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Hamptons Life

Jun 30, 2016 4:03 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

'Voice' Winner Sawyer Fredericks Kicks Off Tour At Westhampton Beach PAC

Sawyer Fredericks COURTESY OF REPUBLIC RECORDS
Jul 3, 2016 12:38 PM

It’s been an exciting journey for Sawyer Fredericks, and it just keeps on going.

After winning season eight of the TV singing competition “The Voice” last year, the next step in the 17-year-old’s bustling singing career is his first national tour, which makes its first stop at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Sunday, July 10. Mr. Fredericks will tour behind his debut studio album, “A Good Storm,” released this past May and including singles “4 Pockets” and “Take It All.”

“I just enjoy performing and getting to meet all of my fans,” Mr. Fredericks said during a recent interview. “It’s really cool to be in different places and see the support that I have with people that I haven’t even met. It’s cool to get a response from a crowd in a town that you haven’t even been to before.”

Mr. Fredericks is from Glen, New York, and this will be the first time he visits the Hamptons. Fans who’ve seen him on “The Voice” know of his physical appearance with his long blond hair, buttoned-up shirts with fashionable vests, and bowler hat. They also know of his powerful voice: a mix of heartfelt soul and gritty blues complemented by his acoustic guitar. From all of that, a question forms: How does a teenager from Upstate New York develop a sound similar to roots rock?

“It’s just always the tone I liked,” Mr. Fredericks said. “It’s also from the music I grew up on. I grew up listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival and just a lot of old music that my parents got me into. It’s just what I got connected with when I started singing. I’ve been singing all my life and my uncle taught me my first few chords on guitar when I was 11 years old.”

As the youngest winner of “The Voice” in the show’s five-year, 10-season run, there’s some added intrigue as to how Mr. Fredericks will present himself onstage. He said that the connection between him and his fans will be the essential element of his live show, but there are some challenges.

“They can expect a lot of emotion in my performances. I try to connect with the audiences and I’m having a hard time keeping my voice intact through the whole thing because I always get excited and want to sing my full extent.”

Another challenge for Mr. Fredericks was being in the recording studio. During the sessions for “A Good Storm,” he worked with producers Mikal Blu & Izy, known for their work with pop acts OneRepublic, Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz. For Mr. Fredericks, it was a very stressful experience.

“I did a lot of co-writing for the album and that was a very hard thing for me to do because my original music is very personal to me, so to be able to share that with someone was very difficult. And then there was also technical things, like I’ve never played to a click before so that was very hard to get into that headspace.”

Often used in recording studios, a “click track” is a series of cues for audio synchronization.

Fortunately, Mr. Fredericks had help reworking his song “4 Pockets” into a separate mix thanks to his “Voice” coach, Pharrell Williams.

“It was really fun because he added a whole different vibe to the song,” he said of Mr. Williams. “It was really cool working with him in the studio because he’s such a cool guy and he was very open-minded.”

While having just released his first LP, Mr. Fredericks doesn’t slow down when it comes to putting pen to paper for new lyrics.

“Oh, I’m always writing anytime. I just pick up a guitar and get going, like I probably have way too many songs for another album,” he said with a friendly laugh.

As far as his writing process goes, he says it’s all about the mood he’s in at the moment.

“Most of the time, I’m sad when I’m writing. It’s easier to connect with the emotion in my songs because most of my songs are about heartache or something sad.”

Mr. Fredericks plans on bringing a show that connects with his audience the way music connects with him.

Sawyer Fredericks performs at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center, 76 Main Street, Westhampton Beach, on Sunday, July 10, at 8 p.m. Tickets are $17, $22 or $27. Call 631-288-1500 or go to whbpac.org.

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