Posted On 19 May 2016
Meet the Americana, folk singer songwriter Todd Lewis Kramer!
He writes beautiful songs about being in love with someone, getting hurt/longing for someone and self-reflection. He has released a few songs in the past and is well known in the NY scene but for the first time he will be releasing his debut album.
His debut full-length studio album, “Fairground” was recently released and it defines him growing as an artist and finding his sound to finally getting to introduce himself to the world.
Learn more about Todd in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! So, how’s 2016 been treating you so far? What were some of the highlights of 2015 for you and your music?
My year has been great, pretty crazy actually, but in a good way! 2016 has been really about gearing up to share what we did in 2015, which was record the bulk of the album we’re putting out in May. I guess in that regard, 2015 was a bit quieter year for me as far as playing shows, touring, etc. But I’d say it was time well spent. I’m very excited about putting this record out.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I’m not sure I ever knew I would be a songwriter or a musician, but the idea did appeal to me from a pretty early age. My earliest memories are from our numerous family road trips as kids where we’d listen to a bunch of oldies, with an emphasis on James Taylor and The Beatles. I guess I was always sort of musically inclined – I started singing at a pretty early age (12), and did it throughout high school – and I was always into the “singer-songwriter-y” kind of music. So I started writing songs for real in college, and it just kind of stuck.
What does it feel like to finally be releasing your debut album, “Fairground” next month?
It feels amazing to be releasing my first full-length LP! Since I started writing songs, this has always been a big goal – to have a full album to my name — so it’s kind of surreal to be just a matter of weeks away from realizing that goal. The best part, though, is that I’m really legitimately proud of the product and I’m extremely excited to be putting it out. So, yeah, good thoughts all around.
Recording the album was a lot of fun and an amazing experience, but it definitely required some patience. It took us almost two years to put this thing together, so we certainly took our time with it. But I learned a lot about the process and what it takes to sort of manage that process. And ultimately, hearing these songs come together every step of the way was awesome and I think we’ve put together a great record!
What was the inspiration for the album’s lead single, “I Want Your Love”?
It’s funny. I don’t want to say ‘I Want Your Love’ is the least inspired song, but it certainly kind of appeared without much thought…in a good way. I basically told myself one day, let’s write an upbeat love song, and ‘I Want Your Love’ sort of came pouring out. I’d say it took me less than an hour to fully finish that song, which is always a good feeling. It probably didn’t hurt that I was a little bit head-over-heels for someone at the time.
I’ve read that your favorite song on “Fairground” is “Anna”. Why exactly is that? Is there a real “Anna” that the song is about?
‘Anna’ is both the oldest and most personal song on the record, so it has a lot of sentimental value to me. Without going into too much detail, ‘Anna’ is about someone I’m very close with who went through a bit of a rough patch in high school. All is well now, and has been for a while, but it did stay with me for some time and when I started writing songs, this one came pouring out. The funny thing about it is that when the band and I were narrowing down the tunes to record for the album, ‘Anna’ wasn’t much of a consideration. But we ended up adding it last minute, and it ended up being sonically one of the nicest tracks on the record. Very happy we ended up throwing it on there.
Do you plan on touring a lot to support “Fairground”? What’s been a favorite show of yours in the past?
Yup! Right now we’ve got a few different release shows line up in and around New York City, and are looking to add more shows throughout the summer and fall. Will be posting those as they get booked, so stay tuned! Really looking forward to getting out there in support of this record.
As far as a favorite show, I’ve had some awesome ones, but actually just this month I played a show outside in Union Square in New York City, and the response was amazing. 70-degree day, sunny, people everywhere in the square, and it seemed like folks were really into it. That one stands out for sure!
How do you think living and playing around New York has influenced you as a musician?
Well, I’ve been very fortunate to be a part of an amazing music community here, of people that are both super talented and very supportive, that I’ve met since I’ve lived here and started playing. So just their presence and their talents have kept me motivated and definitely influenced me over the years. Then there’s just the natural inspiration the city offers – both good and bad, I suppose. It’s romantic, scary, fun, stressful, sometimes overwhelming. You basically experience all the emotions here. So that definitely impacts me as a person, and then in turn as a writer/musician.
Who are some of your favorite bands? What artists have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you love to work with in the future?
I love bands/artists that combine great writing with great melodies. Writing a strong and coherent really is so hard I think, and I’m so impressed by the artists that are just so prolific and are constantly churning out beautiful records. Two bands/artists that I’ve been a huge fan of for some time are Dawes and Ryan Adams, and going back to The Band, James Taylor, The Beatles. Those are some all-time favorites. Playing a show with James Taylor would probably be the ultimate nostalgic show for me, just going back to how much I used to listen to him growing up with my family.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope that listeners take away from your songs?
My music is so personal and autobiographical, but I do think there are elements that most people can relate to in there. A lot of people have experienced the ups and downs of relationships, growing up, navigating their early adulthood, which are all themes throughout my songs and this record in particular. I really just hope that people take it for what it is, and if they can relate to it in some way or if it affects them in some way, that’s really all I can hope for. I’ve been very fortunate to have people of varying ages tell me they connected with something I wrote in some way, and that is pretty much the ultimate compliment for me.