He's an acclaimed songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who co-produced Kacey Musgraves' multi Grammy-nominated new album Golden Hour. Get to know Ian Fitchuk, our TALENT SCOUT Artist of the Week.
NAME: Ian Fitchuk
HOMETOWN: Western Springs, Il
MUSICAL TRAINING: Both of my parents are musicians and they're also music educators, so music was always happening in my house and at church growing up. I took a bit of Suzuki violin when I was young, but that didn't last. Instead, I took classical piano lesson all through high school and participated in school choirs and musicals. Along the way, I picked up drums and guitar as well. My plan was to study jazz piano at Belmont University in Nashville, but as soon as I arrived I found some work and hit the road.
FIRST GIGS: When I moved to Nashville, I met some friends in a band called Llama who were finishing a record for MCA. I dropped out of college in the middle of my first semester and toured with them for a year and a half. After I left the band, I met an artist named Griffin House who had recently moved to Nashville. We recorded a handful of music that lead to a record deal and several more album projects. That really opened the door to producing projects. Around the same time, other producers like Jason Lehning and Jacquire King started hiring me as a session musician, which lead to work with all kinds of artists from James Bay to Shania Twain.
MUSICAL INFLUENCES: I grew up listening to all kinds of music. In the house there was a lot of classical music and at church there were a lot of hymns and various elements of gospel. Some records that really impacted me were Paul Simon's Graceland and Michael Jackson's Dangerous. Also producers and songwriters like Jeff Lynne, Mutt Lange, Pharell Williams and Ethan Johns have all inspired me in a multitude of ways.
WHAT I’M LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW: A lot of instrumental music. I love Krauhgnbin and find a lot great music through the Radiooooo app, which is essentially a map of the world with a decade selector. I love the Leon Bridges record Good Thing, and can't stop listening to SZA. When I'm with my family and just driving around it usually ends up being the Beatles, with whom you can never go wrong!
MY BIG BREAK: I've had several pivotal moments in my almost 20 year career in Nashville, but I guess this year's release of Kacey Musgraves Golden Hour would be the project I'm most proud of and the one I feel most personally involved with. It feels like a good representation of my musical palette and seems to attract listeners who enjoy all types of music.
LATEST PROJECTS: I produced and wrote the upcoming SUSTO record on Rounder, and Lily & Madeline on New West records, which are very different releases from each other. I also really enjoyed and am excited for the upcoming Maren Morris record, which I contributed to as a keyboard player and also as a co-writer.
FAVORITE KEYBOARDS AND WHY? I've been a long time proponent of the Mellotron and I love seeing a younger generation falling in love with it. The Roland Juno-60 and Juno-106 always feel like a creative place for me. But nothing beats a great piano, specifically Yamaha Uprights, and a Hammond B-3 organ. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use older and classic keyboards, which is also why I've found Keyscape by Spectrasonics very useful.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU? At the moment, most of my time is focused on an upcoming Kathleen Edwards record and lots of co-writing. I'm also hoping to find a way to create a bit on my own, which has always been challenging for me.
ADVICE TO THE NEXT GENERATION: Have fun, don’t take yourself too seriously, treat people with respect and always try to serve the song.