Spencer Sutherland stars in Afterlife of the Party alongside Victoria Justice and Midori Francis, and the film premiered on Netflix today. Crossing over from the music world into acting, Afterlife of the Party is Spencer’s feature film debut. I am always a fan of when music meshes with movies and TV, and this is a perfectly suited combination.
It’s always interesting to see how singers-turned-actors and actors-turned-singers take on their respective new roles, and Spencer Sutherland had his own experience crossing over between the two forms of artistic expression:
“I think that music has, without me knowing, prepped me for acting in a bunch of ways. For one, preparation and hard work and practice, obviously. But it’s definitely also a performance — a different kind of performance — but it’s the same thing, essentially. That kind of got me in the right mindset to do it. Now, when you mix the two, like this movie is, that’s where… This was my first movie, so this was a perfect gateway into acting. I was able to learn a lot and fall in love with acting on its own. I think you could take a bunch of stuff from either one. Even coming from acting to music, you could take a lot of the performance from acting into music, and they just work hand in hand.”
“I think that music has, without me knowing, prepped me for acting in a bunch of ways.” — Spencer Sutherland
Spencer released his latest single, “Paranoia,” at the end of July, but he assures me that is not where the new music ends: “The Afterlife of the Party Soundtrack will come out, and I wrote and sang four of the songs that’ll be on there. One of them is me and Victoria Justice.”
Following up the music from Afterlife of the Party, Sutherland says he has “some big collaborations coming up in the next couple months.” He was tight-lipped on who the collaborators were, but he still seems in shock that they’re coming: “…frankly, I can’t even believe they are real. I don’t know how this is happening. And also some big singles leading up to an album at some point.” He continued on teasing, “There will definitely be some new music out after this Afterlife EP. There will be some new music in the coming weeks.”
On what it was like working with Victoria Justice, he immediately said, “It was so awesome.” Like anyone else in theirs twenties or late teens, he grew up watching her on Victorious and Zoey 101. “I had been a fan of Victoria for a long time, as a kid, just watching her on Nickelodeon and everything.
More than just getting to work alongside her, the two of them have actually become really close friends from their work together. “I expected to become friendly, but we have just become, like, best friends. She’s one of my favorite people to hang out with here in LA. We go to jazz clubs. We have a little group that we always hang out in. So that’s been the coolest part, just becoming so close. She literally is like a sister now.” Spencer switched gears to talk about what it was like shooting his first scene with her: “She’s so calming as an actor. She’s been doing it since she was, like, twelve. Even my first scene, I was very nervous, and she said, ‘Hey, you’re gonna be great. Let’s just hang out and have fun.’ That’s exactly what we did.”
While Victoria Justice has taken a brief hiatus from her music career, she’s slowly dipping back into it. Sutherland talked about what it was like being a part of that: “She took some time off music, so it was really cool to bring her into my world and get to write something really great and record it. We had so many jam sessions in between vocal takes, so it was a really great time.”
Numbers don’t mean everything, but that doesn’t make it any less fun to talk about them. Right now, Spencer Sutherland has over 180,000 monthly Spotify listeners, which is a lot. It’s even more astonishing when you check the monthly Spotify listener total for different artists because that’s just for that one streaming app. That doesn’t even include Apple Music, TIDAL, and everything else. Sutherland speaks to that point saying the 180,000 monthly Spotify listeners figure “shows that people are listening to your catalog rather than just one song, so that makes me happy, for sure.”
The pandemic derailed plans anyone had for touring last year, it gave artists new opportunities to expand their creative repertoire. Sutherland seized the season and took up acting in the midst of his music-making:
“I think the only blessing of me not being able to tour was that would’ve really messed things up. I was busy enough without touring, but I just actually wasn’t able or allowed to tour. Everything kind of worked out really great. I filmed Afterlife of the Party at the end of last year, and then in January, I started filming I Know What You Did Last Summer, and I got to go back and forth to Hawaii like three times. I’m still working on music, and I was still able to, somehow, balance that. I think I was just lucky. Everything just lined up perfect, and I was never not busy. It was fantastic.”
“Everything just lined up perfect, and I was never not busy. It was fantastic.” — Spencer Sutherland
I’m a firm believer that you can learn a lot about a person based on what they’re listening to and watching, so I had to ask Spencer Sutherland what music and TV he’s been loving lately:
“The music that I’m super obsessed with, and I think everybody else is too… I’m a huge Bruno Mars fan, but I love, love, love Silk Sonic. I think it’s the coolest duo to ever exist, and what they’re doing is revolutionary. That’s what I’m listening to. As far as shows, of course, I love Outer Banks. Loved watching it. It would be a dream to be on that show someday. It would be really cool. I’ve just gotta grow out my hair a little bit more and put on a button-down shirt with only one button.”
“…I love, love, love Silk Sonic. I think it’s the coolest duo to ever exist, and what they’re doing is revolutionary.” — Spencer Sutherland
He continued talking about TV saying that he has been throwing things back a little bit and catching up on some sit-coms he never really watched when he was younger:
“I have been obsessed with watching old sit-coms lately. I don’t know why. I just finished Everybody Loves Raymond, and I just started 30 Rock. If you’ve never seen 30 Rock… fantastic show. I haven’t seen them since I was in junior high in the background on TV, so I’ve never really watched it.”
He told me that he has “really fallen in love with” acting, and he thinks “it’s such a fun process to create with other actors and other creatives.” In a few weeks, you can also see him starring in I Know What You Did Last Summer on Amazon Prime Video, so he has really hit the ground running with acting.
“I have really fallen in love with [acting]. It’s such a fun process to create with other actors and other creatives.” — Spencer Sutherland
Coming off a couple years without playing any shows, Spencer definitely has two big ones lined up for his comeback. Next up, he’s opening for the Jonas Brothers and Kelsea Ballerini, and later this month, he will play a sold out show at The Troubadour:
“To have your first show back in two years be opening for the Jonas Brothers…. A little anxiety there for sure. I’d like to come back with an acoustic gig at, like, a restaurant or something, but we’re jumping all the way in for what probably will be the biggest show I’ve ever played. […] The Troubadour… I mean, that’s, like, the most legendary venue ever. I’m just so lucky that people cared enough to buy that many tickets. I’m mind-blown.”
He says that he feels like has “really evolved as an artist over the last year and a half” in terms of his “style, fashion, music, vocals, writing,” and he’s excited to showcase that in all the avenues he has ahead.
Afterlife of the Party is now streaming on Netflix.