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BLUES PLAYER

"I can be moved by someone’s voice, a drum sound, someone’s tone on a guitar or any instrument, all of it inspires me." - Quinn Sullivan

Posted: July 24, 2023
It’s crucial to me to promote healthy thinking. I have a song called “All Around the World” that touches on world events without getting political. I tend to keep politics private because first, I’m not a very political person and second, nobody needs another white guy’s opinion, we have enough of those ha! I am a huge believer in music being one of the driving forces in healing all walks of life.

With the experience of success comes confidence and trust that you are on the right path. It is a sign that your fans are consuming your music and making it their own. It is easy for fan to fall in love with the music that they here. However, Guitar Thrills Magazine begs the question: Do artists fall in love with their own music? It Almost sounds narcissistic. Yet, the question takes on a whole different vibe when you consider the context.

We often stress the need to listen to the lyrics. Avoid getting caught up in the beat. If you fail to hear what the artist is saying, then you have missed the point. Most musicians sing from the heart. They put their emotions behind each intro, verse, or chorus. These are some essential building blocks for a successful song.

Behind that though is a “picture”. A perfect painting of expression. Therefore, many musicians are considered artists. It is because they know how to put these building blocks together to create a masterpiece. Notice, not all musicians can be artists. There is nothing wrong with being a musician. However, taking it to another level, differentiates you from the pack. It will also help you to become successful within the music industry.

Our guest today is Quinn Sullivan. He has a lot of experience creating music with emotion. The perfect lyric is essential to the start of a song that will last forever. At an early age he has been focused on building a career as an artist. It is our opinion that he had done so. What goes into creating songs that are unforgettable? Do artists fall in love with their own music? What resource do they pull from to create songs that are heartfelt? Let’s direct our attention to our special guest today.

ABOUT QUINN SULLIVAN

A rare artist who’s always sounded older than his years, Sullivan has been touring the world since he was 11 years old, playing storied venues such as Madison Square Garden, the Hollywood Bowl and RFK Stadium in Washington D.C., as well as India’s Mahindra Blues Festival, Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival, and three Montreux Jazz Festivals. Quinn has shared the stage with his hero and mentor Buddy Guy, as well as Carlos Santana on several occasions. Quinn’s performance experience includes appearances on leading national television programs such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Conan, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, to name a few.

“The songs are better and more complex without being pretentious. The sounds are larger without flooding the mix. and most importantly, Sullivan expands his personal genre without losing his artistic voice.”

Blues Rock Review

“Guitar slinger Quinn Sullivan has already proven himself to be a giant in the world of blues, and this album should go a long way toward convincing any doubters that Buddy Guy was right when he said: “Players like Quinn come along once in a lifetime.”

Blues Blast Magazine

INTERVIEW WITH QUINN SULLIVAN AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: All I have to say is...wow!!! I don’t think I could ever get tired of hearing your music. The same could be said from your fans as well. You continue to move your listeners with the emotion. You project that through your voice. What would you say is the most intricate part about songwriting?

Quinn: Thank you for the kind words! That’s a good question. To be honest, the whole process of songwriting is intricate for me. For the most part, it begins with me coming up with a chord progression on my guitar, mostly on an acoustic. I like writing on an acoustic because you don’t have any distractions, meaning I’m not prompted to noodle on it whereas on my electric, I’d be noodling all day and never writing an actual song ha! Sometimes I’ll have a lyrical idea, but rarely does it happen without some sort of melody or progression I’ve already written. The lyrics sort of come along with how the music is making me feel. For instance, a song like “She’s Gone” which is on my latest album ‘Wide Awake’, that song was a melody and guitar riff I had written that I brought in the studio, and together my producer and I came up with the lyrics based on a conversation we were having about relationships and I had just happened to be getting out of one at that time, so I try to write as honestly and transparent as I can.

Guitar Thrills: I opened this interview with a topic involving heart, and emotion. Both are important in convincing your listener that you relate to their experiences. Of course, not everyone will experience the same thing. However, emotion is important in expressing lyrics and connecting with the hearer. This is my opinion, but I want to know what you personally think. Do you draw on one source when you write music? If so, what is it?

