On the radar: Quinn Sullivan

When he was just three years old, Quinn Sullivan was obsessed with The Beatles and picked up the guitar.

“I think it was just the sound,” says Quinn, now 17. “I didn’t know what they were talking about but I had a photographic memory when it came to that music. I could sing the songs and play them back on guitar. That was my love.”

People will say, ‘This kid will only do so much’, but it’s always the people that were told that stuff that made it

Even considering this early talent, Sullivan’s trajectory was somewhat insane. Three years on he was melting faces with an appearance on Ellen, who gave him a Gibson ES-335. Then at eight he met his hero Buddy Guy, who signed his Strat, summoned him onstage to jam and who, ever since, has been Quinn’s mentor and greatest champion.

“It was the biggest moment of my life because that really started a journey that I’ve been on for 10 years with him,” says Quinn.

“I’ve gotten to spend so much time with him and you learn something new every night. What I’ve taken from him is just not to hold back. He says, ‘Play loud. Don’t be afraid to open up.’”

The mighty Quinn

Quinn’s debut album came in 2011, but it’s his recent third record Midnight Highway that he feels is his boldest step: moving away from pure blues and incorporating pop, rock and a cover of While My Guitar Gently Weeps.

“Most people portray me as just a blues guy - and that will always be my home - but I couldn’t hold back on this album,” reflects Quinn.

“I’m really not sure how people will respond. People will say, ‘This kid will only do so much’, but it’s always the people that were told that stuff that made it. I’ll keep at it, but the cool thing is that I’ve got years to learn and develop and create more music. Time isn’t really an issue right now!”

(Image: © Chuck Lanza)
  • For fans of: Jared James Nicholls, Aaron Keylock
  • Gear: Fender American Standard Strat, Fender 60th Anniversary 1954 Strat, Deluxe Reverb, Ibanez Tube Screamer, Vox wah
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