Back on the night of Sept. 21, 2019, University of Georgia and University of Notre Dame fans crowded into Sanford Stadium to watch the Dawgs beat the Irish 23-17. While the win was enjoyable for many UGA fans, the experience lives on with them after witnessing the surreal emotions that came with the loud cheers and red LED lights debuted in the stadium for the first time.
For Spencer Cooper, a junior financial planning major from Alpharetta, the experience resonated with him so much that he wrote a song about it with Austin and Holton Huffaker, also known as the Huffaker Brothers. Their song “Lighting Up Sanford” released on Oct. 1, 2020 and reminisced on the game experience with lyrics like “Nothing compares to lighting up Sanford, cold breeze in the air, the color of red.”
The Red & Black spoke with Cooper about his song-writing experience and what inspired him to produce the song.
Red & Black: Why did you choose the Notre Dame vs. UGA game to write a song about the overall experience of Georgia football games?
Spencer Cooper: So, overall it was just a crazy atmosphere seeing how our fans interacted during that game, and just the fact that they did all those lights for the game, and it was one of the coolest atmospheres I've ever seen in any like any sporting event, really. It was just kind of like the end with COVID[-19] happening and everyone being sent home soon after that game, it kind of just seemed like a good thing to write about.
R&B: Who helped you contribute to the production of the song? What was that experience like?
SC: I worked a lot with the Huffaker Brothers, and they’re amazing producers. Austin [Huffaker] did a lot of the production along with helping me on it and Holton [Huffaker] did all the guitar work. And I wrote the song. I mean there's times just like a team effort. And I think it came out really well.
R&B: What was the overall songwriting experience like for you?
SC: It was really interesting to write about reflecting on the game so long after it happened. I wrote it right as COVID[-19] was starting and everyone was getting sent home. And it was kind of interesting to reflect on the experience, and honestly kind of emotional just thinking about having to leave Athens. I feel such an amazing like it was just such an amazing game and everything.
R&B: With lyrics like “why does it all have to end?” would you say you took a more somber take on this situation?
SC: At the point when I wrote it, it was definitely more about everyone leaving because of COVID[-19]. The whole lighting up Sanford aspect of the song came from the red LED lights that they put up and just like the crazy emotions and atmosphere in the stadium that game. It just kind of seemed like a good thing to relate to and something that all the students could kind of relate to because everyone was there, and it was a really, really great experience for everyone. But we kind of took the more somber approach to it because of the fact that it was more about everyone leaving Athens like “Why does it all have to end?” just kind of like “Why is happening now?” especially for like a lot of seniors, and a lot of incoming freshmen, who didn't really get to have a good football game experience, so it’s about ending and starting experiences.
R&B: Are you working on anything else currently? Anything UGA related?
SC: I’m currently working on an acoustic album. And the Huffaker Brothers are also working on their own album. This was my first UGA related song, but I’ve mentioned some Athens sites and other stuff that will be in the album.