Connor Zwetsch - 3.13.13

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Connor Zwetsch - 3.13.13One of the best live sets I've seen since moving to Florida in 2011 was performed by the unassuming, under-the-radar singer-songwriter Connor Zwetsch of Tampa, FL. At the time, Zwetsch had just moved back to Florida after attempting to stick it out in California following her dismissal from the TV show The Voice. Zwetsch recently took a few minutes out of a busy schedule to answer some questions.

1. How has playing soccer influenced your career as a musician? Does it have any bearing on it or not at all?

I think playing soccer has surprisingly had a huge impact on my career as a musician and I donít even know if Iíd be doing this if it werenít for soccer. My freshman year of high school I played on my school soccer team at Tampa Prep. One of my teammates would bring her guitar to the field before games and sheíd play us her songs and weíd all sing a long and love every second of it. We all begged her to burn us a CD with all of her home-recorded original music on it and to this day I still listen to it. The point of this story is that I then discovered that music is what I wanted to be doing. My mom bought me a guitar for the following Christmas and I started to play. I was inspired by a teammate. So Iíd like to thank soccer for introducing me to my REAL passion and thanks to Kerry Alexander for inspiring me. She doesnít even know that she did. Everyone check out Bad Bad Hats because it is Kerryís killer band.

2. You're a poetry slam winner. How long have you been writing poems?

I am a poetry slam winner and Iím really embarrassed to know that information is out on the Internet. I started writing poems in middle school, which later lead me to song writing. I must say, the poetry slam victory was not achieved due to poetic skill. My sophomore year of high school I had to write a rap for a project in my geometry class. I performed it at the school poetry slam and somehow walked away as a winner. It was more of a joke. I just remember being so happy to win a Barnes and Noble gift card.

3. When did you first put poetry to songs?
I first put poetry to songs once I started to teach myself guitar in high school. I donít think it actually started working until recently. Some of the first songs that I wrote are so embarrassing. People actually have them on CDís that I recorded in my bedroom.

4. Do you want to go back to California? Or are you comfortable with the Tampa music scene?

I donít want to go back to LIVE in California, but I definitely want to take trips and play shows and make it a place where I travel to often. It really wasnít my favorite place. As for the Tampa music scene, I wouldnít say Iím comfortable with it but Iím definitely playing a lot more live music around town. I donít expect to be here very long. Iím going to finish up recording and runaway to a new city. Iím thinking Atlanta or Boston, who knows.

5. You have cited 90s rock hitmakers like Third Eye Blind and Alanis Morissette as influences, but your most popular song to date is MGMT's "Electric Feel." Is that an evolution of taste or what?

90s pop/rock is definitely where my biggest musical inspirations have emerged from. Electric Feel wasnít anything more than me attempting to learn a cover song and people just so happened to like it more than all the other cover songs I play out at gigs. So I made a video and people just liked it. I am very happy about that.

6. You seem very comfortable on stage, where did that sense of confidence come from?

Thank you for that! I am so happy you think I seem comfortable on stage. Iím not sure where the confidence comes from but before I get on stage Iím usually a nervous wreck and my mind is racing with reasons why I am unprepared and not ready to perform. Then I get on stage and itís the only place I want to be. The show you saw me play at Back Booth this past winter was actually a perfect example of how getting on stage just takes me into a whole new world. I got a $300.00 speeding ticket on the way to that show. I couldnít focus and I didnít want to play the set anymore. Then I got on stage and my mind was blank and I wanted nothing more than to play some music. I just get lost in performing and I just like to sing and be myself.

7. There's an old adage that says "Melody first, then the lyrics." Is this true for you, or does it vary with each song?

It definitely varies with each song. But majority of my songs come from a mix of both at the same time. I sit down with my guitar and start playing and eventually they both will flow together to be what I want them to be. I donít really have a method. Maybe I should get one.

8. Where do you cull inspiration for songs? Is it life experience, or is it observing the world around you?

I definitely cull inspiration from both life experience and the world around me. A lot of people think Iíve had my heart terribly broken when in reality I just listen to a lot of sad love songs. I see people everyday in my life go through things that I want to write about just like I go through things that I want to write about. But majority of my songs come from situations that are pretty directly related to me.

