Mitch and Kenny were glad to welcome Sawyer Fredericks on The Mitch Albom Show on August 8 to talk about his upcoming shows in Pontiac and Holland, Michigan.
[Snippet of “Forever Wrong” plays…]
Mitch: This is a song that Sawyer Fredericks contributed to The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto soundtrack, which is how I came to know him as an absolutely delightful young man and when I say young I think when we met him he was 16 or 15…I don’t know something that had a teen at the end of it. He’s still got teens at the end of it and I think he’s all of 18 now. But even more mature and talented as a singer and a songwriter he’s coming to town at the Crofoot Ballroom Friday night and Pontiac and at the Park Theater in Holland on Saturday night. He’s on the line with us right now. Hello Sawyer.
M:How are you doing?
S:I’m good, I’m very good how are you?
M: It’s nice to talk to you again. Have you reached 18 now or are you of voting age?
S: I have reached 18 now.
M: Now we’ve got to start waiting till you get to 21. And it must be weird to be like playing all these places for so many relative years of your life and everyone can drink but you.
S: I don’t find it that weird. I don’t really like alcohol yet.
M: Oh good good. Don’t you even go near it young man for another three years.
So you’ve also been doing a lot of shows I saw where your “A Good Storm, the album that you released, when you were promoting for that you did like over 60 shows around the country and now I’m looking at your schedule here it looks like you’re a different place every single night. You know for a guy who lives most of the time on a farm in New York State, you like the road it seems or at least you feel it’s necessary.
S: I would say now most the time I’m not living on a farm.
M: Because you’re on the road, right?
M: It’s like I mean it’s almost you know back-to-back nights on a lot of nights. Is that just because it’s necessary these days? It’s you know the old way of, especially when you’re doing singer-songwriter stuff. There aren’t too many radio stations that put that stuff in heavy rotation and all it’s kind of up to you to make a name for it isn’t it?
S: It’s also like performing like having a show like each night is just awesome. I keep my voice better in shape so there’s not like nights and days in between where my voice gets like, I guess, exercise.
M: I’m going to play this. You did this with Olivia Millerschin, who is from around here and also a favorite of ours, local. You guys recorded this together.
M: I take a little pride in hearing this since you guys met as a result of the Frankie Presto project and you became friends and you went off and recorded this in New York somewhere or something.
S: Yes. Yes. It was a great time. Yeah.
M: Do you enjoy doing duets stuff? You know with other artists. Your generation seems to be much more oriented towards collaboration with everybody and anybody than if you go back you know 30 or 40 years. It was a big deal when two people came together on a collaboration, you know the Temptations and the Supremes recorded together, it was like a big deal or Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. It was a big deal. Now everybody seems to be you know “in parentheses” you know like are you going to be “in the parentheses” or on the “outside of the parentheses.” But there’s an awful lot of collaboration. How do you feel about that?
S: I mean I’m I support it. I really enjoy like collaborating with other artists. I think it like combines the two different styles and I think you get a lot of great music out of that.
M: Do you like writing with other people as well as sing with them?
S: Sometimes it depends on what kind of writing style is and whether we connect on like story lines and stuff.
M: What is your writing style?
S: My writing style. I guess my writing style is kind of like a lot of my songs are inspired by a feeling and then I kind of exaggerate that feeling and then use a lot of my imagination to come up with a story and then I try to think of what kind of emotion this person would be feeling in this scenario.
And once you kind of have that like a whole like story and scenario thought out and kind of just figure out how you want to tell the story.
M: Now everything that you said up to that point a writer could say the exact same thing.
You know I’m a novelist. Everything you just said because you haven’t yet mentioned music or rhythm or any of the rest of it. So I mean that’s fascinating. It’s fascinating do you do it that way and then you bring the music in or the music is the beginning part.
S: That’s just, that’s instant.
M: So you write the melodies first and then you figure out the tunes that you’re going to play?
I mean you’re going to tell is interesting because I know that for example Paul Simon who I’ve heard interviewed many times about this process. He says he always begins with a rhythm you know like it just starts with the you know with the drums of it in and figures that out first and then then will go to a melody or then he’ll go to the words other people write the words first and put it down. You’re more of…
S: I would say I start off with a guitar and then I find melodies to sing over that. And then I start to find random lyrics I do like weird like not even words kind of thing. And then you get something out of that.
M: Do you find Detroit to be good audiences for you?
S: Oh most definitely. I love that.
M: All right. Well you’re going to do Pontiac.
And you’re going to Holland. So you’re getting to suburban Detroit and then you’re getting out a little bit into the into the middle part of the state. Should be a great show S: It’s my first time in Holland.
M: It’s your first time in Holland. Don’t look for any windmills it’s not that kind of thing.
S: Yeah. M: Well it’s lovely to hear from you.
And you’re always a friend of ours you’re on the wall by the way at the Detroit Water Ice Factory which is a big deal. Big deal. So you know if you want to swing by Detroit you’ll see yourself looking out with the “Nice Ice” sign there and that entitles you to free water ice whenever you ever you want. So we’ll look forward to seeing you in person whenever we can. Meanwhile continued success with the tour. I know you’ve been working on a new album. Is it out yet or is it on it’s way?
S: It’s on it’s way. I’m planning to have the album out by the end of this year.
M: And what’s it called?
S: Hide Your Ghost.
M: Hide Your Ghost. All right. Because I know we have a lot of your fans listening when you come on the program. So now mark your calendars and your Christmas present.
S: Luckily, well I’m not sure for these shows but we will have EP out for the tour.
M: Oh perfect. All right.
S: Exclusively for the tour though. You won’t be able to get it online or anything.
M: Well we’ll look for that and come on back on and we’ll talk about that when it happens.
S: All right.
M: Sawyer be well. Good talking to you.
S: Thank you.
M: Sawyer Fredericks joining us on the program. We’ll see him at the Crofoot in Pontiac and go see him in Holland at the Park Theater. Friday night in Pontiac, Saturday night in Holland.