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January 18, 2011

Stilly Studio: Stillwater High School alum Hugh Spector

STILLWATER, Okla. — Hugh Spector knew he loved music.

“I was always a really avid music listener,” said Spector. “My parents always had music playing in the house, no matter what, at all times of the day.”

From the time he was born in Atlanta in 1990 to the 10 years he spent in San Francisco, he had learned how to play piano. During that time, he was accepted into the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. After a while, he started to hate practicing daily.

His father accepted a job at Oklahoma State University and the family moved to Stillwater, where Spector entered fifth-grade and stayed until his graduation from Stillwater High School. He eventually took up guitar and found himself playing six hours a day in eighth-grade.

“I’d get home after school, start playing guitar,” said Spector, now 20 years old. “I wouldn’t stop until dinner, then it would stop. I would get back on guitar.”

Throughout high school, he played with bands, but they didn’t play the music he enjoyed. Where their sound was harder rock, Spector wanted to play music that was more “jazzy.”

Over time, he also started transitioning away from his parent’s music.

“They’re always kind of more like lyrical and stuff and I’ve been more melodic in the kind of songs I like,” he said.

He remembers hearing a Pete Yorn song one day and thinking it was amazing.

“It was just this really full sound and he just hit this chord and it kept going and I was like, ‘This is what I want to do,’” said Spector.

Spector began applying to schools such as Juilliard and the Berklee College of Music. He had been involved with Berklee before.

“I went to a summer program there and I really liked it,” he said. “I said, ‘This is where I want to go to college.’”

However, after being accepted, he came to a realization.

“I used to want to play guitar more than anything else,” he said. “But, I didn’t really think that was going to take me very many places and then when I got to Berklee it was like, ‘Wow, this really isn’t going to take me very many places.’”

He decided instead to focus on a new interest.

“I’m studying film scoring right now,” he said. “It’s really kind of opening up these emotional ways to write music and with my music lately, I’ve been trying to be really kind of happy and convey these really joyful emotions.”

Learning to compose and write was more interesting, he said. He said that his experiences at Berklee have been fun.

“It’s really just expanded my knowledge on music and who I like to listen to,” he said.

Spector has been getting involved with electronic music. He describes a goal of his.

“Right now, with the kind of electronic stuff I’ve been getting into, I really kind of want to start playing clubs and kind of get my name out there doing that, maybe,” he said. “I’ve been doing more like dance music oriented kinds of things. So, I don’t know. Getting known would be really cool.”

Spector, who will be starting his fourth semester in January, said he enjoys Berklee, but sometimes misses those who were close to him in Stillwater.

“You know, there were some people that I was really close to that I’d like to see more of, but the main thing is being away from my dad,” he said. “I wish that he was up there a lot more.”

Despite the education he’s receiving in Boston, he still sees his experiences as fun.

“I’m not a pro, yet,” he said. “I just really like making music.”

Spector's demos and songs can be seen at http://soundcloud.com/th3-b3ar

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