Eric Hutchinson on New Album and City Favorites

July 03, 2012 | by —Julie Bensman | People & Parties

Eric Hutchinson is a fairly common name. And one Eric Hutchinson's face is a fairly common (albeit handsome) face. That face sings songs that appear in fairly common places: commercials ("not enough of them" he jokes), television shows, and mid-level venues across the country. Yet, somehow, these commonalities combine to produce a dynamic talent who's on the verge of becoming the next big thing you'll feel like you personally discovered.

Or maybe you already have: Enjoying an afternoon beer at Spitzer’s, sharing a table at Joe's Shanghai, or listening to the first single off his new Moving Up Living Down album, “Watching You Watch Him,” softly playing on a store’s intercom. He's a loyal New Yorker the city can claim as its own, despite the fact he’s often on the road (most recently completing a nearly 50-city tour). I caught up with him during a second stop at Highline Ballroom, a date he added as part of an extended schedule due to overwhelming demand.

Returning to the Highline is also a return home for Hutchinson, a place that inspired many songs off the new album. “I have such a strong memory of writing ‘Not There Yet,’” he told me. “I had a very late night of drinking here in New York and I woke up the next morning so hungover. I just sat on the couch and starting messing around and writing…. A lot of these songs I write when I’m trying to cheer myself up or when I’m trying to sort through what’s going on in my life. [When I play them], it’s nice to be able to think about everything and take stock.”

Judging by sold-out shows and, in particular, the line already gathering outside of the Highline Ballroom two hours before his show that evening, what’s “going on” in Hutchinson’s life is resonating quite loudly with fans. And if that weren’t enough evidence, one need only check his Twitter feed for absolute confirmation. “I’m kind of addicted to Twitter,” he admits. “I used to have an email address set up but people would write paragraphs and paragraphs. Twitter is so instant and quick. I really like hearing what people have to say, especially after shows.”

Perhaps it’s this transparency that helps him retain old fans while gaining new ones. He says he questions whether or not he’s sold out already, but then corrects himself: “It’s more about making little upgrades over and over…That’s what the album title is about: Moving Up Living Down. Everyone is constantly trying to move up but stay true to themselves...I try to do that.”

In real estate, little upgrades can have a major impact on one’s life (as I file this story, I’ll be rushing off to pack up boxes for a move to the UWS this weekend). In music, little upgrades can have a major impact on one’s career. Hutchinson isn’t afraid to put in the time or travel to see those results, but he’s also not being Machiavellian about it. “Sure, I would love to play Radio City Music Hall, that’s a big goal for me…maybe one day Madison Square Garden,” he says. “But, right now, I’m just happy if there are people and it’s a halfway decent room, you know?”

NEW YORK FAVORITES:

Favorite pizza

-Luzzo’s (211 1st Ave. # 1, 212-473-7447). “The tartufata is the best thing! That’s the first place I always take people from out of town.”

-Arturo’s (106 W. Houston St., 212-677-3820). “It’s maybe one of my favorite places in the city. It’s got a neighborhood feel and they crammed a piano in there and they’re playing jazz. The bartender is always cleaning the glasses, [and has] a nice New York accent. It feels like old school New York or what I imagine it would have felt like.”

Favorite bars

-JG Melon (1291 Third Ave., 212-744-0585), Wilfie and Nell (228 West 4th St., 212-242-2990), Loreley (7 Rivington St., 212-253-7077)

Favorite restaurants

-Locanda Verde (377 Greenwich St., 212-925-3797), Momofuku (171 1st Ave., 212-777-7773)

Favorite neighborhood

-Lower East Side. “I used to go out in the LES and then when I moved there, I stopped. Mainly, because I can’t get my friends to come and meet me. They’re in better areas like Gramercy Park….LES is kind of a shit show but I like it.”

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