By Lily Doolin
Emerson College alum Eric Hutchinson returned to his old stomping grounds to play some songs live from his newest album Modern Happiness. WERS' Lily sat down with him to discuss the album, the Modern Happiness tour, and what brought him back to music.
Lily: First of all, congratulations on the new album, Modern Happiness!
Eric Hutchinson: Thank you!
How does it feel to finally have it out for the whole world to see?
EH: It feels great. I tried this new thing this year where we released the album one song at a time, one song a month all year long. We kind of shared details about it. It feels nice to have sort of spent the year with it, but now to have it out and available for everyone to hear—it’s been fun to do.
Definitely. I read your interview with Billboard where you talked about how this album is kind of you exorcizing some demons.
EH: Right, yeah.
Were you writing this album as you were going through those struggles, or with the benefit of hindsight?
EH: I’m a big believer that you have to sort of live life, then from that comes art and something to say. But when I’m in the middle of feeling depressed or frustrated or anxious, I don’t really want to work, I just want to get better. I think I had to live some life and just figure out what was going on.
You talked during your Live Mix about how this was the first album for which you brought your touring band, The Believers, into the studio with you. What was that experience like?
EH: Yeah, it was great. They’re some of my favorite people, and we’ve traveled all over the world together. There’s just sort of a shorthand with each other. We know what to expect from each other, so it was just really great as a solo artist for so long to be working with people that I can say “here’s an idea” and they know how to complete that, or make it better, usually.
You started your tour recently with Jeremy Messersmith.
EH: This is true.
How was that?
EH: It was great! I wasn’t sure I’d be doing any more touring not too long ago, so I’m just out here trying to really enjoy what I do. I’m really thankful that I get to do it.
You mentioned thinking that you were going to end up retiring at some point in the near future. What was the one moment when you said to yourself “I need to come back, there’s no way I can give this up?”
EH: I just felt like "I have something to say and I have something to sing and this sounds like fun to me, and I want to do it." That’s the only reason to make music at this point for me anymore. I just want to make it because I have to.
Right. Finally, how does it feel to be back in Boston and especially here at Emerson, to perform here at the place where you started off?
EH: Yeah, I love it here. Boston means so much to me and some of my best friends. I met my wife here. It always feels like a little bit of a holiday when we come back to Boston. Glad to be here.
Well, I wish you the absolute best. Thank you for taking the time!