img_6699.jpgEvery generation has experienced a great legend in their lifetime, who not only break down the musical barriers but who redefine the social standards of what type of Art is acceptable for an Artist to create. Artists like Michael Jackson, Prince, David Bowie and Justin Timberlake are a few of the greatly known entertainers that redefined themselves and never stopped fighting for their musical aspirations regardless of their backgrounds, history, race and age. The music and fashion industries have felt the eternal influences from all the entertainers of the past decades. New generations have spawned countless artists, musicians and fashion designers but the brightest stars are the ones that were wholeheartedly influenced by the greats of the past and also aspire to leave their own unique mark on the world.

There are rare times where you witness a musician who is part of a very popular band but he is not the frontman or the guitar player, he is the trumpet player. You attend the live show of the band and once you hear the first trumpet solo from this guy, your brain pauses and zooms in to that beautiful sound coming out of that instrument. Your eyes pop out, your mouth hangs open and your heart starts racing. The feeling is so intense, you don’t see the other members of the band playing at this point, your eyes are locked into the young guy who oozes a shining light of otherworldly talent vibrating off his stage presence. Immediately, you realise you are seeing one of the future great entertainers in the upcoming years and the feeling of knowing that was a clear awakening to find out who he is. The story was a real experience for me, when I saw Electro Pop Band, Capital Cities at a Christmas festival in Oakland, CA years ago. The musician who captured me with his inevitable talent was Spencer Ludwig.

In early September, I was lucky enough to chat with Spencer via a phone call interview, amidst his busy schedule of live show rehearsals and promotional appearances in New York City. Freshly back from catching Ludwig live in L.A. (See the concert review here), I was intrigued into finding out more about the charismatic musician. We discussed his musical influences, dream collaborations, everyday motivations and his music, including a few deets about his upcoming album and the Target Commercial.

img_6694.jpgSolo Career

Ludwig was influenced by music at a very early age. He was exposed to all types of music from R&B to Pop,  to Rock to Jazz. He became enarmored with Jazz in particular and went on to study Jazz at the California Institute of The Arts. After being a part of many past projects, Ludwig was ready to challenge himself and decided to make his wildest dreams come true. The opportunity came when Warner Brothers signed him to his first record deal as a solo artist. Ludwig took the opportunity and immersed himself into learning everything he could about being an all around entertainer. Ludwig told me, “Well, it’s been a very long and diverse journey. I feel like I’ve had a bunch of mini careers and now I’m at the beginning of the point of my career that I feel like I really become into myself. You know every single moment leading up to this moment has been amazing and an incredible learning experience.” I asked Ludwig if there is a highlight or favorite moment so far in his career and he said, “I feel like the now, as cliche as it sounds, is kind of my favorite part, you know, because I’m very much enjoying the present and excited about what’s coming up next.”

Ludwig further explains “I have to say a highlight so far has been turning in my completed album to the label. Writing and recording the album itself was an incredible highlight and experience,. Something I never thought I would be able to do had Warner Brothers not taken a chance wih me. You know that was an incredible godsend that I really enjoyed.” Ludwig took a year recording his upcoming album (due out in 2017). When it was done, he says he felt “a feeling of completion and a kind of moving forward.”

The Singles

Earlier this summer, Ludwig released his first two singles as a solo artist, The deliciously Funky, “Diggy” and The sensual feel good track “Right Into U” (Previously Featured On Our Music Monday Artist Spotlights here).

img_6691.jpgLudwig tells me, “Releasing the songs was an incredible feeling, actually having music that I wrote and sang on and was part of the start to finish was a huge milestone for me because I’ve always been a part of projects more specifically as the trumpet player.” He also says “The two songs showcase two very different sides of my vocal and those are the main textures and tones that weave in and out and in between tracks on the album.”

The positive online buzz on the singles was growing more throughout the weeks and Ludwig had his live concert debut to a massive success. “My first live show was an incredible highlight which was at the Troubadour, this legendary venue that I grew up going to. Just to see a full house of friends and family there to support a very new thing I’m doing was a great feeling.”

TargetStyle Campaign

During this time, Ludwig found out the impressive news that the Target Company had selected his single, “Diggy,” to be part of their TargetStyle Campaign. “It’s a big moment for me to have solo music come out and then for one of the songs to be selected as the Target Campaign song. It really overwhelmingly shocked me in a very good way. It only started to hit me. To be in the commercial as well it’s even further into fantasy crazy dream. I grew up loving Target Commercials. My mom and I have always been fans of them. It was amazing watching the commercial debut during the NFL game. I got together with friends and we waited for it and when it finally happened, it was an amazing crazy feeling.”

