Lee Coulter

Damn we’re lucky! That’s right – the PEV boys have struck gold again, landing a set of XXQ’s with an artist about to EXPLODE: San Diego native by way of Australia, Mr. Lee Coulter. He may already be on some of your radars – earlier this year, his song "I Would Love" went national on Sirius XM's popular songwriter channel, The Coffee House. Not only did he find his tune in regular rotation, but Coulter also recorded a 30 minute live set at Sirius Headquarters that aired in full on the Coffee House in April! 

Lee comments, “It's pretty surreal and gives me some sense of validation since before that, no one in the industry had really picked up my music. I was starting to get self conscious about it. I mean, I'm a songwriter to start with... aren't we meant to be self doubters by nature?” Songs like “I Would Love” and my YouTube favorite, “Booty Voodoo” can be listened to again and again in the comfort of your own home when you pick up Coulter’s self-titled debut record. Lee lays out his feelings on the effort: “I just wanted to release something that was a true representative of what I'm about so my most lyrical, rhythmic songs made it on there…I never know how to describe my sound because part of what I enjoy about creating music is writing songs of varying styles from song to song. ‘Funkacana’ and ‘flip flop rock’ is something I came up with that may apply to many of my songs because there's a little bit of folk, a little bit of funk, and a relaxed, beachy sound.”

Make your friends look stupid and get to know Lee Coulter now – he’s moving onto some big things, including a project called Square Pegs Baby. There’s a web site about the hip hop/rock/pop fusion project, so check it out. And pick up the record. There’s a whole bunch more to get into, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: Lee Coulter
PensEyeView.com (PEV):  You call your unique sound, “Funkacana. Flip Flop Rock”.  Tell us what you mean by that and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in the industry?

Lee Coulter (LC): I never know how to describe my sound because part of what I enjoy about creating music is writing songs of varying styles from song to song. Funkacana and flip flop rock is something I came up with that may apply to many of my songs because there's a little bit of folk, a little bit of funk, and a relaxed, beachy sound.
PEV: Hailing from Australia, but settling in San Diego, California, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main
influence?