Quinn: I agree. I draw on many sources when writing songs. The first thing that comes to mind is just listening to my favorite music. I’ve been influenced over the years by so many styles of music. I grew up on classic rock, but lately I’ve been into tons of soul and R&B music. I can be moved by someone’s voice, a drum sound, someone’s tone on a guitar or any instrument for that matter, all of it inspires me. Another source I draw from quite often is just my life as a whole. I’ve had some incredible and some rather traumatizing experiences in my 24 years and I draw from it all when I sit down to write. The greatest songs to me come from personal experience, and whenever I’m writing, it’s always either a reflection of my life or a reflection of someone else’s that I know. The beauty in songwriting is that a song I write can mean something completely different to someone else, so the only thing you can really do is be honest. If you’re honest, then it will reflect in the music and eventually to the audience.

Guitar Thrills: When did you know that you had some major hit songs? Also, did you know that the guitar was going to be an added skill set?

Quinn: I’m not sure I’ve considered any of my songs as hit songs quite yet, but I appreciate you saying that! I do know that I’ve always been a guitar player, since I was 3, which is when I first got a guitar from my parents. I’ve been after it since I first held one in my hand and have been lucky enough for it to be my job. I’ve never had to work another job. Music has always been what I’ve considered to be a lifelong journey. I told myself when I was 9 years old that this would be something I’d do forever. I’m a lifer as they say.

Guitar Thrills: There is a belief that the city that you live in, will be the one that will provide you the most opportunity for success. Is there one city or state that has added to your success as an artist? Music City is notorious for producing some of the nation’s most talented music artists. However, it could be easily argued that L.A is the leading source for talented artists. How do you feel about that

Quinn: I’ve always lived in a small city called New Bedford, Massachusetts. I’m not sure I think you must live in Nashville or LA to be a successful musician. I believe in being in the right place at the right time for the opportunity to hit the right way, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to live in a specific city for that to happen. It really depends on what you’re after and what your goals are as an artist. I think in the songwriting and producing world, Nashville seems to be where everyone is going now, but I’ve not yet found myself in a place where I must move somewhere for my career. I think when I do make that move, it’ll be more for because I’m ready to get out of my hometown and move somewhere for a change of scenery, not just because it’ll help my career in some way, because you don’t know if it will until you’re in that new place for a little while.

Guitar Thrills: In our book, you have made it as an artist in the Blues genre. When will you be able to identify that you have become a successful blues artist? Is it money, popularity, sales, or a combination of those things?

Quinn: Funnily enough, I’ve never considered myself as a Blues artist. I love the blues and it’s certainly a big part of my history, but I’ve always drawn from several genres that I incorporate into my sound. I would put myself more into the Rock category if I had to place myself somewhere. I think there’s a beauty in not ever fully being defined, sort of like Hendrix, Clapton, The Beatles, or Mayer. They just make music that moves them. It never follows a certain format stylistically, yet they are so cohesive. To me, that’s how you can have your foot in several different doors, and be a part of different crowds, if you have that power to put genre bending music out that can connect with not only fans of the blues, but fans of other kinds of music. It’s important to me I make music that’s universal, that everyone can relate to on some level. That’s the definition of success to me, is if my music is connecting with people of all ages. When I look out at a crowd of people, I want to see diversity, not just one kind of person. To do that, you must be open minded and pay attention to what’s happening around you in the world.

Guitar Thrills: I had an interview with an artist that discussed having passion without discouragement. They were convinced that it was possible, and that is how they continued to thrive within a competitive industry. There are frustrations, and disappointments. I guess you could say that about any industry or career. How are you able to cope, and move forward regardless of the challenges?

Quinn: It can get challenging to deal with discouraging things that come with being an artist, or honestly figuring life out in general. I think everyone, as you said, has some sort of challenge they’re dealing with. Whether you have a lot of money or you’re struggling, we all face challenges, it’s unavoidable. I think a lot of how you look at things can have a major impact on how you feel and how successful you are. If you’re a person that tends to be more down than up, sometimes it helps to get out of whatever situation you’re in that’s making you feel that way and do something else for even just an hour or so to get your mind right. Mindset plays a huge role in my life and my career. I know myself well and when my mind is slipping and going in a million different directions, I try to be mindful of that and aware of not getting too much in my head about stuff, because I struggle with that sometimes.

