Eric Hutchinson has stripped down his tour.
After opening for Kelly Clarkson in 2009 and 2010, the latter part of his solo touring -- dubbed the "Almost Solo" tour -- is now just the singer-songwriter and his longtime band member Elliott Blaufuss.
His live album "Almost Solo in NYC" was released in September. The album is free online to the first million people to share it on Twitter via his website, www.almostsoloinnyc.com.
The folkie, pop-rocker spends his days writing from the studio in his Lower East Side apartment in Manhattan, feeding off the city's energy.
"I really love pulling from New York to get energy and inspiration," Hutchinson said.
As part of the University of South Carolina Beaufort's first homecoming celebration, Hutchinson will perform Oct. 4 at the school's Hilton Head Gateway Campus.
Question. What is your writing process like?
Answer. The process is not that scientific. I get up, go to the gym, start writing a song and all of a sudden it's seven o'clock at night. And, hopefully, it was a good one. I do that repeatedly for several weeks and then I have a whole bunch of songs and I try and choose what the best ones are.
Q. Is the new album more fiction or nonfiction?
A. The new album is a lot of fictional songs. I sort of got to a place where I was pretty happy and didn't feel like emptying my life out all over the place again. It's good to have some other things to draw from -- walking around and seeing people and pulling different ideas. I never know exactly where a song's going to come from. That's the exciting part, but also the frustrating part.
Q. How do you manage writer's block?
A. For me, you've got to just try not to write. You've got to go out and live life. That's an important part of songwriting in general, having experiences to draw from. So I try to go out and do whatever. The best is when you can get some kind of experience out of it that you can write about.
Q. Music is your job, so how do you make sure you don't lose the joy?
A. When I get on stage and there's a bunch of people out there excited to sing along with me, it's pretty easy to get reinspired. For me, I get most of my energy from the audience. I love connecting and I love getting to sing, so every night is kind of like plugging back in to that.
Q. What would you like this audience to know?
A. This is not a show where I get up there and stare at my feet. This is supposed to be fun. The rest of life can be boring or sad or confusing, but coming to see some music should be a good time. It's a sing-along, it's laughing, it's clapping. Just forget what you're doing and come and have a good time.
Follow reporter Laura Oberle at twitter.com/IPBG_Laura.