Photo by: Chuck Lanza
“PLAYERS LIKE QUINN COME ALONG ONCE IN A LIFETIME.” – BUDDY GUY
“QUINN SULLIVAN ……BLUES PRODIGY, IMPRESSES THE MASTERS” – ROLLING STONE
“INTERPRETING THE BLUES IN AN APPEALING MANNER IS NOT SO DIFFERENT THAN ATTEMPTING TO SPEAK A RECENTLY-LEARNED FOREIGN LANGUAGE…QUINN SULLIVAN HAS MASTERED THE VERNACULAR IN NO UNCERTAIN TERMS.”– BILLY GIBBONS
“QUINN SULLIVAN MAY ALSO BE THE MOST GIFTED GUITAR PRODIGY ON THE PLANET, A BLUES PLAYER OF JAW DROPPING VIRTUOSITY AND DEPTH WHO COULD TURN OUT TO BE THE CLAPTON OF HIS GENERATION.” – THE WASHINGTON POST
Maddie got the chance to ask Quinn a few questions.
You’ve been playing guitar since you were three, how did you know it was something you really wanted to do?
Playing guitar was always something I loved to do. I think at around the age of 8 or 9, I felt like this was something that I could see myself doing for the rest of my life. I couldn’t picture myself doing anything else besides doing what I’ve always loved to do.
You’re not even old enough to vote yet, and you’ve already done the rounds on pretty much every popular talk show, including Ellen twice! Was it nerve-wracking to perform on tv at such a young age?
I don’t normally get nervous before things like that. I get more anxious and excited. Ellen was a little nerve racking because of the amount of viewers she has so I really wanted to make a good impression on her show and at the same time I had so much fun with it.
Buddy Guy has become a mentor of yours, how has he helped you grow musically?
Buddy has taught me that success does not happen over night. He’s a true believer of the slow and steady route and as far as I’m concerned that’s the best way possible to do it. Musically, the emotion in his voice and the intensity of his blistering guitar playing has taught me so much about performing and projecting with the guitar and the voice. Not only is Buddy an outstanding guitarist, but an incredible singer as well that cannot ever go un-noticed.
Since you’ve been playing the guitar for such a long period of your life, is it difficult to improve and keep progressing?
Not at all. There is always room for improving and learning. I’ll keep learning until I die. As successful as anyone gets, you have to keep learning new things because there’s always someone behind you waiting for the slot you’re in so you always have to have that in the back of your head and go “I have to keep learning and watching”.
I can’t believe that you’ve already released three albums, the first of which was released when you were eleven. How has the process changed over the years? Were you given a lot of input?
The process has changed a bit I think because I’m getting older now and being exposed every day to new music that leaves me feeling inspired to create. When I was 11 and 12, the songs were given to me to record and I didn’t have much input with what happened when making the records. With this new record, I had a lot more input with the song writing and the sound of the record. I think the next one I put out, I’ll have even more input on what I want to come out of it.
Your third album Midnight Highway is out now, where did the inspiration come from for this album?
A lot of different things inspired this new album. Listening to bands and artists like Tedeschi Trucks Band, John Mayer, Gary Clark Jr., Alabama Shakes, James Bay, Ed Sheeran and then going back to Derek and the Dominos and the Allman Brothers Band have all influenced and inspired this record in one way or another. When you’re making a record, there are endless options of how creative you want to be. A lot of the inspiration came from traveling across the world a few times in the past few years.
You’ve said that you wanted to experiment and write more on this album, are you happy with the way everything turned out?
I’m content with this new one. I think it’s the best representation of where I stand right now as an artist and the experience I’ve gotten to have in my 17 years of living. Things are good right now. I feel like this album might do something. We’ll see.
Do you have any plans to release music videos for any of the singles on the album?
Yes. We have one for Midnight Highway coming soon as well as a video for Something For Me coming in the future as well.
What’s your favourite track from the album, and why?
Midnight Highway stands out because of the message it sends out. “I gotta keep movin, I gotta keep rollin, I gotta keep ridin, down the Midnight Highway” is a metaphor to what I’ve been doing for the last ten years or so. No matter what is happening, you have to keep moving forward and continuing what you’re doing with a confident mindset that it will work and happen. Every night when I sing that song I think of that and how you really have to just work and be motivated every single day.
You have a few shows coming up, what can fans expect?
They can expect a lot of energy and a lot of different sides of me as an artist. The show begins with some electric guitar with a full band and then mid way through, I strip it down and play a few acoustic songs, and then we all come back together to finish out the set with a mix of my songs and my favourite cover songs to play live.
What’s your guitar of choice?
I’m a Fender strat guy. I used many different guitars in the studio but it’s mostly strats when I play live.
What’s next for you after you release Midnight Highway?
To tour heavy in the spring/summer into the fall and promote this record as much as possible. We’re heading to Europe in the spring and summer as well as a US tour.