Lee Coulter’s soulful acoustic performances and powerful songwriting have landed him opening for Tom Jones, Chuck Berry and Martin Sexton, on stage with Jason Mraz, and had Sirius XM’s Coffee House channel dub him “the discovery of the year.”
Originally from Brisbane, Australia and now based in San Diego, California, he uses the combined power of lyrics and music to promote the idea that human connection is what separates us from the rest of the matter in the universe. As it is summed up in one of his songs, “Stardust and forces of attraction, that’s all we are.” He is a classic songwriter in the modern age.
Self. It’s a prefix that usually sends musicians to the bottom of the pile. Self-produced, self-released, self-managed can all be ways of saying no one else cares. Lee Coulter became an exception to the rule in 2011 when his DIY debut album saw three singles reach rotation on Sirius XM’s The Coffee House (who also named him the Discovery of 2011) and major San Diego AAA station, KPRI FM. And more recently opening for musical greats Chuck Berry, Martin Sexton and Jack Tempchin as well as fellow up and comers such as Griffin House and Dawn Mitschele.
In Australia, Coulter started out producing and writing for other artists out of his bedroom, but after he moved from the beaches of Queensland to the coast of California, he tried getting in front of the mic himself and was hooked.
His audiences liked it too and they soon had him playing at top San Diego venues. After releasing his first album, he headed out on the road, touring the US for the next 9 months, playing for audiences from Hawaii to New York City. His song, “Booty Voodoo” became a hit on the Internet after being called “The Song of the Summer” by C.C. Chapman, host of the number 1 podcast on iTunes, Accident Hash. The tour inspired him to make his base in San Diego and build on his momentum. Unfortunately, things don’t always go according to plan and Coulter took a hit with the rest of the economy when live music became a luxury to most.
In February 2011, at the same time finances forced him, his wife and their toddler son out of their Encinitas apartment, Coulter’s socio-political single, “I Would Love”, went national on Sirius XM’s popular songwriter channel, The Coffee House. It was soon joined by “Photograph”, another track from the debut and they both remain on the airwaves today. And then, when KPRI called to tell him they’d added “Booty Voodoo” into rotation as well, he knew he had no choice but to head back into the studio and get back to work. The LP, “Mr Positivity” was released in 2012 followed by a national tour in 2013. For the past 2 years, he has been working on his third album set for release in summer 2015 featuring a duet with Dawn Mitschele and a special guest bass and backing vocal appearance from Butterfly Boucher.
Coulter began writing music when he was a teen helping his unemployed single mother raise his younger sisters. For him, it was a mechanism to help lift spirits, a vehicle to be used in the pursuit of happiness – an idea still obvious in his music today.
“The singer-songwriter Discovery of 2011!” – Sirius XM The Coffee House.
“That’s not my theme song, but it’s cool.” – Conan O’Brien.
“Lee Coulter can bring his music to life with a guitar and a microphone, with all the tasteful rhythm, vocal presence and controlled intelligence of the best of the singer songwriters on any stage. ” – RogueRadio.com.
“This is good time music that makes you dance and feeds your soul.” – Craig Yerkes for San Diego Troubadour Magazine.
“His music and lyrics reflect a positive outlook that is galaxies away from the metallic gloom of his plugged-in contemporaries. How refreshing.” – Honolulu Weekly
“Listening to Lee Coulter, I could hear elements of some of the rhythmic play of G. Love and lyrical fluidity of Jason Mraz and, of course, the smooth feel of Jack Johnson. His lyrics are smart and actually provoke laughter and paint images.” – R World Blog
“Booty Voodoo is the song of the summer,” C.C. Chapman, Accident Hash (#1 Podcast on Itunes).
IN LEE’S WORDS:
I’m a songwriter and producer that started to perform because I wanted to personally share the songs I was writing. I grew up in Australia to an Indonesian mother who played guitar and Australian dad who taught me the power of words. They both introduced me to a great range of music from The Beatles and Beach Boys to Michael Jackson, Ray Charles and Hank Williams to name a few. Thanks to a cassette my dad brought home of a live Concert in Central Park, my brother and I were singing Simon & Garfunkel two part harmonies before we were teens. Paul Simon remains one of the few people I know I would be an awkward fool in front of if I ever met him.
In high school I started to get into rock, grunge, r&b and hip hop all at the same time. Guns n Roses (I may have had black stonewashed skinny jeans), Nirvana, Boyz 2 Men, Tupac etc. When I was 15, I started messing on the computer with MIDI programming and basic audio recording/layering and then started to record for other artists. Babyface was my biggest influence at that point. Cut to present day and I’m basically doing the exact same thing with better equipment, a more extensive range of influences (my modern day favorites include Jack Johnson, Butterfly Boucher, Norah Jones), the knowledge of over a decade of trial and error, and the fact that I record myself too.
What I’m trying to do with music is a few things:
1. Make people feel good. I love when a song makes it feel like time slows down, even if it is sad, it makes me feel good. I’m on the eternal quest to write the song that touches that chord in everyone.
2. Breakdown a stereotype for young aspiring musicians. i.e. there is no direct link between trashing hotels and making good music.
3. The majority of my songs are love songs so you may assume I am simply trying to impress my wife (which is mostly correct) but there are a few songs where I share a few ideas I have on things like the environment, social behavior and peace. If I can inspire people to at least think or even talk about how to better aspects of each, I will feel too powerful and quit the music business but also be happy. I guess the love songs are also trying to encourage men and women to let your walls down and love with your whole heart. I think If you can tackle the world like that all your relationships, intimate or otherwise, will benefit.
I’m a husband and a father and being that reminds me to appreciate small things, care about the world around us and most of all, keep things fun.