Sawyer headlines free concert

Sawyer Fredericks starts his first song as his band headlines the Sticker Mule free all-day music festival Saturday at the Wilbur H. Lynch Academy 4 Diamond Field in Amsterdam. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

AMSTERDAM — When 18-year-old singer-celebrity Sawyer Fredericks of Glen stepped on stage Saturday afternoon, it was as if the whole audience was on stage with him.

He was greeted by screams and cheers, and a bevy of girls immediately captured him on their cellphones. Many others sported pins with his face on them.

“I came for Sawyer,” said Debra Szwarnowicz of Perth at the free all-day music festival sponsored by Sticker Mule at 4 Diamond Field.

“It’s great that he’s doing something coming from such a small town.

“Not everybody gets that break.”

“I’m excited because it’s talent from close to home,” said Mike Ritchie of Amsterdam.

“I love Sawyer, and I’m glad to see someone from our area make it,” said Mary Taglialatela of Fonda.

Person after person said much the same thing as if he represents every one of them and his success is their success.

Kirsten Fredericks, his mother and manager, said, “I hope that he gives people encouragement” because every celebrity is local to somewhere.

Sawyer rose to fame after he won NBC-TV’s “The Voice” in the spring of 2015. By winning, he garnered a $100,000 prize, a recording contract with Republic Records and a Nissan vehicle. At the time, he also set a record for having 14 singles on iTunes Top 200 Singles Chart, and he sold almost 1 million copies of the songs he performed on “The Voice.”

Succeeding on “The Voice” wasn’t whiz-bang easy at all since contestants had to choose three of a list of well-known songs. “You probably got possibly an hour with the band” before having to perform, he said in an interview before the performance Saturday.

Sawyer said he overcame stage fright after he started at age 12 singing at open mic events and at farmers markets where he essentially provided background music.

He admits he was “an introvert.” “It was difficult for me to do meet-and-greets and interviews,” he said. While soft-spoken in person, he projects a much more forceful persona on stage.

During the three weeks he’s in the area, he’s busy performing and made a music video at the Glove Theater in downtown Gloversville. He figures he’s got just a week to relax with nothing to do.

Being on the road week after week, he said most missed his 88-acre beef farm in Glen. “It’s beautiful there,” he said.

“I love the animals. I enjoy the haying season.”

His mother said that despite his schedule of appearances, he is his own man, he “sets up his his own boundaries, and he doesn’t take on too much.”

She credits homeschooling with allowing him the freedom to follow his passion for music.

From 11 a.m. until the Sawyer Fredericks band came on about 5:15 p.m., Big Sky Country, Grand Central Station and Funk Evolution provided the music.

People were on blankets or lawn chairs listening throughout the day, though the crowd grew when Sawyer’s band was scheduled to start.

People enjoyed the food, the vendors and free amusement rides. “It’s a beautiful day,” said Michael Szwarnowicz of Perth. “We finally got our summer.”