Sawyer Fredericks probably isn’t the person you think he is. The angelic-looking belter has been hearing from some folks that his new material is “darker,” that he’s maturing from his successful stint on The Voice two years ago. “I find that sort of funny,” Fredericks told me during a phone interview from his family farm in Montgomery County. “My style is not really changing. The stuff played on The Voice wasn’t my style. So I think people are finding out who I really am. I grew up with a wide variety, a lot of music from Creedence to Bob Marley.” Fredericks says he’s also picked up heavier influences from family members.
He recently parted ways with Republic Records and has become an independent artist. He has a new band featuring Arthur Lee Fredericks, Jerome Gooseman and Chris Thomas. While some things have changed one thing has remained constant–Fredericks’ commitment to his local music scene.
From his days busking in Saratoga Springs to his recent performances at The Egg for the 518 Music Festival and at a local children’s hospital, Fredericks remains a vital force in the local music scene. It’s part of his commitment to the local scene that has him headlining The Move Music Fest on Thursday night at The Cohoes Music Hall with Jocelyn and Chris Arndt and C.K. Flach. Move Music, the brainchild of Bernie Walters, has paired local acts with national talent while featuring multiple local venues and connecting local artists with industry professionals through workshops and lectures.
“I think all of that is very important,” says Fredericks of Move. “It gets young people connected to the people they need to move forward with a musical career. I didn’t have music lessons, I never went to a music festival. I learned what I did mostly just by performing.”
Move will also highlight the work of School of Rock–a performance-based music school franchise that allows kids to learn instruments and perform as a rock band. The outfit will perform at The Hollow on April 29.
“To have the kids play out at The Hollow for Move is pretty exciting.” said Jesse Calhoun, general manager of School of Rock. “I have to applaud Bernie for his interest in bringing resources to local bands. It is really valuable to up-and-coming musicians.”
Guitarist Godfrey Townsend and drummer Blake Fleming will host workshops. There will also be a panel featuring Professor Nancy Tarr, Paul Green founder of School of Rock, Patrick MacDougall, artist manager Douglas Bourgeois, WEQX radio jock Jason Keller and talent manager Peter Iselin.
Move will take place at The Cohoes Music Hall, The Hollow, The Hangar, Stout, Fuze Box, Parish Public House. Visit movemusicfest.com for the full schedule.
Fredericks says he expects he will back in the studio soon. His local shows are a way for him to escape the studio and his farm. He notes that it sometimes does get awkward to venture into public and not be able to go unnoticed. So he connects to his fans through Youtube performances and he says he’s picked up gaming as a way to escape when he needs to. “I tell some people and they think it’s weird,” Fredericks says. “But I am a big gamer. I’ve got an Xbox One and I’m really into ARK: Survival Evolved. Sometimes you get bored out here,” he laughs.