I wrote those in like three or four minutes, and we didn’t question it. We didn’t go through anything like scientifically and look if anything was too, wasn’t cool enough or whatever. We kept it. And that’s why I think the production of the song seemed real.
The lyrics in the song are – I would say simple, but not in a demeaning way. It’s simple the way that honesty is simple. There really is no pretense about it.
I love that.
The line “I’m not perfect” is lovely. Just the acknowledgment of someone’s flaws in a way that seemed accepting of the fact, that was really touching.
It’s funny because it goes, “I’m not perfect, but I’m grateful, and that’s just perfect, and that’s me.” You’re actually saying that you’re perfect just the way you are with every little thing that’s wrong with you. You’re never going to be perfect in what you think is perfect, but when you skew your meaning of perfect, you’re perfect.
Although, that’s a lot of perfects.
What’s really perfect is the baseline on this track. Dude, that needs to be illegal. Was the goal to make one of the funkiest tracks possible?
[laughs] We were feeling funky, so we wanted to do that. But sometimes with funk music can sound a little cheesy, or you can go with, it sounds like you’re making a Bruno Mars track, and we wanted to do something different. So that’s why we’re kind of like speaking the verses, kind of singing, kind of rapping, to keep it like laid back and cool. And this is the first time that I didn’t over sing really huge on, and I’m actually excited about that. But yeah, the bass line was just the first thing that we tried, and it was just fun, man. There needs to be more fun music in the world, I think.
Is the song going to be on your upcoming EP?
We’re deciding that right now. I would assume that it is, but with writing, you never know, because you could come up with the song tomorrow. That’s always like a blessing, and the curse of songwriting is, you never really know until it’s out, because you have chances to write a better one.
So the next release is still kind of cooking.
Is it going to be like the second half of the NONE of this has been about you, or will it go in a completely different direction, like showing a different side of you?
It’s not going in a super different direction, but it’ll definitely be showing a new side of me. There’s nothing on the new one that’s released yet, the other EP, which I’m super excited about.
You’re showing depth.
And I think it’s like, I’ve gotten more confidence. That was the first project I was able to put out and did so much for me, but then it gives me the confidence to stretch myself even further, and see how weird, for lack of a better word, I could be. And just go for it. The new music definitely is not following any rules.
You’ve released this song right before Thanksgiving, which is quite a perfect time to share a song about being grateful.
It was actually a happy coincidence, but it lined up. Plus, we tried to figure out when to put it out, and you know, we just decided like, “Hey. “You know, I want to give my fans music.” I didn’t get into this game to put out a song a year, and then I want to you know, peoples’ attention spans are crazy, so I want to be able to feed them music that I am proud of. It just happened to line up with Thanksgiving, Christmas, holiday season, which is a really, really cool thing.
Speaking of the holiday season, you’re going to brighten everyone’s holidays when you perform at select iHeartRadio Jingle Ball dates. Are you excited for these holiday concerts? Are you going to do anything special for them?
Man, these are shows that I had been trying to get on as long as I’ve been making music. These are like- I’ve always wanted to be on a handful of Jingle Balls and KISSMas concerts. I’m just stoked to get on with all this with all these amazing artists. It’s pretty crazy. People I listened to and yeah, man, these are the shows that are the best too, because the fans are always the craziest for this show is, and there are so many opportunities to make new fans. Yeah. It’s going to be amazing, it’s going to be amazing. I’m so ready.
Is there anything else you have planned for 2020? What’s the main goal you want to accomplish in the first year of this new decade?
I want to even do more touring next year. It’s literally my favorite thing in the whole world. And you know other than that I guess all this new music, and I used some really crazy cool stuff that’s just happened in the last couple of weeks that I obviously can’t say yet, but it could be game-changing and life-changing. So I’m pretty excited in regards to our music for everybody to hear stuff that we’re doing.
Well, the best part of the holidays is the anticipation. So, and you have just given everyone something look forward to.
I love that.
See Spencer Sutherland when he performs at the following iHeartRadio Jingle Ball events this December.
12/1 – Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena (93.3 WFLZ Jingle Ball Pre-Show)
12/9 – St. Paul, MN @ Roy Wilkins Auditorium (101.3 KDWB Pre-Show)
12/12 – Baltimore, MD @ Ram’s Head Live! (Z104.3 Merry Litmas Main Show)
12/13 – New York, NY @ Pier 36 (Z100 All Access Lounge Pre-Show)
12/16 – Covington, KY @ Madison Live (107.1 KISSMAS Pre-Party)
12/17 – Covington, KY @ Madison Live (107.1 KISSMAS Main Show)