Performing and Inspirations

The excitement for Ludwig has been rising up to new heights from getting invited to performing at the Apple Music Festival in London to also performing at The Streamys Awards. Having witnessed his stage presence years ago and seeing him perform now, the same thought remained, that this guy was going to be a great entertainer.

Experiencing Ludwig live brings back this cool and sexy vibe that only Prince was able to conjure up live. “I take a lot of influence from the past. I’m really inspired by the 70s and the 80s specially the funk and the soul and the disco. I also really love 90’s R&B and early 90’s hip hop. Prince, Michael Jackson and Earth, Wind & Fire stick out to me as extremely inspirational,” Ludwig tells me. However, he shines very brightly when he turns to improvisations during his performances. Ludwig speaks on how Jazz is huge influence on him and his performing: “I take a lot of inspiration from Jazz, Starting with Louis Armstrong, Chet Baker and Miles Davis, who really was the trumpeter that inspired me to pick up the trumpet and continues to inspire me to work harder. I actually have an legendary picture of him (Miles Davis) that is above my desk. He is giving you one of those faces that is saying ‘Do you really think you’re working hard enough?’. He really pushed himself to continue to evolve like most Jazz purists do.” He goes on to say “Coming from a Jazz background, improvisation is my strength. I really feel it unlocks this unknown part of the music and creates this new beautiful thing that is the music within the music.”

It’s very evident that Ludwig has so many different musical influences from different genres such as “Electronic music, Deep house, Soul, and Funk” to listening to different musicians like The Bee Gees and Justin Timberlake in addition to listening to “street musicians walking through New York and it changes my life.” Ludwig shares his dream collaborator would be to work with Pharrell Williams, “Pharrell is my favorite living artist and producer and my current inspiration.”

One of Ludwig favorite aspects of being an artist is the performing. “I feel like that is my greatest purpose because I can emot in a way that I’m not able to do in any other moment and when I’m doing that I’m not only connecting to myself and the moment but also to the people there. There’s this amazing connection that happens and after the show I get to feel that connection I created and the energy I left and put out to the universe and its very positive. I want them (the audience) to feel like somebody touched their soul and has transported them for a moment to a new place that was fun, awesome and they want to go back to again.”

Everyday Challenges

Social media and the press often times shows only the glamourous side of the life of an artist. Artists get viewed as untouchable god like creatures who can never be compared with regular human beings like you and I. When you really take a moment and think about it, not all artists are the same, most of them have their personal struggles and everyday challenges like any other person. I asked Ludwig what are the challenges he faces: “Sometimes the challenges, you feel them and other times you appreciate them. It’s not always negative. Regards to the creative process, it can be challenging to feel you’re always on to something and sometimes you need to push through the dry spells or push through the times where you’re not making your best art in order to get to your best art, that can be very difficult. It can be challenging to have patience to wait for the good things to come. Also not making enough money and you have to balance doing what you do with your financial situation and that also can be difficult. I definitely had my ups and downs, I’m still making ends meet but that challenge is life and you have to figure it out.”

Advice

Ludwig shared some  advice to anyone aspiring to become an artist. “You need to practice all day, everyday, continue to evaluate yourself and work harder each day. You need to be open to collaborations and learning from those collaborations and taking what you learned and put it into practice in order to create your own sound. I think that in the entertainment world you have to focus on a very specific goal in order to get there. You need to prepare yourself for the opportunity because you never know when the right opportunity is going to come along.”


The Album and Touring

At the end of the interview, Ludwig shared some album deets and what is coming next. “The goal is to tour and all that happens once the music has been shared and heard enough times throughout the country and the world, so it makes sense to visit. In the meantime, we are setting up small shows to build awareness in certain cities and markets. We’re taking our time to make sure we are building real connections with people and their cities. So that all of this is not just the story of a song or an artist that you’ve heard and then disappear. Two more songs getting released before the end of the year and a full length album at the top of next year. The next singles will be a bit darker and edgier to complement the ones that are out now.”

Ludwig is destined for greatness, he has it all, the complete package, from the smooth and super cool fashion style, the genuinely sweet person he is to how he can command the live audiences with endless swagger and charisma. The way he carries himself on stage with an in your face confidence that truly leaves you in awe. Spencer Ludwig is the prime example of someone who got influenced on past great entertainers but takes a bit of each influence and mixes it to make his own unique sound. The rise of Spencer Ludwig is unstoppable and I hope you join him on the crazy ride of his multi-faceted career.

Follow Spencer Ludwig on his official site, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify and iTunes

Photographs courtesy of Ryde Or Cry and b4flight

Share on Pinterest