Spencer is a musician who understands the beauty of viewing life through a quirkier lens. She probably wishes she could have done High school with her Idols Kate Bush and Fiona Apple as classmates, jamming after school and drinking pink lemonade. She says she discovered their brilliance “too late” for her liking. At the same time, she points out the obvious timelessness of these artists, that they can be discovered years later by a new generation and still be relevant to current tastes.
“ ‘Late’ signifies a certain longevity I adore in music,” says Spencer. “An ability to transcend the expectations of any audience. Despite perhaps my late introduction to Kate Bush and Fiona Apple; the journey of discovering them as a burgeoning singer-songwriter about 4 years ago proved instrumental to the music I strive to create. Bush and Apple are both prominent female singer-songwriters who similarly write with mainly piano accompaniment and attention to innovative orchestration and arrangement. I have been extremely lucky to work with the talented Mitchell Sloan as my producer, whose background in film music parallels to my attraction to Bush, Apple and Bjork. A close attention to the intricacies of arrangement and the transformative nature of a new sound and emotion is at the forefront.
You say you’re a multi-instrumentalist, what other instruments do you play and how did you learn?
It all started with cello! With a natural compulsion to choose a bigger instrument than my brother who at the time was learning the violin, at the ripe age of six! I bought home my first quarter sized cello and a keen enthusiasm to make music. Whilst cello had always been my main focus, over the years I also dabbled with piano, singing, and even guitar – albeit held like a cello – for all the best intents and purposes.
Can you tell us a bit about your classical training and how this contributes to your unique sound?
As mentioned earlier, I learnt cello from a young age. I was very privileged to attend quite a musically orientated primary school where I followed the typical progression of a classical instrumentalist completing all my AMEB exams, and playing and performing in orchestras and chamber ensembles. Keeping true to my passion for the instrument – I like to make it a part of all my songs – whether it is the main melody, free improvisation, supporting basslines, percussion or ethereal harmonics as in the soundscape at the end of ‘A Brave New World’. My classical training as a cellist has given me the foundational background to write music on other instruments and allow me to find my sound as a composer.
So what’s ahead for you?
Being able to write and record an album has always been a dream of mine, since discovering I had a knack for writing songs. Things have mainly gone to plan but not without mishaps over the years, primarily the length of time it has taken to get everything done! Executing what you say you will do is a challenge for the best of us. It’s not necessarily amusing but I am thankful for the time people, in particular Mitchell Sloan (producer) and Luke Fuller (mix engineer), have dedicated to my project and the fun memories and sushi we have shared together making something special.
When did it become apparent to you that you wanted to follow this path?
I would definitely say my childhood played a role in my decision to pursue music. In fact I am still very much a child at heart now. I have the most encouraging family, friends and mentors that help me to be confident with sharing my songs. I have always enjoyed being able to let out my feelings and emotions in song form and getting to be in control of creating something new. Recording and collaborating with other musicians has been a bunch of fun and I can’t wait to get back in the recording room for album number 2.
Tell us about this album
As hinted to earlier, I am looking forward releasing my debut album: Physical Culture. With all 12 songs polished and patiently waiting on my hard drive, all that’s left is some planning and action! Keep your eyes out on my social media for upcoming shows and this release. It’s going to be a full and exciting couple of months!