A trumpeter, singer, producer, and dancer who rocks alligator shoes with smoking style and panache, Spencer Ludwig brings any party to life. The Los Angeles-born, half-Filipino vocalist and songwriter merges jazz virtuosity and pop style for a sound that simmers and swaggers with soul. "My music is a calling card for the live show," he says. "Everything is inspired by a live moment. Sometimes, I want people to groove. Sometimes, I want them to bounce. Sometimes, I want them to rock out. Sometimes, I want them to cry. Sometimes, I want their jaws to drop. Each song highlights a different emotion I know, love, and want to share with the world."
Chances are, you've heard his lyrical lead trumpet soaring through the music of multiplatinum-selling indie pop act Capital Cities. Not only did he perform on their full-length debut In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, which included the chart-busting double-platinum single "Safe and Sound," but he also crisscrossed the globe with the band, opening Katy Perry's Prismatic World Tour and electrifying the stage at Coachella, Bonnaroo, and more. However, his unexplainable and undeniable bond with the trumpet began back in high school....
During fourth grade, Spencer picked up the saxophone and immersed himself in the world of jazz improvisation before eventually adding French horn to his repertoire five years later. In eleventh grade, a school counselor recommended that the budding musician major in French horn in order to vie for a full scholarship to his desired college California Institute of the Arts.
However, he experienced something of a revelation in her office. "I said, 'I'm going to play trumpet,'" Spencer recalls. "She was like, 'You're going to have to audition, and you've never played!' I was so inspired by Miles Davis at the time, and the quickest way back to jazz, improvising, and being creative was the trumpet. I borrowed a friend's trumpet, got a book, and taught myself how to play. If I didn't get in to Cal Arts, my plan B was to go to New Orleans, live on the streets, and be a happy trumpet player. Luckily, I got in six months later."
He didn't just get in; he received a full scholarship for the instrument. In order to cover the costs of housing, he tirelessly gave lessons and performed in countless acts around Los Angeles before linking up with Capital Cities. Following a whirlwind two years in the group, he returned to Los Angeles in December 2014 and commenced writing solo material that showcased both his trumpet talents and dynamic, diverse vocals. "I approach my vocal lines the same way that I approach the trumpet," he admits. "The instrument influences everything. For me, it's a key to the soul. It's straight to the heart. I wanted to articulate myself in that. What I do is pop celebration music, but the trumpet adds an element of depth. I realized I could still incorporate that improvisation."
A handful of demos found their way into the hands of Warner Bros. Records President Dan McCarroll who personally signed Spencer as a solo artist in early 2015. Now, the debut single "Diggy" introduces his funky, fierce, and fiery sonic strut. A trumpet wail entwines with finger-snaps before bopping along on an upbeat groove. "The trumpet mirrors the chorus," he explains. "It's a good-time song about this really confident character."
His striking falsetto immediately captivates on the smooth, slick, and seductive "Right Into U." Even though the chorus is somewhat risqué, you don't think about it that way because the tone is so lighthearted, sweet, and summery. Co-written by RedOne [Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj] and Robin Thicke, the trumpet takes center stage on the intro of "Legs" before its builds into a bombastic ode to the lower limbs. "It's about being completely infatuated with a pair of very sexy legs," he goes on. "It works for any color, race, or orientation. It was so important for me to have a sexy song that can resonate with anyone."
Ultimately, Spencer's welcoming everyone to the party now. "I want my music to transport people to place that's only good vibes," he leaves off. Put on your alligator shoes and get ready for the time of your life.