We Chat to Hollie Stephenson

We introduced you to Hollie Stephenson back in April. Although only 17, Hollie has a passion for music unlike anyone else her age. Obsessed with jazz, blues and soul since the age of three, it was clear a career in music was the only way for her. Her staggeringly beautiful singing skills caused Dave Stewart (The Eurythmics) to proclaim:

“I think she’s the real deal. There are certain things that are like a lightning bolt. She’s got it. I just know having worked with lots of special voices that she has got her own special voice.”

Now we’ve had the chance to sit down and have a chat. Here’s our interview.

EP: You’ve got a lot of drive and ambition for someone so young! To what do you attribute that?

HS: My mum is a very strong woman with a lot more balls than any man. I’ve definitely inherited her drive and ambition.

EP: Tell us about Dave Stewart! How did all that come about? What’s he like?

HS: Dave is a really lovely guy, down to earth morally, but far too creative to be down to earth 100% – he’s such an inspiration with his mind working one million miles an hour, he gets a years worth of ideas in a day. He’s amazing to work with and has really nurtured me. Amongst the cluster of ideas, he came across me on Twitter.’

EP: Talk us through Pointless Rebellion. What’s it all about?

HS: I wrote the song Pointless Rebellion about my friend who, when I met her, I looked to emulate. But she had her own personal troubles that she was too proud to talk about and look for help with, she gravitated to drugs and alcohol and used that as her escape. It was really sad to watch, it was pointless; her rebellion wasn’t the answer to her problems.

EP: What advice do you have for anyone just starting out in the music industry?

HS: My advice would be to pick up an instrument that you want to learn and try and write your own stuff – be in control.

EP: What’s been the best thing you’ve done so far, music wise? Life wise?

HS: I had the opportunity to go to Jamaica last year in April for a documentary which is all about reggae and recovering the tracks from Studio 17 that were devastated in the hurricane that toured through Kingston. I was 16 at the time, and they had a track from Dennis Brown when he was 16 that he hadn’t finished and the director of the documentary invited me over to complete it. Anyone who knows me knows I’m obsessed with Jamaica and absolutely love reggae, so this has made my life really – everything else is now a bonus!

EP: Top three tracks you’re listening to right now.

HS: I love the song Someone New by Hozier, I had that on repeat for 3 days straight – that’s no exaggeration.

Ella Fitzgerald’s beautiful Someone to Watch Over Me

The Pioneers version of Papa Was a Rolling Stone

EP: Who’d be your dream collaboration, if any, and why?

HS: Paolo Nutini hands down. I love his music and voice – and he’s alive!!!

EP: Where will you be in 5 years?

HS: I have no idea where I’m going to be next week let alone in five years time. Hopefully on a stage singing somewhere in the world. If not that then in Jamaica. Maybe I’ll go and hide in the Blue Mountains.

EP: Give us something surprising about you that not many people know! 

HS: When I was younger I was fascinated by the heart and was set on becoming a cardiologist.

EP: What question do you wish people would ask you, but nobody ever does? 

HS: Would you like a house in Primrose Hill?

Hollie’s self titled album is out on 28 August. Pointless Rebellion is out now.

About the author

Lisa has been writing for over 20 years, starting as the entertainment editor on her university newspaper. Since then she's written for Popwrapped, Maximum Pop, Celebmix, and ListenOnRepeat.

Lisa loves all good music, with particular fondness for Jedward and David Bowie. She's interviewed Edward Grimes (Jedward), Kevin Godley, Trevor Horn, Paul Young, Peter Cox (Go West), Brendan B Brown (Wheatus), Bruce Foxton (The Jam), among many many more. Lisa is also available for freelance writing - please email lisa@essentiallypop.com

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