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Singer-Songwriter Survives On Own Terms

Of the Oakland Press

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Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson is proving second chances exist, and sometimes pay off, in the music world.

A couple of years ago Hutchinson was signed to Madonna’s Maverick Records, just as it was beginning to disintegrate. He wasn’t retained by Maverick’s parent company, Warner Bros., so instead selfreleased his debut album, “Sounds Like This,” and took the soul-pop fusion to No. 1 on Billboard magazine’s Heatseekers chart and into the iTunes Top 10.

Then Warner Bros. came back, wanting to sign him and take over promotion and distribution of the album.

“At first I was definitely skeptical,” acknowledges Hutchinson, 27, who was born in Washington, D.C. and now resides in New York City. “But meeting with (Warner executives), I felt they had a better appreciation of what I wanted to accomplish now and were willing to do things I wanted to do.

“The album is exactly the same as when I released it myself. Nothing was touched. It was great to bring something good out of such a frustrating period.

Among the remaining virtues is “Rock & Roll,” the album’s first single, which is also on the soundtrack of the forthcoming “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.”

Hutchinson says it’s been around for awhile — and, in fact, helped him get the original deal with Maverick — and reflects his knack for marrying upbeat melodies with lyrics that have a “cynical tilt.”

“I get a lot of comments from people about how much they like the album ‘cause it makes them happy,” Hutchinson notes. “That was something I wasn’t prepared for. But a lot of (the songs) are upbeat, so people feel good.

“I kind of feel if you can make a song catchy enough, you can get people to feel good about anything, y’know? That’s the lesson here.”

Eric Hutchinson, Marie Digby and Justin Nozuka perform Friday (May 23) at the Magic Bag, 22920 Woodward Ave., Ferndale. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12. Call (248) 544-1991 or visit www.themagicbag.com.

Web Site: www.themagicbag.com

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