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| 27 April 2017 | Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

He’s only just turned eighteen, and released his first album, Cyclone, at the incomprehensible age of ELEVEN! He is Quinn Sullivan, and hails from Massachusetts, U.S.A – and his new album (his third), Midnight Highway, is killer. We threw him a dozen questions, and we’re pleased to have found a humble, talented cat with his head screwed on right.

(063016) Quinn Sullivan – musician. Photo by Chuck Lanza

1. Tell us a little about Midnight Highway – are there any hidden nuggets you put in there that only diehard fans might pick up on?

This was my favourite record to make out of all my records. I really am proud of this new one, because it showcases who I am and what I’m doing right now. It’s a mixed bag of genres and I’m okay with that. The band line-up was Reese Wynans on keys, Rob Mcnelley on guitar, Tom Hambridge on drums and Michael Rhodes on bass. Other sessions included Tommy MacDonald on bass, Bob Britt on guitar and Tony Harrell on keys. All of these guys really made this record what it is musically – I was lucky enough to have been able to work with such incredible musicians and wonderful people.
2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realised you wanted to be a musician?

My parents had a record collection of bands like the Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and the Grateful Dead. I gravitated towards those because it was what I was always hearing around the house. Music was always an essential part of my family because my dad is a drummer and my mom is a huge music fan so it was always there growing up. I think when I started playing guitar and started to notice I could do this, is when I realised this was the path I wanted to work towards. I couldn’t see myself being anything else besides a musician – I knew I had to be involved in music because it’s just a part of who I am. After my first time on stage at a John Lennon tribute in my hometown, I was hooked!
3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Buddy Guy, Derek Trucks and The Beatles.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

John Mayer. I think he’s one of the greatest artists out there right now, and he has been for the last 15 years or so. He’s extraordinary at what he does with his music and his writing. Collaborating with him on a song would be amazing. I’m sure I would learn a lot and would have fun at the same time. John Mayer is a great example of someone who has bridged the gaps between blues, rock and pop.
5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

I’d describe my music as a mixture of rock and blues with a pop flair. I enjoy listening to all kinds of music and I love to play many different styles. It keeps it interesting for me.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The best thing about being a musician is to be able to go out onstage and really have a connection with a group of people you couldn’t have if music wasn’t involved. I think music is the universal language, as many people have said before. When I go see someone I love, playing a live show, I like to feel a connection with whoever is onstage and almost feel hypnotised the entire show. That’s what I’m aiming for in my shows – I try to engage people for an hour and a half to two hours and make them feel something with what I’m singing or playing.
7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Most of the time, we’re either eating something quick, or if we have some time or a day off, we’ll all go out to eat occasionally. I think I’m probably the first one to start messing with an acoustic guitar – there’s times we’re at sound check and start playing a groove, and the band kicks in and starts grooving with me spontaneously. Those are some of my favourite moments on the road!

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Photographer. I’ve always had a love for photography and I occasionally take pictures with my camera so it would be a fun lifestyle to be in.
9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep, that you would like to be able to “do over”?

Luckily, every year has been better than the last. There’s always been a group of dedicated people surrounding me and guiding me in the right direction. On top of that list is Buddy Guy. I have been travelling the world with him for almost ten years! I’m very lucky to have had the experiences I’ve had and I appreciate each one of them. My goal presently is to be the best musician I can be.
10. If you were made ruler of the world, what would your first orders be?

I’d fix the poverty and end all wars. I’m not political really but those would be two things I would do.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

I think it would be to watch The Beatles make Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. That record has to be is one of the greatest records ever made, and to be a part of that session in a mythical world would be a trip. I’ve listened to that record over and over and that would be the one I’d want to go back in time to see and hear [being made] in person.

12. What, for you, is the meaning of life??

The meaning of life means different things for different people. To me, it means happiness, sadness, overcoming obstacles, learning, and making an imprint. We’re all placed on Earth for a reason, and we’re all meant to be here to do something to help the world. My choice was music and I think I made the right choice. I take every day as it comes and I try and stay in the present time and not think too far ahead.

Category: Interviews

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