GLOVERSVILLE — True to his word and true to his roots, Sawyer Fredericks held the world premiere of his music video “Gasoline” on Sunday at a red carpet event at the Glove Theatre.
The video for the song was shot at the Glove Theatre, and features images of Fredericks playing inside the 104-year-old venue, sometimes amid the ropes of the stage’s fly system, often with the building’s exposed brick in the background.
Fredericks, who began his public singing career at the age of 12 at the Mohawk Valley Cooperative Harvest a few doors down from the Glove, told the theater’s management at the time the video was shot that he would return and perform a fundraising concert to help with its ongoing restoration projects.
“I would always see this theater when I would do the open mics at the Mohawk Harvest, but I never came in here until we shot the video. When I first stepped inside this place, it just had this cool life in it. It’s just comforting,” he said.
Fredericks was a staple of many local events throughout his early teens, playing at the Gloversville Farmers Market and many small gigs before gaining national recognition as the youngest ever winner of NBC’s “The Voice,” which he won in 2015 at age 16. As the winner of the contest, he was awarded a recording contract with Republic Records and produced the album “A Good Storm.” After that, Fredericks parted ways with Republic Records and became an independent artist, producing his second album, “Hide Your Ghost,” which was released in March.
Fredericks said his songwriting skills have evolved as he has matured.
“My songwriting process is kind of like when I put myself into my music and I try to find the emotions that this person would feel in this scenario. Most of these things, in my songs, are experiences I haven’t had, they’re just imagination,” he said. “I think, as I’m growing up and living through all of this stuff, I’m starting to actually write things that are actual experiences.”
Kim Hart, from Peck’s Lake, came to the event looking for a special experience for herself and her family. She dressed in a 1920s flapper costume to go along with the red carpet theme, brought along her grand nieces Kiera, 9, and Kamryn, 6, who each wore green dresses with long pearl necklaces and long feather boas. Hart said she’s a member of the Caroga Arts Collective, which is sponsoring the Sherman’s Revival Series of concerts that will start on Friday at Sherman’s Amusement Park.
“We came out because we want to support everything that Sawyer is trying to do here, and embrace the Glove Theatre,” she said. “We just love his music, and this is what he wanted. It’s fun.”
The video premiere brought out a big crowd for the little theater, with a sold-out VIP section of 100 people each paying $30 per ticket and over 150 attended in the general admission section for $12 each.
Kristen Fredericks, Sawyer’s mother, said it’s important to her son to support local businesses. She said originally during the filming of “The Voice” season that Sawyer won, he had wanted to do the show’s homecoming concert at the Glove, but the producers of the show wanted a bigger venue, so they chose the Palace Theatre in Albany.
“This is kind of something we’ve been trying to do for a long time, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. We love the history of the building, and it’s also very important to us that areas like this Main Street get renovated and restored,” she said.
Gianna DeLilli, manager of the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, said she kept her store open late Sunday night to accommodate the foot traffic from the premiere. She said Fredericks’ career origin at the Mohawk Harvest’s open mic has lent some mystique to the monthly event, which is held on the second Saturday of every month at 6 p.m.
“I remember my whole family went and they were like ‘Wow, this kid’s got some talent, he’s really good.’ I wish I had been there. My mom was there,” she said.
Glove Theatre Executive Director Richard Samrov said he has no shortage of things he’d like to renovate and restore inside the theater, including its walls, its balcony and its 1938 vintage men’s bathroom. He said the money from Fredericks’ concert will help the Glove’s board of directors determine which projects to tackle first.
One element the venue doesn’t need to change is the way it contains sound. Fredericks, known for soulful voice, belted out renditions of his songs, including “Take it All” and a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Have You Ever Seen the Rain.”
Samrov said all of the walls, except two, contain “sound blocks” put in during the 1930s to capture the sound from movies.
“That’s why the acoustics are so good. He doesn’t need a microphone, not really, because he’s loud and because of the acoustics, it just makes it even better,” he said.
Fredericks is going on tour, with a few New York events planned before heading to Louisville, Kentucky, on June 20. Other stops early in the tour are Atlanta and Nashville.