LC: I grew up on all the big American and British acts that you grew up on here. Paul Simon was, and remains, my favorite. I was lucky that my parents had some good stuff... Bob Dylan, Ray Charles, Bob Marley, and of course the Beatles and Beach Boys etc. When I started buying music myself I was into Nirvana, Babyface, Silverchair, Tupac, Natalie Merchant and Sarah Mclachlan.
PEV: In February 2011, your song "I Would Love" went national beginning high rotation on Sirius XM's popular songwriter channel, The Coffee House and also recorded a 30 minute live set at Sirius Headquarters that aired in full on the Coffee House in late April 2011. What was it like to know your song was being recognized so well on such a big channel and how has the response been so far?
LC: I didn't really know how to take it until I started getting emails from all over the country from strangers who had heard and appreciated the song. I was stoked, of course. To this day I keep getting calls from friends in random states, excited that they just heard me. It's pretty surreal and gives me some sense of validation since before that, no one in the industry had really picked up my music. I was starting to get self conscious about it. I mean, I'm a songwriter to start with... aren't we meant to be self doubters by nature?
PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?
LC: Yes, I must have been 14 years old and the music must have sucked. But it's that unjustified confidence that kept me going and learning and getting better. That's why I am glad I started writing songs when in my early teens.
PEV: What can fans expect from a live Lee Coulter show?
LC: I guess I try to create a happiness and a warmth. Lots of smiling.  Basically, my goal is to make people feel good. I like music that does that for me, and I got into it to share that with others. Whether it's the energy, the melodies, the grooves or the lyrics, they're all just mechanisms that I use to reach that endgame.
PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?
LC: "Don't act awkward. Stop it! You're acting awkward!" Apparently I turn into Woody Allen. Honestly, I just can't wait to get the first song behind me... to break the air and feel like, "yay! they like me!"
PEV: What was it like for you when you first started out and making the transition to professional musician?
LC: I was amazed that people could actually make money doing this. It is an attitude that I am still trying to get over in order to be better at the business side of it. I still hate talking money with venues and I long for the day when I have someone else doing that on my behalf.
PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?
LC: I think my core motivation must be to feel like I relate to others and to put something out there that people can connect with. It's all about connecting on an honest emotional level. Music allows you to speak to people in a way that they'd look at you funny otherwise.  I'm also a very nostalgic person and songwriting is like a diary for me. My song "Photograph" is about that concept. I don't know where my best ideas come from. Often I don't feel like it's me that comes up with them, like all of a sudden out of nowhere I have a line that really works in my head and then I just build the song around that one idea.
PEV: Tell us about your self titled debut release and what can fans expect from this work?
LC: I just wanted to release something that was a true representative of what I'm about so my most lyrical, rhythmic songs made it on there. Many of the songs I had been playing for years so I knew which ones worked and which ones to leave out. It's fresh and fun. I think my next release is already sounding much more songwritery with more maturity and thought in each song. I'm happy with the growth and think it will be an obvious progression for anyone who has the first album.
PEV: Is there a certain story behind one of the songs that really stands out to you?
LC: The Jeep Song is dear to me because it was about my American girlfriend at the time. I wrote it 8 years ago. We met in Australia and she had to leave the country when she completed grad school there. I sent a demo version of the song to her to play in her Jeep to remind her that I wanted to continue the relationship despite not knowing how or when we'd see each other again. Now we've been married 7 years and have a 2 year old son.
PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Lee Coulter?
LC: I get a lot of people telling me they're surprised that I'm Australian because I don't sound like it when I sing. I'm like, "have you heard Keith Urban?"
PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?
LC: I was 7 years old and I was standing on my bed, strumming a tennis racket, pretending I was Marty McFly rocking out Johnny B Goode at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance.
PEV: What one word best describes Lee Coulter?
LC: Observant
PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?
LC: Most of my on the road experience has been either on my own or with my wife so very easy and fun and relaxed. The best parts are just experiencing things that are new to me like the people, culture, landscapes, architecture and FOOD! The worst is never knowing what to expect when playing a venue or town I've never played before. It always ends up sweet but that feeling that it could go horribly wrong doesn't seem to escape me.
PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?
LC: There are many parts of the world I'd love to play music but top of the list would have to be England. There's also a town called Coulter in Scotland where I'd love to show up and be like, "we're related. No, seriously."
PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?
LC: It's funny because I have come to understand a lot of the music biz is about appearing more successful than you are, even if it is unintentional. So half the people I know are amazed that I'm supremely successful, while I'm in awe of their successes. The other half is still expecting me to grow up. Even my mum still tells me I need an office job. Nothing specific, just as long as it's in an office. She's Asian so I'm just grateful that she no longer wants me to be a doctor.
PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?
LC: Entertaining my son. Trying to impress my gluten-free wife with my gluten-free cooking. Eating a lot. Playing some tennis. Shooting some hoops. Watching movies. Lately, working on ideas for screenplays and children's books. Does this get me a date on eHarmony.com?
PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?
LC: Two things: Skyler Stonestreet and you're welcome.
PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?
LC: I'd definitely be writing in some form. I majored in journalism so maybe writing for entertainment magazines or something more righteous and mind blowing like following different groups of aid workers around and telling their story through words and photography. But more likely, what I did before music, writing advertisements for radio. TV ad writing could be fun too.
PEV: So, what is next for Lee Coulter?
LC: Square Pegs Baby. It's a concept that I came up with a rapper friend of mine, Stepchylde Tha Phoenix. I wanted this outlet for hard hitting hip hop/rock/pop fusion and found it with him and a female vocalist named Anika. It's borderline parody it's so awfully catchy but the point is for people to like it whether or not they think we're joking. I'm writing and producing the whole thing (apart from Step's raps) and the album is set for release late this summer. You can see some of the obnoxious vlogs and music we've done so far at www.squarepegsbaby.com
 

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