Spencer Day

In the three years since the release of his debut recording Vagabond, vocalist-songwriter-pianist Spencer Day has spent some time in the uncomfortable places where light and clarity disappear into the mysteries of uncertainty. He made it through the journey and has a story to share and a better perspective on the world and himself. The 13 tracks of The Mystery of You are his story, rooted in his own experiences, but filled with truths and revelations that can be applied to all human beings who have ever put their lives at risk. (International release dates may differ). The Mystery of You is full of stylistic nuances, ranging from Latin jazz to Latin jazz, surf guitar, Middle Eastern and Asian melodies to smoky noir. It tracks the often exhilarating, sometimes painful, arc of a relationship, from its passionate beginning to its tragic end to its enlightened afterlife. The album is more than a story of a survivor. Day is proving to everyone who hears his voice that the process of navigating the human experience is a constant balancing act. Day describes the difficult relationship and the music that resulted from it as “one of the most difficult things I have ever dealt with in adult life.” Each song represents a different stage of that process. Day says that he began to explore his own psychology as a result of his troubled upbringing in Utah. Music and movies were his primary escape methods. Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Joni Mitchell were his favorite composers growing up. His creative sensibilities were influenced by the MGM musicals he saw at the local theater, which were the only choices in his small town. He began performing publicly in public at 21 years old, singing mostly standards in retirement homes and piano bars. He recalls that he realized that this wasn’t satisfying him after a few years. “I realized that writing was something I had to do.” That’s when things really got going. Although his 2004 debut album, “Introducing Spencer Day”, was mostly a collection of standard tracks, Movie of Your Life won the 2005 San Francisco Academy of Art University competition for the best original song. Dolby Laboratories selected the resulting video as a demonstration for its global launch of Dolby 7.1. Day was a headliner at the 2007 San Francisco Jazz Festival and has also been a regular in a number high-profile Bay Area clubs like Yoshi’s and the Plush Room. He has also received rave reviews for his performances at Joe’s Pub, the Town Hall and the Canal Room in New York City, as well as the Kennedy Center in Washington DC. He has performed at the Monterey Jazz Festival as well as the Tanglewood Jazz Festival. Vagabond was released in 2009. It was a musical mix that borrowed from the Great American Songbook but maintained an alternative aesthetic that avoided easy categorization. The Mystery of You draws on a variety of sources but the end result is much more personal. The title track is a noirish-ish opener to the story. The track is filled with the unusual combination of James Bond guitar riffs and Middle Eastern strings, as well as Motown drum fills. It explores the intrigue of the early stages of getting close to someone. Day says that Day’s goal was to continually surprise listeners with new sounds. Day says, “And at the other time it’s this torch song that talks love like a crime scene.” The stripped-down “Love and War” is an acknowledgement of vulnerability. Day says, “This is when you realize you might already be too deep and there’s a very real possibility to be hurt.” “This track comes after three fast, fully-produced tracks. Given the subject matter, it seemed like a good time to lower the production.” “Soul on Fire,” a symphonic piece that chronicles the head-over heels fall that occurs at the beginning stages of any relationship, is Day. He says, “This was an opportunity to write in an unapologetically dramatic manner, with a string arrangement u0026 a great 1960s nuance.” “The strings eventually build to a frenzy, and capture the passion which’s so common in the early days.” Gabi Moreno is one of many performers on the album to share Day’s lyrics. Day says that this is the turning point in a relationship. It’s the moment you recognize the end is here, but don’t want it to be acknowledged. The outro features a jazz piano solo and an electronic drum loop. The idea was to make the track build slowly and steadily, so that it could gain momentum as it sails away into the distance. “The Answer” is a tribute to Roy Orbison who was a long-time friend of Day’s and one of the most talented writers of heartache songs in pop music history. “That’s when you pack everything and start driving away in the hope that the reasons for it all will become clear someday.” “Somewhere On the Other Side” is based on the belief that, if you get past the difficult parts, things will get better. Day says, “I wrote it in the depths despair.” It’s almost like an American Quaker spiritual. I was trying to remind my self that if I could get through this, there would always be a sacred spot that I could go to on the other side.” Day describes “I’m Going Home” as a song about gratitude. It’s not about going home physically, but rather about reestablishing a relationship with oneself. It was a chance to combine an electric piano and an acoustic solo piano I recorded in L.A. It works very well in a minimalist Brian Eno way. Day views The Mystery of You as an attempt to document a relationship much like an abstract painting. He says that everyone will have a different experience and that different tracks will resonate with different listeners. “But I believe the goal is for people to find their place in the music and share something with those who inspired it. I think the goal of any artist should be to take a situation that’s personal and draw out those things that are universal.” from http://spencerday.com

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