John Sparling is the Orlando-based songster hailing from Boston, M.A., with a keen ear for nuanced decidence. Since his breakthrough in 2018—where he shared stage and spotlight with the likes of Von Smith and Robyn Adele Anderson—Sparling has been a sought after collaborator in the music scene, and with each new year that passes, a fresh chapter in his independent strive for success. Sparling's notoriety has already been well established for his vocal mastery.
With the latest rendition of "Use Somebody," arriving off his festooned musical catalog, the Floridian-magnetic exudes a distinct vocalized tenderness over the String Orchestrations attached.
Sparling has the exquisite gift of transporting his audience headfirst into warm and snug rhapsodies through the sheer captivating character in his voice. On his cover, the sentiments are much of the same. There's an opening piano that dims the light down-low, setting the mood for an infatuating sonic endeavor before a soft-swell of lush strings decorate the airy atmosphere's adjoining edges with a prismatic hue; giving enough space for the Florida-based intoner to fly freely.
Sparling's incantations are so precise; it's as if the maestro vocal conduit is singing right before our eyes amongst a warm candle-lit chamber; stimulating us with effortless enthusiasm, and plunging us into his mystifying world of cherubic eruptions near the end. It's a far arms stretch from the Alt-rock character of the original, but it's a comforting reach. Sparling grabs at the fuzzy bits of air that engorge his mix's vast expanses and manufactures a vocal decidence that only comes around every couple of decades.
Here, on his reimagining of "Use Somebody," John Sparling takes his next defining steps as Musical and Vocal notoriety—and we can't get enough of it.
Hello John, welcome to BuzzMusic, it's wonderful to have you with us. What was your inspiration behind taking this Alt-Rock original and orchestrating it into your own beautiful Contemporary reimagining?
When I’m selecting a piece to cover I tend to spend a lot of time scrolling through Spotify or browsing my old Itunes collection and I play along with them on the piano. In this particular case, I had some fond memories of an old cruise ship gig I had at the time this song came out, so I was immediately drawn to try and work with it. The melody of the “Ohs” in the chorus was something that stuck out to me as a nice piano line so I started messing around with it. That arpeggiated vocal line when played on the piano turned into this beautiful mournful sonority with some additional chord changes and it really morphed in front of my eyes into what it is now.
Can you tell us about some of the sentiments you needed to channel in order to achieve the captivating vocal performance you conducted here?
I was a musical theater kid growing up and I have always wanted to tell a story when I sing. In this case, just reading the first line “I’ve been roaming around always looking down…” spoke as a person describing their search for something in almost a dreamlike state. So, I took that and tried to relate it to something of my own. The desperate desire for someone to hear me was what I pulled from. Not just the words I am speaking, but to fully understand the scope of whatever I’m going through. As a person that has dealt with a severe anxiety disorder (I’m sure anyone else that does can relate) the feeling of expressing themselves and not being taken completely seriously due to the elevated emotions involved in the disorder. Being invalidated constantly is a challenge and this arrangement was a great way to put the emotional impact of that into the tone of the piece.
What was it like working with Tanner Johnson on this track, and how did you two collaborate over the string instrumentation for this cover?
This is my favorite question! Tanner is such an incredible musician and I’ve wanted to collaborate with him for a while now. I asked if he had the ability to record himself and I’m a big supporter of individual inspiration, so I didn’t want to steer him in any way. I sent him the track and he got to work. Now at the time, I expected to get back a recording with a nice violin line over top but when I heard this fully fleshed out string arrangement I literally shouted at my computer!! And that was it, no re-submission with notes, I took it completely as it was and with the help of my good friend Dan Reynolds at Sound Seer Studios mixed it all down for release.
Can you tell us about a crucial Milestone you've been working towards achieving this year? What are some of the steps you've been taking to accomplish this goal every day?
I live in Orlando and have been a full-time musician for two years in town. When the pandemic hit everything stopped and I found myself looking at another rebuilding period. I have two major goals, one is building a student portal for online music lessons and the other is producing consistent musical content. I want to have the content point to the services and the services point to the content to have both passions of mine help facilitate the other. I’m working every day with my wife to be doing outreach to the music community and also ensuring that I keep up with providing the highest quality content I can provide.
What has been keeping you inspired in 2020?
My wife and stepdaughter. I got married in April, and I am so motivated to continue doing what I love and being able to contribute to my family. They are both my biggest fans and it’s easy to get up and get after it every day when you have a support system like that.