19-year-old multi-instrumentalist Spencer Barnett is here to introduce the world his genre-bending music. The young, rising star has a way of telling stories that’s so genuinely authentic and personal to him, which makes his music unlike anything else. Barnett’s brand new single “Welcome to My Mind” (which was released today), details his experience with mental health, making it the first song he’s released that’s not about relationships. We had the opportunity to talk to Barnett about his musical influences, what it was like writing “Welcome to My Mind,” and the importance of being honest.
BTS: Can you tell us how you got started with making music?
SPENCER BARNETT: After having played guitar in bands for a few years, I started writing songs when I was about 15. I grew up in San Francisco, so during high school I would go down to LA during the summer or spring break and write with friends. After graduating last June, I moved out here and have been making music full time, it’s been a dream.
BTS: How would you describe your music for someone who hasn’t heard it before?
SB: I like to think of my music as psychedelic pop–a blend of indie, rock, and pop elements. But genres are a thing of the past. I don’t like to adhere to any single classic “genre” in my music, but instead have a variety of different feels because in all honesty, I would get bored making it and listening to it.
BTS: Who are some of your influences, musically and non-musically?
SB: MGMT, The Pixies, and Toro y Moi have all played a large part in inspiring my sound. But Peter Saul and Salvador Dali’s earlier works have inspired a lot of the visuals that I’ve been creating for this new record. They are all incredible artists.
BTS: You were born in New York City and raised in San Francisco, how have those two places influenced your music?
SB: I moved from New York to SF with my family when I was only five, so I definitely grew up in the Bay Area, but still claim a bit of NY because I was raised by my New Yorker parents who have ingrained that famous NYC hustle in me. This year, I’ve been able to spend a lot of time back in New York, rediscovering the city as an adult now and it truly is such a special and unique place. But San Francisco is where I bought my first guitar, wrote my first song, and spent hours in my room making music and jamming with friends–it’s where my music comes from. If anything, being in LA this past year has influenced my music more than New York or San Francisco. I’ve been exposed to so much life in such a short period of time that it has made me grow massively as an artist–in both taste and skill.
BTS: What’s your process like in the studio?
SB: I always collaborate with other people when making music. Having someone else to keep ideas flowing as they develop is huge. I tend to overthink a lot and sometimes it derails a song if I get too caught up on one specific idea. That’s why Welcome to My Mind was completed-start to finish-in a single week. 6 days of writing, 6 songs, and that’s it. I enlisted the help of Hoskins, The 23rd, and Jackson Lee Morgan to work on the EP with me and we found a really cool studio in rural France and came out a week later with little sleep and six songs.
BTS: Tell us about your new single “Welcome To My Mind” – what was the writing and recording process like for the song?
SB: The title track “Welcome To My Mind” is a song that I had been wanting to write for a while, but it didn’t come out right until the France sessions. Everything just clicked while we were there and the writing process felt so natural and easy.
BTS: “Welcome To My Mind” is a very open and honest about mental health – is showing that kind of honesty in your music important to you? If so, why?
SB: As an artist, it’s important to talk about real issues and not just write love songs. This is something that I’m working on for my next project as well, but something that really started with “Welcome To My Mind”–my first song that’s not about love.
BTS: How did working on this song differ from other projects you’ve worked on in the past?
SB: This song, and project, feels like the culmination of everything I’ve learned through making music in the last two years. Both sonically and visually, this song marks the beginning of the next chapter in my project.
BTS: What’s been the most important lesson you’ve learned as an artist so far?
SB: Sometimes the best thing for an idea is to just let it go.
BTS: What’s one fun fact about yourself for our readers?
SB: I can’t stand sushi!
BTS: What can fans expect from you this year?
SB: An EP, videos, shows (hopefully), and unconditional love. I also have been working on a visual podcast that I’m really excited about, but that’s still in early stages–details to come!
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