We caught up with Hollie Stephenson after her gig for the Coffee House Sessions Tour!
The Coffee House Sessions are a series of live acoustic and semi-acoustic performances from some of the UK’s hottest singer song-writers and acoustic musicians.
Join us every Wednesday in the Terrace bar to see newly signed artists perform live for free!
Last year we were joined by the likes of Seafret and Hudson Taylor to name a few…
How has the tour been so far?
Unpredictable. It’s been a journey, it’s been interesting. I think it’s been quite a big learning curve for me. I’ve really enjoyed it though!
Have you changed your setlist up because of the different setting to usual?
It depends. I think you have to adjust slightly to the setting you’re in so I will probably swap a song for another song if I’ve turned up for an event and realise that my slower songs aren’t going to be suitable, or vice versa. I think you have to be sensitive to the situation.
I saw you’ve been at Reeperbahn Festival, how was that?
I really enjoyed that, that was really cool. I was kind of scared as I knew that the room was full of people staring and listening to the music, but I really enjoyed it.
What made you decide to make music in the first place?
It’s just something that I’ve done. It’s just something that’s always been an actual thing for me. I thought everybody did it! I was surprised when not everybody was singing or playing an instrument. When I realised that it wasn’t the done thing in the way that I thought it was surprised me. I guess it’s probably in the DNA!
Did you consciously decide on the kind of sound that you perform or has that always been the way it is?
The music that I like is kind of along the tracks of Motown, reggae, blues, soul, jazz… that type of thing. I guess it just reflects what I listen to.
Do you take a lot of inspiration from that?
Probably! Not consciously, I don’t do it deliberately ever. You’re influenced by everything so I guess it’s like if a writer reads a lot of books by the same author. For me, I like to listen to music that I identify with myself. I don’t really know how it works, I just sound the way I do and I can’t help it.
You said in the set that one of your songs was written about your friend, do you a write a lot from personal experience?
I only write songs because I feel like I need to. Everybody has certain compulsions, like something that they have to do. You know when you’ve got an itch and you can’t just leave it, you have to itch it, for me that’s kind of like writing a song. But you’re not going to itch if you’re not itchy! Do you know what I mean?
Yeah that actually makes sense!
I have to write songs but I can’t force it either. Writing a song is an itch!
So what’s your favourite part of doing music?
I really like playing live to people that appreciate it. That’s the best feeling in the world for me, when I’ve worked really hard and it gets a good response.
What is the next step? Have you got any more gigs planned?
I’ve got some gigs coming up, I haven’t got dates off the top of my head but I do know I’ve got some later on this month. Everything’s a bit spontaneous I guess, that’s just the way I’m learning this industry works, it’s mad. And my album’s coming out next year.
Have you got anything else coming up?
Maybe I’ll write a few more songs before the album comes out to put on but I don’t know. I haven’t got an itch yet!
Have you sorted things like the album artwork yet or is that all still to come?
That’s done! I’m pretty sure it’s done, I just decided that it’s going to be called ‘Stone Tears’ after the first song that I wrote that was a proper song. It’s not on the album but that’s what I decided to call it, and I need to re-design the artwork and stick that on because I didn’t have a name for it for ages.
As it’s your first album and you’ve named it after your first song, is it representative of your whole musical journey so far? Is there a bit of everything in there or is it a newer project?
I guess! It’s expressing me so I guess it’s expressing my journey through life. Up to 17 years old! I’ve really enjoyed the whole process of making it. It’s just me, my diary.