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Learning the Ropes

teen musician Spencer Douglas releases first EP

Parker Reed

BUSKING FOR A CHAIR? Memorial High School student Spencer Rhoten recently released a pop/acoustic EP, Princess Charming, under the stage name Spencer Douglas. He’s also a member of the Kids From Wisconsin.
BUSKING FOR A CHAIR? Memorial High School student Spencer Rhoten recently released a pop/acoustic EP, Princess Charming, under the stage name Spencer Douglas. He’s also a member of the Kids From Wisconsin.

A local musician is making waves in the Eau Claire music scene, and he hasn’t even had his 18th birthday yet.

17-year-old Eau Claire Memorial High School student, Spencer Rhoten is a guitarist/singer-songwriter who is making a name for himself both in Eau Claire and online. Rhoten released his debut EP of original pop/acoustic music, Princess Charming, under his stage name – Spencer Douglas – in late 2019 and quickly found success. Following the release of the record his Spotify account topped 10,000 monthly listeners and more than 35,000 total plays for the songs on his five-song EP.

The lead single and title track for the EP, “Princess Charming,” has garnered the most attention so far for its unique blend of genres, and Rhoten said he knew it should be the focus of the record due to the reaction it had from listeners.

“When I wrote the song ‘Princess Charming,’ and I played it for people, it seemed to get the best response from everyone,” Rhoten said. “I hate to say that it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve written, because it’s like picking your favorite child, but it really is. It’s really different from the rest of the album, so it stands out and deserved to be the title track of the EP.”

Rhoten’s original music career started in eighth grade when he performed a piece he wrote at South Middle School’s variety show. Many audience members suggested he pursue a career in music based on his mesmerizing performance. From there he began to hone his craft on his own, and through his involvement with the touring group Kids From Wisconsin he has performed countless shows with an abundance of talented musicians.

The process of recording Princess Charming began a number of years ago when Rhoten entered former Eau Claire recording studio Toy Car Studios. It was not a streamlined or easy task, Rhoten said.

“I was incredibly naïve,” Rhoten said. “I thought I was going to go in one day, record all of my music and have an EP as I walked out. I could not have been more wrong. It ended up being two or three years before everything was actually ready, because I needed to learn how to play to a metronome and write other parts to my music besides just guitar and vocals. It took a lot more time than I expected.”

Beyond the music and the business that accompanies it, Rhoten said the love of music and the bond he shares with his guitar is what keeps him coming back to the craft every day.

“I feel this is something I have to do,” Rhoten said. “That is probably the most cliché thing I could say, but I feel as if I’m almost not OK if I don’t write music. Every day I pick up my guitar and just play something, it doesn’t even have to be good. It’s become a daily routine I have to do.”

Now that Rhoten has eyes on him and ears on his music, he said the next step is to continuing writing and recording, playing shows, and challenging himself as a musician while still taking the time to have fun with it.

Learn more online at spencerdouglasmusic.com.