As a music lover, I jumped at the chance to interview Cleveland crooner Brett Huettner a.k.a. People. Don’t let the shades fool you. The up-and-coming rocker is a self-proclaimed “open book” and his intimate lyrics will open your eyes. A man of many hats, Huettner not only sings but also plays guitar and produces his own music. With his latest tracks, ”Daria,” “One More Time” featuring Josie Woodall, and “Wasteland,” Huettner is working on taking his talents to the next level and making a bigger name for himself. I caught up with the mellow musician about how he plans to make it in the music industry without selling out.
Q: How did you get into music?
I started playing guitar when I was nine. My dad showed me The Beatles when I was five and bought me a guitar at six. I’ve been producing and mastering my own music since 14.
Q: Who are your musical influences?
Well, Grizzly Bear and Menomena are big influences at the moment.
Q: Where did the name “People” come from?
The name I just like because it’s open to interpretation and it’s simple.
Q: What genre would you say your music is?
I would probably call myself indie rock. I like the idea of melding genres, even within a single song. Boundaries don’t really apply to me that way.
Q: Have people tried to put you into a box musically?
I think that in the past I’ve tried to put myself into a box thinking that I had to sound a certain way, or feeling like I had to make something people liked.
Q: How difficult is it to remain true to yourself while trying to be a successful music artist?
Staying true to myself has never been a huge issue. I think that age and artistic maturity have just helped me to find the sound that I have now. It’s hard for any young artist to really have a grasp of what they’ll be doing when the time comes.
Q: What do you write about? Is there a certain listener you’re trying to speak to?
Lately, I’ve been writing less about myself than ever before. There used to be a lot of ‘I’s’ and ‘me’s’ involved. Now, it’s friends who’ve passed away, parents, more personal things.
Q: Why do you think that is? Is it a coping mechanism?
Not particularly — just that I’ve changed as a person which has changed my music. Empathy is a huge part of my life now. It’s tattooed on my arm.
Q: How do you feel when people react to your music?
My lyrics tend to be ambiguous, but I like when people tell me what it means to them. It does validate that at least people take something away from it.
Q: Are you working on getting signed?
I’m working on everything to some extent. I’d like to be able to put an album out on my own, so I’m launching a Kickstarter soon.
Q: Do you think it will be more or less work to put an album out on your own?
More work, but more money as well. The average artist signed to a major label makes between two to five percent of their profits. I will make close to 60 percent pending that anybody ever listens. That’s why I’m using Kickstarter. I think it’s a great vessel for artists to release music and still maintain ownership.
Q: Any idea what the album will be called and when should we expect it?
It’s going to be called ‘People,’ so self-titled. So far, I have I think eight song, but as I add more new ones I subtract others. I’m kind of trying to separate myself from the old stuff. March 2013 is my goal.
Stay up to date on all things People on the official Facebook page and jam to Huettner’s soothing sounds on Sound Cloud! Be on the lookout for his Kickstarter page, which is set to launch within the month!
Check out “One More Time” featuring Josie Woodall