Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson is best known for his infectious style that blends indie pop with his upbeat personality and distinct wit.
After taking a brief break from touring near the end of 2016, Hutchinson is back at it. The 36-year-old songwriter is set to stop by Mall of America on April 15 to help Sue McLean and Associates announce the 2017 U.S. Bank FlexPerks Rewards Music in the Zoo lineup. Just like Mall of America, Music in the Zoo is celebrating its 25th birthday. And this year, they’ve recruited Hutchinson, a Music in the Zoo alum, to help kick off the party with an exclusive acoustic performance.
Before the big reveal on Saturday, we had a chance to talk to Hutchinson about his history with Music in the Zoo and look at what he would tell his younger self if he could.
Q: Music in the Zoo is entering its 25th season. What memories do you have from your previous performance at Music in the Zoo in 2013?
Playing the Zoo was a great day. I got a private tour of the zoo, fed some sea otters, hung with some penguins, oh and also did a sold out show! It’s such a classic venue: roomy, but intimate. My band is mainly from Minneapolis and everyone had a memory of seeing someone awesome perform at the zoo. So it felt cool to add my name to that long list.
Q: Your latest single, “Dear Me,” is an inspiring take on what you would tell your younger self. What fueled this introspective look for you?
I think I’ve always been introspective and reflective—probably too much so. I was really moved by the lyrics for “Dear Me” as I was writing them. I liked the idea of “what would I tell my younger self?” and I took the exercise really seriously. In the end I found it was about teaching compassion, forgiveness, and being kind. I’m very interested in personal growth and changing and giving myself the room to keep expanding and moving forward.
Q: Like Music in the Zoo, Mall of America is also celebrating its 25th birthday this year. What advice would you give your 25-year-old self if you could?
“Have fun and don’t feel like you have to be a full-on adult now!” When I was in my early 20s, I was very serious and put a lot of pressure on myself to be responsible and mature and not a kid anymore. In my opinion, that’s a time to enjoy life and figure out what inspires you and moves you before just jumping into something so you feel like an adult.