Kiefer Sutherland has one of the most recognizable voices on television and film whether he’s playing agent Jack Bauer on “24” or the action hero Snake from the video game “Metal Gear Solid V.”
But on his debut album, “Down in a Hole,” which comes out Friday, Sutherland takes on a very different vocal role.
“It’s certainly not the thing I am most confident about, that is for sure,” Sutherland, 49, said during a recent interview outside of Nashville, Tennessee. “When we were recording the songs… I couldn’t help to notice that for whatever the shortcomings of my singing voice are, there were the positives of its uniqueness. And the limitations almost became a strength in a weird way.”
His father, actor Donald Sutherland, bought him a guitar when he was 13 and he’s been playing and writing music as a hobby ever since. He became so fascinated by the music business that in 2002, he launched a record label called Ironworks that released records from other musicians — including HoneyHoney and Rocco DeLuca— but he’d only go in the studio himself after everyone else had left.
“It was something that was very private and in fact, I had no intention of ever making an album,” Sutherland said.
He started recording songs intending to pitch them to other singers. When his musical partner and producer Jude Cole heard them, he tried to convince the actor to just cut a record himself.
“I am clearly aware of the stigma of an actor doing music and I said, ‘Not on your life,'” Sutherland said. “… And he took me to a bar and got me drunk and it started to sound like a better idea.”
Sutherland describes the music on his album as “Americana singer songwriter with a country kick.” He’s got so many songs in the can that he’s already working on a second album.
He was able to record the music in between his TV and film shooting schedule, including a new ABC series, “Designated Survivor,” which premieres on Sept. 21. Although Sutherland said he hasn’t really discussed the music with his famous father, Sutherland’s daughter, actress Sarah Sutherland (“Veep”) has become a fan.
“I really care about what she thinks, and I am glad that she likes the music,” Sutherland said. “I think she was quite nervous when she heard I was doing it and quite relieved when she heard the record and didn’t hate it. So that was kinda nice.”