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ReverbNation Spotlight: Spencer and Sequoia

Up-and-coming singer-songwriters Spencer and Sequoia share their modern love story by way of songs written by and to each other

Words by: Jessie Harris

Photos courtesy of Claire Getman

About thirty seconds into Spencer and Sequoia’s playlist on ReverbNation, I am captivated by the melodies flowing effortlessly into my ears. Smooth, warm, and inviting, Sequoia’s voice dazzles and is complimented perfectly by Spencer’s quiet, but apparent charm. It’s clear that these two have a chemistry, not only with their vocals but also romantically.

The band has been chosen by Shutter 16 Magazine as one of ReverbNation’s Top 15 Breakout Artists and I had the privilege of getting to know the duo on a more personal level by way of email this month. Email correspondence is something Spencer and Sequoia are all too familiar with, as it is the exact same way they came to know each other. What started out as a common love for music would eventually turn into a fairytale romance ending in a wedding and a music career.

Before this love story began, there was simply a boy named Spencer living in Seattle,Washington who found a love for music at a young age. With support from his parents, he was raised on jazz, which is why it’s no surprise that he turned out to be such an incredible trumpeter. Listening exclusively to jazz until middle school, his talent and passion for music grew strong and became a part of who he was as a person. When he decided to make the move to New York City at age 19, his passion became his purpose. He found joy living for the thrill of entertaining others. Little did he know, a girl in New Zealand was having similar dreams of her own.

Around the time that Spencer moved to NYC, Sequoia was still living in her hometown of Auckland, New Zealand. Meeting through mutual friends, the pair began exchanging songs back and forth through emails. Having always felt like music was an outlet for her personal expression, Sequoia’s lyrics began to bring the couple together. She was also musically trained at an early age and mastered the piano and violin. Grateful for her parent’s devotion towards helping her with her passion during the early years, she credits where she is today because of the sacrifices and time they spent driving her to concerts and lessons. Growing up with four siblings, she kept her own music private until she met Spencer. He was the perfect yin to her yang and their love for music eventually led the two to long distance dating.

Their songs became a soundtrack to their love, playing out right before their eyes and were a testament to who they were becoming. Because of their musical collaboration, the couple turned their songs into a band and grew from the experience. Now, their love story is the fundamental building block of the songs that play in their set every night. After dating for a couple of years, the two tied the knot and officially wed.

Nowadays, the married couple start their mornings off early with their beloved coffees. If you know anything about the two, then you know that coffee is a central part of their life. Sequoia even goes so far as to mention on their Facebook profile that her obsession with coffee, and the means to pay for that coffee is what jokingly prompted her to start a musical career in the first place. Following their morning java jolt is time spent on vocal exercises, perfecting their craft. Often during the day, the couple can be seen volunteering with local Bible education work. Their career started in the most organic of ways and is a testament to their work ethic, so free time is spent working on social media or their website. If they’re not out on the town performing gigs, which by the looks of their social media these days, is most nights of the week, the couple stays busy recording and writing music. Since the release of their new EP, “Love at First Sound,” shows have been selling out left and right and for good reason.

Obviously being married to someone who is also the other half of a two-piece can be difficult, but these two have found that differing opinions and writing directions can ultimately be worked out and settled with compromise. Staying grounded and having difficult conversations has opened their eyes to realizations that have made their art stronger and has made them work better as a team.

“Personally, those conversations can feel like bigger achievements than anything else,” Sequoia says.

Speaking of achievements, the band was nominated in 2016 for an Independent Music Award for Best Acoustic Song. At the time, the band had only two singles out and figured it would be a long shot, but entered their music into the running, regardless. They never dreamed that their song would be chosen out of thousands of hopeful candidates.  With the nomination, came the understanding that they “shouldn’t let fear of being one band in a list of thousands” stop them from taking such chances.

In December, the couple dropped their EP, which showcases songs written over a 5 year span. With most songs being written individually before the two formed the band, the songs have unique origins and were not a collaborative effort. Yet somehow, like a puzzle, they fit perfectly and the response they’ve received has been only positive.

With the buzz and excitement reeling from their new EP, the band is feeling optimistic and hopeful entering into 2018. Sharing their music to as many people as possible is their current mission for the new year and they’ve got a couple of fun projects up their sleeves. In the Spring, the band is going to have a couple of cool vinyl projects available for fans that will be customized on a person to person basis.

“Fans can choose (a) song and we will record it live to vinyl; personalized just for them,” Sequoia says. They’ve also written more music that they hope to release in the coming months.

The future looks bright for Spencer and Sequoia and their energy is nothing short of inspiring. As 2018 begins, their mindset and advice is to “be honest with yourself as to what you are, what you’re not, how you come across to people and how you want to be perceived.” Check out their page on ReverbNation for information on what’s next for the two.

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