Bert Sperling Sure Talks About Himself A LOT

An entrepreneur and singer-songwriter, Bert Sperling, who was born and bred in Portland, Oregon, but now shares his time between his hometown and Los Angeles, has quite a musical pedigree to boast about. He spent time playing in hard rock and punk bands in his younger years, fronted a traditional country band, and even dabbled in a little experimental soundscaping. But through all of that, he never left music alone, so he's been doing it for the longest time it's lead him to release this album called "Renaissance" with plans on playing some shows, touring and more! Bert Sperling himself took some time to discuss this release and more input on himself as an artist.

1. Introduce yourself, tell me what you do as Bert Sperling, and how long have you been a solo artist doing the thing that you do?

Bert: My name is Bert Sperling, I’m a West Coast boy but I've done my time on the East Coast (during college at Dartmouth).  I've always been a solo artist since I was 16, and I’ll always be a solo artist because that’s the truest form of expression.

2. Where are you based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local artists/bands you could recommend?

Bert: I’m based out of Los Angeles, and have been for the past nine years. The music scene here’s fragmented, because you have to find your own niche. But there’s plenty of talented people here.  One local artist I’d recommend is Stephanie Lynn, just a great voice and one of the most beautiful women ever.

3. Why did you want to go and call this solo artist gig Bert Sperling after yourself?

Bert: Because that’s the most accurate way to put it. I played the whole album myself, I wrote the songs, I produced it, I paid for it. It’s the only responsible thing to call it.

4. Who are your musical influences?

Bert: David Bowie, Roger Waters, Rodney Crowell, Russell Smith from the Amazing Rhythm Aces.

5. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Bert: My songs are about life, and the truths that one arrives at through living his or her life – uncolored and raw. The themes are drinking problems, leaving people you care about, and a lot of pain.

6. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Bert: Yes I write all my own songs, that’s the only thing that you can offer this world. My songwriting process comes to me throughout the day, as I’m living my life. Impressions, and truths that seem to crystallize and make themselves apparent whether you like it or not.

7. What's your take on "Renaissance" as a whole?

Bert: My take on Renaissance is that it’s a complete thought. The picture of a man at a milestone, and the choices that bring him to the next day. I think it will fill people with hope.

8. Is it important for you to paint visual pictures with the songs?

Bert: It’s vital, because that’s the way we hear music. It should be a picture, to take the listener to places that she’s been before, or places she wants to go.

9. What would be the cinematic equivalent of "Renaissance"?

Bert: That’s a great question. I think it would be a 60’s black and white film, by Antonioni or Godard.  I love the courage that those directors displayed with their images, and the way they let them sink in to the viewer.

10. What's your favorite song on the album right now?

Bert: I've come back to the opener, “Trade Up.”  I really do love the optimism and heart that it shows. Finding a silver lining in everything, that’s the power.

11. How do you describe your music to people?

Bert: I describe it as roots-oriented pop rock. Americana, but really just pop. I love pop music, for the way it makes you feel and its accessibility. The best thing that any artist can do is write a great Pop Song.

12. What image do you think your music conveys?

Bert: I suppose I would like to think that it conveys a sense of reality, a sense of authenticity in a world where genuineness is increasingly hard to find.

13. Who is your fan/customer?

Bert: My fans are real people and they come from all walks of life.  My music is enjoyed by undergrads in college, and people my parent’s age. And I like that because I do feel like it’s universal, and it’s taken me a long time to get to this point.

14. What advice would you give to fellow artists/bands?

Bert: Do whatever it takes to stay true to your vision. It’s the hardest thing to do, but it’s the reason you’re doing it.

15. What are the biggest obstacles for musicians?

Bert: Again, trusting yourself. Dealing with the deafening roar of silence in response to what you’re working on. It will come to light, but it takes a long time longer than it should.

16. Tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.

Bert: Well my next show is the CD release party, June 24 at Alberta Street Pub in Portland, Oregon. And I hope you’ll come because it’s going to be an amazing night. I’ll be playing all the songs off my new album, along with some t-shirt giveaways!

17. How do you promote your band and shows?

Bert: Word-of-mouth is still the best way to promote a show. If you don’t have friends, that you talk to on a regular basis, you won’t have a good crowd. I do Facebook and Twitter, but that really only augments the connections I've already made in person.

18. Could you describe your show, visually and musically for us?

Bert: My shows are unforgettable. I leave it all on the stage and people go away never forgetting what they've seen. I’m one of the most engaging and intense performers anyone’s ever seen.

19. How does music affect you and the world around you?

Bert: Music is with me 24/7. When I was a teenager, I said to myself, “music is the only thing that makes life worth living.” And, that has held true for me. I would not want to live in a world without music.

20. What inspires you to do what you do?

Bert: So many things. Of course, other music. But, really, every day inspires me. As much great music as we have out there, every day brings the opportunity to say something new, and to say it with music. It’s the one thing that will never get old.

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