Quinn Sullivan has been a music professional for more than half of his young life. He’s shared the stage with Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton, Los Lobos, The Roots, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi and Joe Bonamassa, and he opened for B.B. King, who later invited him to play his treasured “Lucille” guitar.
His third studio album, Midnight Highway, was produced by multi GRAMMY® winner Tom Hambridge – who also does double duty as Quinn’s studio and road drummer – and will be released on March 24th, 2017 (Mascot Label Group/Provogue). The album is yet another milestone in Quinn’s extraordinary journey, which began with him jamming with the kids music combo Toe Jam Puppet Band at age three, appearing on Ellen when he was six, and being taken under the wing of blues legend Buddy Guy at age eight, whose protégé he remains to this day.
Your latest album will be out next month, what’s it like to have it finished and ready to go?
It feels good, I’m really excited for the world to hear this new record and everything that’s been put into it. The energy feels right and I’m most proud of this album.
How does this album compare with your previous releases?
To me it doesn’t really compare much to my previous albums. This feels like a new chapter to my career, a new step. The songs are much more mature on this new record and I feel myself growing a lot especially in the last year and a half, having new influences and new sounds being introduced to my style. As an artist I feel it’s my obligation to connect my music to people around the world and make them feel comfortable as well as on edge on what I’m about to do next.
What made you pick ‘Midnight Highway’ as the album’s title track?
Basically, the song tells the story of what I’ve been doing for the last decade now. The lyrics are a metaphor to the message I’m sending to myself and to my fans, and that is you gotta keep moving, you gotta keep rolling, you gotta keep riding, down the Midnight Highway. Ive been in this for most of my life and in my eyes there’s no time for negativity and no time to turn anything down. You have to persevere and push through the bad and come out strong on the other side. There wasn’t anything else I wanted to name the record and it was an obvious decision for me.
You had an all star backing band, was it hard to get them all in on the album?
I was lucky enough that the producer of this record, Tom Hambridge, knew all these guys that worked with me on this album and to only be 17 and be able to have seasoned guys come in and make the process so easy was such a huge help in making this record what it is. I owe a lot of it to them and to Tom for helping me produce a record that best explains where I’m at right now musically and personally.
You’ve already received a lot of crucial acclaim, does that make you feel any pressure going forward?
Not really. There’s always a healthy sort of pressure to always be on your toes and the fact that you can never stop learning. As far as what people say about you, good or bad, I don’t pay attention to it. I play music, and try to make a positive impact on people through my music. That to me is what my purpose is.
You’ve had Buddy Guy as a mentor, how did this relationship come about?
I met Buddy when I was 8 years old at the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford, Mass, where I live. I walked into his dressing room with a black suit on with the idea that I was only going to meet him for a few minutes and get my guitar signed. After those two things happened he asked me to play for him. After I did that he told me to be ready when he called me onstage. The rest is history as they say. I wouldn’t be standing here today and I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for Buddy. I owe him everything. He’s the bestest friend you could have and in my eyes there is nobody like Buddy Guy.
What was it like to share the stage with Eric Clapton?
It was brief but one of the best experiences of my life. Eric is my biggest inspiration besides Buddy and it was the biggest deal in the world for me to meet him and then to be on the same stage as him was beyond words. That experience is always thanks to Buddy because Buddy was the one who made the initial request to have me onstage that night at the Garden and it’s something that will live in me forever.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
When a record I make is mastered and ready to be pressed, I listen to it in full to make sure I’m satisfied with it before I let other people hear it, but after that I don’t touch it because I think if I listened to it multiple times I’d find myself knit-picking at it and hearing wrong notes on the guitar or vocals.
What music do you listen to?
Lately it’s been a lot of pop/rock and R&B soul music. My music taste goes from old blues to rap/hip-hop and then to rock and roll to r&b to soul to pop. It’s a mixture for sure.
What do you have planned once your album is out?
A tour is being announced and I’m looking forward to touring in support of this new album and some more surprises are coming as well this year. I’m on a good path at the moment and I’m very lucky to be doing what I love to do and to have a great support system of love and people.
Check out Quinn Sullivan’s website to find out more!