With live concerts out of the question for a while longer, we wanted to make sure that Nashville (and fans across the globe) had a chance to see the personality behind our amazing final eight bands. Fulton Lee, a longtime station favorite for office dance parties, had the chance to showcase their contagious energy last year at our Halloween Bash alongside Live on the Green alums Here Come the Mummies. But to get more of the inside scoop on what drives the self-described “bubble-gum funk” frontman, I had the pleasure of this ~socially distant~ interview. Enjoy!
Q: Other than hearing your song spun on Lightning 100 over the past couple months, what have you been up to during quarantine?
A: My wife and I welcomed our first child! She was born on July 11th. We’ve spent alot of time preparing for her arrival and then playing with her and taking nonstop pictures of her tiny little face. I also wrote a song called “Sunshine” back in May about the baby (who was in my wife’s belly at that time). It’s one of the most personal and emotional songs I’ve written, although it’s very joyous! I spent alot of time with lyrics for that song over quarantine, and the band and I self produced it, so that was a big project as well! We released that song about a week after she was born, so it was really perfect timing.
Q: Have you ever tried to venture into any other mediums of art other than music? How did that turn out?
A: Yes! I have acted in several short films, plays, and music videos. I really love acting and would like to do more of it. It’s a tough scene to break into and requires alot of time. I could see myself writing my own scripts and performing in them as a form of content that I release at some point in my life. I’ve always wanted to do that. Lately I’ve actually been thinking up ways i can incorporate acting into my set as a music artist. I have alot of ideas swimming around, almost like creating a show that’s half way a musical with dialogue and everything, and half way a straight ahead music setlist from a straight ahead band. That idea has a long way to go… Stay tuned.
Q: Who are some of your biggest inspirations musically?
A: Vulfpeck, The Beatles, Frank Ocean. Those are probably my big 3. I also love Kanye West, Chance The Rapper, Emily King, and Maverick City Music. Vulfpeck has the texture and raw energy that I live for. The Beatles have the melodies that I die for. And Frank Ocean makes me want to write a symphony. Somehow that all comes together to create bubblegum funk music…. (That’s my imagined genre)
Q: If you could open for any Nashville based artist, who would it be? How about any artist in the world?
A: My Nashville artist would be Rocky Block…. I have no idea when the last show he played was, or if he’ll ever play more, but his record “Lover” is one of my favs ever.My world artist would be…. Kanye West… I know that doesn’t make any sense genre-wise… But I feel like I understand the energy he’s going for with his art and I’m after that same energy.
Q: What’s your writing process like? Solo? Co-writes? Production?
A: I always go melody first. I make a melody with gibberish lyrics and then fill it in with real words sometimes months later. I collaborate with my drummer August Pappas quite a bit with melody and phrasing, and he’s a instrumental mastermind, so we collaborate heavily with production. Sometimes he’ll send me a fully written song without any vocals, and I just get to write melodies over top. Other times I’ll send him fully written songs and we’ll collaborate on production. I’ve never collaborated with lyrics though, that’s always solo.
Q: How do you know when you have a song that feels really special?
A: When I feel like the song creates a color/mood that could become nostalgic. I believe every song has it’s own unique personality and color pallete, and some are very distinct and unique. Those are the ones that are special. When it feels like you’ve just met a person with a whole vibe and life and personality but its a song.
Q: Okay, 2021 seems like a long way away, but if you were to win Music City Mayhem and play at LOTG 2021, what’s one thing in your closet you’d want to wear on stage?
A: I have a pair of red and white striped oversized overalls. I’ve only worn them once for a photoshoot and I want to wear them on stage, but it’d have to be a big show.
A big thank you to Fulton Lee for taking the time to give us a peek into his artistry. Be sure to tune in to the Music City Mayhem semifinals on 8/17 to hear Fulton Lee on 100.1FM and lightning100.com – and don’t forget to vote!