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Wednesday November 26th 2014

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Just a Little Bit Longer

by Jennifer Leigh

It’s hard to argue that singer-songwriter Amick Cutler has a gift for connecting with people through music. But you don’t have to take our word for it, just give his new album “Just a Little Bit Longer” a listen and you’ll see exactly what we’re talking about. The IN caught up with Cutler this week and even though he’s busy prepping for his album release party, he still had time to give us some insight into his writing and recording process.

IN: How long have you been playing music? What inspired you to start?
CUTLER: I have been playing music for about 18 years. My dad bought me my first guitar at a liquidation sale they were having at SEARS.  It was a cheap Les Paul knock-off made by Cort. Even though it doesn’t play, I still have it today. I taught myself every chord I could get my hands on and would easily practice six to eight hours a day.  A couple years later my dad bought me a Yamaha acoustic and that is when I found my niche’. I grew up a pastors kid in a very conservative church with conservative music. My dad loved music and exposed us to a lot of it.  He had this enormous 8-foot cabinet in his office. In that cabinet was a mecca of harmonious ear candy. He had it stocked with everything from the Bee Gees to Michael Jackson, Eagles to Chicago, Doobie Brothers to Kenny Loggins.I remember the song ‘China Grove’ by The Doobie Brothers being the first guitar riff that prompted me to play.
It wasn’t until 2005 that I started writing. That year, at the age of 15, my 10 year-old sister was diagnosed with leukemia and died six months later. I started following any opportunities I could to somehow share what was going on inside me. I used to sing, play and write for me, but now I do it for this world and the relationships that are in it.  Nothing else satisfies like the opportunity to help other people.

IN: When writing songs and music, where do you get your inspiration? What comes first, the music or the lyrics?
CUTLER: It wasn’t until a couple years ago I was sitting in my office trying to write a song that my approach shifted. Up until that point I always tried to make a song say something, or tried to make it sound a certain way, or tried to make it intriguing or eclectic, but it never worked. Songs are stories put to music and although I can appreciate a well-crafted song, if it doesn’t come from a real place, in your real heart, inspired from a real experience then who really cares?  So I learned my lesson and trashed all expectations and burdens of trying to “be somebody” and just wrote what was in my heart. A month later, I had 35 songs that were written sitting on my floor in my office. It changed me and through it I found my identity and ultimately it set me free.

IN: How long was the process to record and release the album? How does it feel to complete such a big project?
CUTLER: I’m never naming an album title “Just a Little Bit Longer” ever again! This project took over year. I had some guys I met out of Charlotte N.C. (Elijah Mosely & Ben Canon) do all the production. They came down and recorded it here in Pensacola. The whole post production process and mixing took the longest due to family hiccups, studio deadlines, etc. The waiting was hard, but having it finished, I can look back and say it was totally worth the wait. I was able to have all my friends play and sing on it and we recorded it live in a room of about 200 of our favorite people.

IN: What do you hope people take away from your music? What message, if any, do you want to share?
CUTLER: What I hope people take away is exactly that—hope. My wife and I have been through a lot and although life straight up sucks sometimes, I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that God is good.

IN: What’s next on the horizon? A tour? More music?
CUTLER: Right now we are just taking it all in. My wife and I would love to do some traveling, singing (sharing this album), and possibly speaking in the near future, but who knows? And yes, there are already new songs in the works and more stories to share. {in}

AMICK CUTLER ALBUM RELEASE PARTY
WHEN: 7 p.m. May 31
WHERE: Pensacola House of Prayer, 119 Industrial Blvd.
COST: Free
DETAILS: amickcutlermusic.com