Chris Wotherspoon’s interest in composing began when he first picked up his grandfather’s old electric keyboard. As he struck different notes, he didn’t just hear a sound, he heard the emotion that it conveyed. The more he learned, the less he wanted to play songs others wrote, teaching himself the instrument by writing his own tunes. It was raw talent, and it felt like fate for Wotherspoon to find his way into composing.
“Being a composer means getting to do my favorite thing all day and be valued for it. It means getting to be a part of really exciting, interesting projects and contributing to them in a significant way. After all, music and sound are very much a make-or-break aspect of media today and can make all the difference in the overall tone of a project. Being creative and developing a unique sonic experience for each project is so rewarding and every project presents a unique creative challenge. My favorite part of being a professional composer is when it all comes together in the end and you can appreciate the overall effect of your work,” he says.
Wotherspoon has a decorated resume and a formidable composing career internationally. He has worked on award-winning films, including the horror Sacren, but his most recent work has been in the world of podcasts, working with the mega sporting brand Uninterrupted, founded by Lebron James and Maverick Carter.
With the motto “More Than An Athlete”, Uninterrupted is built on athlete empowerment and believes in giving athletes a platform to tell their stories and share their unique experiences in their own words. The message is clear and it’s one that Wotherspoon strongly believes in. Therefore, when renowned podcast Producer Tunde St. Matthew-Daniel approached him about coming aboard the Uninterrupted Podcast team, there was no question in Wotherspoon’s mind.
“Working on podcasts is great because in essence, it has the same qualities as film or television- it’s storytelling. Because it’s a newer medium, it is constantly evolving and being part of that evolution is exciting for me. I am able to use my musical talent, dramatic intuition and knowledge of audio technology to help develop the sonic landscape of many of their podcasts. I wanted to work with Uninterrupted because the projects they produce are important and have helped change the landscape of digital media today,” he says.
Wotherspoon has thoroughly enjoyed his time with Uninterrupted, composing for some of their hit podcasts, including 17 Weeks, Thomahawk, R2C2 (now with The Ringer) and KCRW’s To The Point.
The latest season of 17 Weeks followed three NFL athletes, Eric Ebron, Emmanuel Sanders and Jamal Adams, alongside host Nate Burelson as they navigated a season as professional football players in the NFL. The podcast extends for the duration of the NFL regular season in partnership with Sirius XM and is distributed on most major podcast platforms. The second and most recent season was nominated for an Ambie Award and won the People’s Voice Webby Award for Best Sports Podcast of 2020.
Thomahawk is a series hosted by former NFL Players and Sports Media Personalities, Andrew Hawkins and Joe Thomas. Discussions about the NFL season are held with hosts and special guests. The podcast season consists of a total of 50 episodes per season, released twice weekly, occurring over the course of the NFL season.
R2C2 was hosted by Sports Media host and commentator, Ryan Ruocco along with former Yankees pitcher, CC Sabathia. They brought on baseball players from around the MLB and discussed what it was like playing professionally in the league or whatever might be on their mind.
To The Point, is hosted by Warren Olney and explores current events with each episode. It is available on all major podcast platforms and Wotherspoon’s work on the show won the LA Press Club Award for Best Hard News Featured in 2019.
“I believe I have good intuition for storytelling through audio. To be successful, it requires three main qualities: advanced knowledge of audio technology and conventions, dramatic intuition and musical intuition. I use these qualities to elevate every project that I work on. Every choice and decision makes a big difference in the podcasting space. A simple example is when writing a show’s main theme. It’s so important to create something that sets the tone for the show and captures the essence of the project. It’s the first thing people hear when they choose to listen to your show so it’s important that it’s high quality and tonally correct. Another example is with our show “17 Weeks”. I knew the second season of the show needed to be tonally different from its first season so I re-envisioned its musical direction. Instead of cold hip-hop, we decided to go with an upbeat, old-school sound. That completely changed the show’s atmosphere, and I am so proud of what we achieved,” Wotherspoon describes.
Uninterrupted is continuously breaking new ground in the podcast industry, and Wotherspoon loves being a part of that. The way they have transformed expectations for what sports podcasting is and what this category of podcasts sounds like, and getting to put his signature touch on that is a dream come true for this composer. He looks forward to continuing to express his creativity and develop stories with Uninterrupted.
“Knowing these projects have been such a success has been truly exhilarating. It inspires me to keep pushing boundaries and get creative. It’s important that we keep transforming what the podcast landscape looks like, especially in the category of Sports. Uninterrupted recently won Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company of 2020 and I feel that in the work that we do. I look forward to the projects we have ahead and know the work we do will continue to blaze the trail for sports podcasts. It’s a great feeling to know the work I’ve played a crucial role in creating has been celebrated in this way,” he concludes.