I was thrilled upon learning I would be meeting, Spencer Lee, 21, the singer-songwriter from the upcoming animated feature, Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue. Spencer co-wrote, “Still I Fly,” along with Windy Wagner and Michael “Smidi” Smith. “Still I Fly” is the lead single from the soundtrack, which Spencer performs as an inspiring pop/rock song. The day I met Spencer, he treated a quaint group of us bloggers to an incredible acoustic performance of “Still I Fly.” Originally from Fort Scott, Kansas, Spencer grew up on a farm. At the age of 17, he attended summer camp, where he was discovered by a vocal coach, who liked his voice and sent his video back to Los Angeles.
During our meeting, Spencer also performed an acoustic version of the mid-tempo track, “Bubblegum,” from his forthcoming debut CD on The Brain Music label. Spencer dubs his adult contemporary, smooth R&B/funk style as “blue eyed funk.” He’s a wondrous mix between today’s artists such as Justin Timberlake and Bruno Mars, along with legendary crooners like Marvin Gaye and Teddy Pendergrass. I was in awe and ready for the album to drop. We had the opportunity to ask Spencer his thoughts on music, leaving Kansas and the opportunity to work for Disney.
When I first got to LA, I made a lot of mistakes. But, I had to grow just like Dusty in the movie. So, “Still I Fly” was really special to me at the time I co-wrote it. We all go through struggles. I’ll tell any young person that may be struggling to stick to your dreams and you’ll come out on top. Don’t ever give up! – Spencer
Spencer: At the time, I had a writing camp. We were just trying to get some songs out to get our names out. Brett Swine from Disney knew one of my partners at the time. We were thrown this great opportunity. That’s kind of how I got connected.
Blogger: What’s your favorite Disney movie?
Spencer: Oliver & Company because the entire film is scored by Billy Joel! I had stacks of VHS tapes! My grandma made sure that I had every Disney videotape as a kid. To end up writing a Disney song is such an honor! I still have those dinosaur VHS tapes.
TIM: Who would you like to work with as far as writing and producing?
Spencer: I’d love to do a song with Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin. He’s such a bad cat, and I think he’s really, really awesome. “Still I Fly” pays homage to him with all that heavy rocking in the background of the song.
TIM: Would you consider going into acting?
Spencer: I would love to branch out. But right now, I’m fully dedicated to my music.
TIM: At what age were you when you knew you wanted to sing?
Spencer: Both of my parents can carry a tune. So, I’m blessed that way. But, I was 13 when I did my first big competition. I got second place, and that’s when I got a taste for it.
TIM: At what age did you leave Kansas?
Spencer: I left Kansas at 17 and literally left going into a world I had no idea about. Now, here’s the similarity between me and Dusty. I’m from the cornfields of Kansas, and I saw a cropduster go across my backyard every day!
Nowadays, Spencer is hard at work, polishing the final touches on his debut CD for The Brain Music label. Look for Spencer’s single, “Bubblegum,” to drop soon on iTunes. In the meantime, catch the lead single, “Still I Fly,” from Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue soundtrack when it hits theaters nationwide July 18, 2014.
Disney’s Planes: Fire & Rescue is Rated PG for Action and Some Peril
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