A normal day for Eric Hutchinson involves sitting at the piano, drumming his fingers along the keys until he comes up with a good melody, or encountering actors Hugh Jackman, Neil Patrick Harris or Josh Gad on his way to a vocal lesson with Broadway coach Liz Caplan. Not bad for a guy who had his first album, “Sounds Like This,” dropped after the Maverick Records sub-label folded, only to independently release the album in 2008 and have it later picked up by the same major record label, Warner Bros.
Now, the former Montgomery County resident is preparing to launch his fourth studio album and kick off a group of solo acoustic shows highlighted by a December 22 concert at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis. During the journey from aspiring musician to accomplished crooner, he’s celebrated several appearances on the iTunes Top 10 albums chart. His single “Watching You Watch Him” from his second album, 2012’s “Moving Up, Living Down,” served as the theme for the popular medical TV drama “Grey’s Anatomy.” And “Tell the World,” a song about people sharing with mankind all of their accomplishments, was on the NBC series “Growing Up Fisher.”
As he’s shared his rhythmic, upbeat and soulful pop hits with audiences from San Diego to Dubai, Hutchinson has refined his approach.
“My songwriting process has become pretty regulated over the years,” Hutchinson said. “I'll wake up, make coffee and then sit at my piano, and suddenly, I look up and it's 6:00pm. I have to really make sure I eat when I'm working because I never wanna stop when I've got a good idea, which is really saying something, since I'm usually thinking about eating 90 percent of my day.”
That process paid off with Hutchinson’s third album, “Pure Fiction,” which was released in 2014. With songs like the aforementioned “Tell the World” and the soulful “Love Like You,” the New York songwriter attempted to make a record that was more modern than its predecessors.
“I got out of my comfort zone a bit,” he recalled. “I broke some songwriting rules I'd always honored and that was really liberating. I thought, ‘Why does ‘Tell the World’ need a second verse? Let’s just skip straight to the bridge!’ Stuff like that.”
Aside from those audience favorites, Hutchinson hasn’t decided what songs he will incorporate into his set for Rams Head On Stage, but he will include some tunes that he hasn’t performed recently. He is eager to return to the Annapolis venue, where he can be “alone with the audience.”
“The folks at Rams Head have been so so so supportive of me from the very beginning,” Hutchinson said. “I would bother every club within 300 miles of me and beg them to let me open. Rams Head not only returned my emails but put me on a bunch of shows. I love playing there whenever I can!”
The concert follows a summer tour in which he took the stage with Kelly Clarkson and Pentatonix. “There were like 150 people on tour between all the bands and the crew, and it was like one big traveling summer camp,” Hutchinson said. “We'd be out there playing to 20,000 a night, and I'd be onstage just trying to soak it all in and enjoy the moment.”
When his tour concludes, Hutchinson will focus on completing his fourth studio album, which will be released in 2016. One new song, “Good Rhythm,” is streaming on Hutchison’s website and it conveys his guilt for thriving as a musician.
“I'm really proud of the new album,” he said. “It's my most soulful album, and in a lot of ways, the songs and the recording process reminded me of making my first album ‘Sounds Like This.’ I finally wrote the power ballad I've been trying to write my whole career, called ‘Anyone Who Knows Me.’”
Anyone who knows Hutchinson is aware that he is humbled by his recent success. He summarized his goals by saying, “I wanna play on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show!” Everything else will be gravy after that.”
To learn more about Hutchinson or to see other upcoming tour dates, visit www.erichutchinson.com. For tickets to the show at Rams Head On Stage, or to find information about other concerts, go to www.ramsheadonstage.com/calendar.