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Interview: Quinn Hedges

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your latest album, and what themes or stories you aimed to convey through your music?

My latest album, Night Divine, is my take on popular secular and non-secular Christmas songs. With this album, I wanted to challenge myself to take the songs that have inspired me and evoked “Christmas Spirit” and present them in my own unique way.

Music often has the power to transport people to different places and times. Can you describe a moment in your life when a particular song or album had a profound impact on you?

Nostalgia…that is the power of music. When performing, I always try to focus on those songs that make people say, “I haven’t heard that one in years!”. It’s an avenue to build a relationship with the audience and create a great memory in the moment.

When I was in college, I studied abroad for a year at Concordia University in Montreal. When I left the country, I made a conscious effort to only bring jazz CDs with me to listen to (yes, CDs…this was back in 2001). With that said, I ended up purchasing two popular rock albums during my year there, Parachutes by Coldplay and Rockin’ the Suburbs by Ben Folds. I wore out both albums during my stint in Canada and when I hear anything from those albums, I am instantly transported back to that amazing time.

Many artists have rituals or routines they follow before performing or recording. Do you have any unique or quirky pre-show or pre-recording rituals that you find help you get in the zone?

I typically don’t have any set routines for live performances aside from making sure I get there early to fully allow the anxiety to kick in prior to “go time”! Joking aside, I do like to allow more than enough time to set up and mentally and physically prepare for the evening. There’s nothing worse than rushing to set up for a performance and not feeling fully prepared. Once I have set up and gone through a sound check, I tend to noodle on my guitar for a while to make sure I’m nice and warmed up for the show.

When it comes to recording, I just make sure that all the listening and practicing is done before I head into the studio to lay down tracks. The last thing I want to be is the musician who comes into the studio unprepared for a session!

Your lyrics often tell a story or convey a message. Can you share the story behind one of your songs and the inspiration that led to its creation?

One of the songs I’m very proud of is “Without You” from my second album titled Without You. I have a very close friend from high school back east whose little brother passed away in a car accident. My heart still goes out to him and his family for this tragic loss. With that said, at that time, I personally had not gone through the loss of someone close, so I tried my best to interpret loss from the perspective of the friend who had just lost his younger brother.

Side note, this song was a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Contest in 2013, which was a huge honor!

If you could curate a music festival with a lineup of your dream artists, who would be the headliners, and what would the theme of the festival be?

The headliners of my dream festival would have to be Alice in Chains (original lineup), , Dave Matthews Band, Radiohead, and Tedeschi Trucks Band. The theme of the festival would be “Phases”, representing the bands that were my favorites during various phases of my life. It would be the best music festival ever!

Music can be a powerful tool for advocacy and change. Are there any social or political causes that you’re passionate about, and how does your music play a role in promoting these issues?

That is so very true about music being a powerful tool. I’m not completely sure how my music fits into the broad spectrum of this, but I am passionate about the healing power of music. Further, I would love to see a world where people from all walks of life have an even playing field in terms of platforms to perform. When a child sees someone that looks or believes in the same things become successful within the arts, it opens the doors for mentors and role-models. Without larger and more broad platforms for these independent artists, it’s tough for the younger generation to seek out and discover.

The music industry has evolved significantly with technology. How do you see artificial intelligence and emerging technologies impacting the creation and distribution of music in the future?

Today, with all the home studios, it is so easy to release music and get it out in the world through all-of-the-above streaming platforms; however, music released by an independent artist is a needle in the haystack in terms of it being discovered. I’m hopeful that AI will be able to distinguish and point out similar music and provide more awareness to the Indie artists out there working so hard and putting so much passion and dedication into their craft.

Many recording artists evolve over time. How do you see your musical journey changing and growing in the next decade?

When I look back to my first recordings, especially my first, self-titled album, Quinn Hedges, I can absolutely hear how much I have matured as a singer, songwriter, and performer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still very proud of all my releases; however, my musical evolution is on clear display if you listen to Slightly South of Stormy Clouds compared to my earlier work. I hope that as I progress, I’m able to continue to mature and evolve.