9. What instruments do you play aside from the guitar? How proficient are you with them?

I think guitar is the only instrument I can actually say I play. Acoustic and electric but I like electric better. Itís on my bucket list to learn how to play the drums. I know a little bit of piano and I write some songs on the keys, not well enough to play it live. I also played the trombone in middle school for three years.

10. What can you tell me about the new EP? When it will it be released? How many songs are on it?

The new EP is something that is causing my mind to explode at the moment. Iím not sure when it will be released or if it will be released at all. Iím really scared to put something out into the world that isnít ready and at the moment I feel that itís not. My song writing is changing and improving and I donít want to rush my first album. Iím taking it slow until itís something I will be proud of. Iím also in the process of deciding how many songs will be on it. As of now, Iím thinking four.

11. List three CD's you can't stop listening to? Three movies you can't recommend enough, and three books that are essential reading?

Three CDís I cannot stop listening to: ďMaybe Youíve Been Brainwashed TooĒ by the New Radicals. Itís been on repeat in my ears for the past few years. ďSome NightsĒ by Fun has been in my Moms car for the past few months so Iíve been listening to that pretty repetitively. My favorite song is Why Am I the One. Lastly, Matchbox Twentyís ďExile On MainstreamĒ has been on repeat for me since high school. When I want to listen to music itís one of the first things I put on. Three movies I canít recommend enough: Into the Wild, Silver Linings Playbook and I canít think of a third one but I know I will once itís too late. Three books I think are essential to reading is a tough one for me. I read a lot of psychology and music books so Iím a terrible person to recommend any awesome works of literature. However, I do spend a lot of time in bookstores.

12. What do you want people to get out of listening to Connor Zwetsch?

Iím not sure I want people to really get anything out of listening to my music but I sure as hell want them to love and enjoy it. I hope that my music makes people want to sing along and I hope that it helps them through tough times or maybe it could just help them out of a bad mood. I want people to realize that I mean the words I sing and that they all came from my heart and my brain. I donít know. I just want it to make people feel something.

13. What do you want people to get out of seeing Connor Zwetsch live?

I want people to want to come back and see me play live some more. I want them to be captivated and entertained. Iím at this point where I want to put on a big show with a large band and an awesome production but itís just not possible. So for now I want people to enjoy my little acoustic sets with some occasional drum accompaniment and I want them to walk away thinking that one day big shows will be possible.

14. In regards to your music career, where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years I see myself on tour. Thatís all I really want to do. Be on tour with hopefully enough money to survive playing music for a living. Itíd be nice to make a name for myself by the time Iím twenty-five. I guess time will tell.

15. Describe your friendship with Emily Kopp and how she has helped you with your career/songwriting, etc?

Emily Kopp and I met when we were both a part of Season 2 of The Voice. We actually never met during season 2. Then we both got asked back to Los Angeles to audition for Season 3 and weíve been friends ever since. Sheís an awesome friend and sheís definitely helping me see a music career from a different perspective. Sheís definitely hustling and itís pretty inspiring. Not that Iím not working hard but we see and do things very differently. As for songwriting, we have yet to write songs together but itís scheduled to happen in the near future.

16. How has being on The Voice influenced your career and/or shifted your focus as a songwriter? Any insight you can shed about that experience and how it is has helped your career.

Being on The Voice was a weird and surreal experience. It helped me realize that I have a lot of improving to do and that this stuff takes time. I met a lot of people who are just like me so it really opened up my eyes to this business. The Voice was a pretty large reason I decided to test out living in Los Angeles, which then lead me to a lot of great things. I donít think it shifted my song writing but it definitely shifted my perspective on the music business and how hard it is to be a part of it. It also allowed me to meet some of my best friends today. So I travel around and visit and play shows and sing songs with some of them. The Voice is definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity that I was fortunate enough to experience twice. Itís a cool show.
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