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The Frettie Journal
A collection of interviews, updates, tips and resources for songwriters.

Spotlight: Nashville Songwriter Sarah Spencer

All, Featured Songwriters by Dennis Field on August 09, 2013


Our latest Interview is with singer & songwriter Sarah Spencer. In this interview Sarah talks about how not wanting to practice the piano steered her into becoming a songwriter and that by committing to writing for at least 30 minutes she stays creative and inspired.

Q: Where do you call home?
Nashville, Tennessee

Q: Where did you grow up?
Ocala, Florida

Q: What is your ideal setup for writing music?
We have a dedicated studio/writing room that’s set up to be kind of a place of zen for making music. I love bringing friends over and writing in there. Having that one spot that’s completely dedicated to music really helps me get geared up to write. And natural light. Lots of sunlight! I hate writing in a cave, it makes me want cry and fall asleep.

Q: How did you get started with Songwriting?
I think I really started writing when I was taking piano lessons in elementary school. I loved the piano, but hated practicing. So instead of learning someone else’s music, I wrote my own. And thank God for my teacher, she was amazing and let me play my original music at recitals. She was a saint for putting up with me.

Q: What books are you currently reading?
David Hooper’s “6 Figure Musician”, and Jon Acuff’s “Quitter”. Those two books have been incredibly encouraging, informative, and validating. I’d recommend them both to any creative person who knows that the regular 9-5 just isn’t for them.

Q: What album are you currently listening to?
Oh, lots. It’s always “today’s country” on my radio in the car, and I love listening to what the other writers and artist in Nashville are up to. I love cruising around Frettie for that very reason.

Q: When it gets tough, how do you stay inspired?
Just keep writing. If I don’t write for a couple of days, I start to get really depressed, and the creativity dissapears. But as soon as I sit down and focus, even for like, 30 minutes, it jump starts my creativity and it comes right back. That’s why I think it’s sooo important that we keep writing as part of our daily routine. Keep those gears greased.

Q: As a Songwriter, what is your biggest challenge?
Scheduling! Self discipline! Calendars! Timing! Phone calls. Basically anything it takes to stay organized and run your own business. I’m sooo not a business person. I’m basically a recovering shy, anxious person.

Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
Saturday mornings, in our studio room, with the window open, sunlight streaming in, a hot cup of coffee and the sweet smell of my guitar.

Q: To date, what has been your favorite memory as a Songwriter?
There are many. One that stands out is the time I went to a workshop through NSAI, Woody Bomar was teaching, and out of nowhere, he brings in Tom Douglas to play some songs for us. There were like, 20 of us, and we all gathered around the piano and threw out requests, and he played them for us. Hearing “Little Rock” like that was amazing, I wanted to cry.

Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
I just try to write a lot, meet a lot of good people, make friends, and not be a jerk, I guess? If I’m a jerk, please tell me!

Q: What is your Songwriting process?
I sit down with my guitar/keyboard, my laptop and notebook, and just kinda go. I almost always write music and lyrics together. I try and focus on really getting a solid hook or concept first thing, because that will lay out the direction for the entire song. Especially in country music, the hook is so important. I have a running hook list saved in Wunderlist that I usually reference.

Q: What advice would you tell up and coming Songwriters?
Don’t stop writing, going to workshops, mixers, meeting people, shows, playing rounds, just don’t stop doing it. Believe in yourself, be positive, and surround yourself with other friends who are in the same place you are. Don’t get discouraged. Love everyone and every moment of it!

Q: What are some of your accomplishments to date?
I’m so proud to be able to say that I put out a full length album right after high school with guitarist and friend, Steve Morse. We’ve toured in Florida and California, and it was a blast. Making the move to Nashville was incredible. And just yesterday I got some amazing news that makes another milestone in my career, I just can’t share what it is, yet.

Q: How do you think Frettie will benefit the Songwriting Community?
I’ve been WAITING for something like Frettie to happen! A social network for songwriters to connect. A place where you can upload a work-tape or rough version of a song in progress and get feedback. I can’t tell you how many times I’m writing by myself and I’m stuck or not sure if something really works or not, and I just wish there was a group I could test it with. Frettie provides that.

Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
I love Frettie! Frettie is definitely integrating into my writing workflow. I also can’t live without Wunderlist. I have a running list of hooks, lists of websites and other great resources, things I need to do and songs I need to demo. And it all syncs with my phone. Also, Google Calendar. I would die without it. WikiRhymer for rhymes. A Google Chrome extension called Quick Note, for those notes I wanna write down real quick when inspiration strikes while I’m at work. The Muse has a bunch of great inspiration tools like random and interesting words, which are really fun to explore.

Q: So what’s next for Sarah Spencer and where can readers find you online?
A whole lot of writing, a whole lot of playing, and hopefully, a whole lot of amazing artists to work with.

You can find me at my official website. I’m always on Twitter and Facebook! I play pretty frequently around Nashville at various writer’s nights, so if you’re in the area, come on out and say hey! You can also find me on Frettie!

Thanks Sarah for taking the time to answer these questions. We appreciate all of your support and looking forward to connecting with you more on Frettie.

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Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at info@frettie.com.


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