Guitar Thrills: From your perspective, when is it time to “shelf” a song? Do you ever consider them too old to promote? Each of us has our oldies. Some artists wouldn’t be called legends if their songs were not recycled. Yes, it is important to keep producing new songs. However, do you ever feel that a song has an expiration date to it?

Quinn: I don’t think you should ever shelf a song unless you’re tired of playing it. I don’t believe songs become outdated if people love them. Some songs are like wine, they get better in age. When it’s a well-known song, it’ll have a life that’s longer than your own. I don’t feel a song has an expiration date unless you tell yourself it does. The people dictate that. I don’t think an artist can dictate if a song is successful or not, it’s all up to the listener.

Guitar Thrills: I believe that there is a time to start focusing on other topics of the day. There are still wonderful things taking place in society today. However, negativity and fake news seems to take priority over the good. How important is it to you to help others promote healthy thinking? If so, is it through music?

Quinn: It’s crucial to me to promote healthy thinking. I have a song called “All Around the World” that touches on world events without getting political. I tend to keep politics private because first, I’m not a very political person and second, nobody needs another white guy’s opinion, we have enough of those ha! I am a huge believer in music being one of the driving forces in healing all walks of life. There’s evidence that music touches a part of you that nothing else can do quite the same. Love can touch you; lust can touch you, but music reaches a different part of the brain that I have yet to discover what else can have that same effect. Music changes the world. It’s the soundtrack to our lives, and the beautiful thing about that is we all have different soundtracks.

Guitar Thrills: I know you are an excellent guitar player. What is your favorite brand of guitar, and why? Is there a specific sound that you are looking for out of your guitar of choice?

Quinn: My first love for guitars was Fenders growing up. I still play them often, the Stratocaster most notably. I think Strats to me have always been such versatile guitars. They’re easy to play and you don’t have to think too hard when you play one. You can play any style of music on it and you’ll be able to get a good sound. I think for me, I’m just looking for whatever the song calls for. Some songs may call for a Gibson sound / humbucker sound, but sometimes you may want a single coil sound with a Tele or a Strat. I’m a believer that your instrument is your tool to execute whatever song you’re playing to the best of your ability.

Guitar Thrills: What is the perfect set up for you for your performances? Is it as simple as an unplugged environment?

Quinn: I love playing different size venues for different reasons. Right now, I play lots of clubs and small theaters around the world. I’ve really loved the intimacy of those kinds of venues where you can really feel the crowd and they’re right on top of you. It connects on a deeper level to me. When I’ve gotten the opportunity to play arenas, stadiums, or amphitheaters in my life, they’re always crazy and you always get a huge adrenaline rush because you never imagined being able to even play those size rooms and there’s no 7other feeling like playing for thousands of people. It’s amazing.

Guitar Thrills: Nice to hear.

Guitar Thrills: Is there a new release coming out, and if so, when? Do you have a particular event that you would like to promote?

Quinn: I’m currently working on a new project I can’t really talk much about now, but I will say people can expect something new sooner than they expected.

Guitar Thrills: It has been a privilege to interview you today, Quinn. I think this interview will set up other opportunities for discussion. Would you be open to that?

Quinn: Of course.

Guitar Thrills: Excellent. We will keep in touch. Hopefully we can set up something for the near future. Thank you for taking the time to interview with Guitar Thrills Magazine.

Guitar Thrills: In conclusion, we opened the topic with a question. Do artists fall in love with their own music? To some degree, they have too. Again, it’s not a lack of humility on the artist’s part. It’s a matter of the heart, and what is involved in creating “art”. Remember some of the essential building blocks of a song? Intro, Verse, Chorus, all the lyrics that make up each block are expressions from the heart. So yes, if you are talented to use those building blocks effectively, with your songs, then guess what? You will fall in love with the music as well.

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