Wednesday, April 14, 2021

DJ Interviews: Selina Hawkins

 Hey there guys DJ Dizzy here & & here's my interview with Singer Selina Hawker Enjoy!

How'd you get started in music?

When I was 10 I’d never done anything much, hadn’t been in any school shows then suddenly decided I wanted the part of Nancy in the school production of Oliver. It was a very musical school and I remember my mum saying ‘Come on Selina, just go for a small part, I don’t want you disappointed!’ She had a point, but no, I was determined. Two sweet old ladies in the audience noticed my singing potential (yes, I did get the part!) and recommended that I joined an operatic group called ‘The Ivor Evans Opera Company’.  They actually performed full-on Grand Opera!  It was amazing being on stage with an operatic chorus but I quickly wanted to be the soloist.  I studied classical singing, then Opera singing when I was old enough, went to the Junior Royal Academy in London, did a classical music degree and then a postgrad diploma.  I really enjoyed perfecting my sound and have had some success in semi-professional opera singing as you’ll see if you do a quick google search on my name.


But after a while I started wanting to write music, and instinctively I write in a pop/RnB style much like the music that I grew up listening to.  So I retrained myself and did a vocal course at the London School of Contemporary Performance.  I’ve just finished my first year on a professional songwriting course at The Songwriting Academy - based in London, but full of international mentors and writers. I love writing and performing my own music, it feels very much like I’ve finally found my niche and although it’s been a bit of a curved route here, I do feel like my classical training was useful in understanding music and the process of diaphragm-supported singing.


Who are your inspirations or influences?

I listen to so many genres, and I think everything I listen to is absorbed into the writing of my own songs, so you’ll hear a big genre crossover.  Dua Lipa and other pop princesses are massive influences for me, I love Destiny’s child and other 90s/00s RnB, Ella Fitzgerald, Norah Jones and more jazzy pop, and there’s even a bit of country pop that shows itself in some of my songs like ‘A little bit perfect’ and ‘Counting the Stars’.


What advice would offer aspiring performers?

There are so many scams out there, so always take advice from other Indie artists before you take on any promotions or sign any contracts.  There is a vibrant, supportive band of Indie writers on twitter particularly, but also Insta, who are great for advice and that’s how you’ll get onto your first small playlists.  I go to my publisher every time something new comes up and invariably the answer is no, don’t do it!


When you’re first starting out, take short videos of yourself singing and use hashtags to build your loyal following.  Start while you’re young because it takes a long time to build things up and get noticed and there’s a lot of funding out there for young performers. Just make sure you include a parent or someone older you trust in all your bookings and promo, so there’s always someone to get your back – I’ve needed people to step in a few times where creepy internet stalkers have started going too far!


How do you set yourselves apart from other bands or singers?


I’m unusual in a few respects – that I can write catchy melodies, good lyrics, understand chords and theory of music and also can record my own top level vocals. It’s more usual to just have one strong point, and then collaborate with number of other people to create songs.  I tend to just collaborate with a producer as that’s the weakest part of my writing.  But I know there’s loads of singers out there who find it hard to write original material, so I feel lucky that I enjoy that side of it.


My next step is to work on my vocal production skills as I’ve started writing top-lines for EDM tracks recently and it would be great to understand how to manipulate the vocal recording to make it sound really professional without the need of a producer. 


Any new gigs or albums in the future?

We’re still in lockdown in the U.K. so the first gig I’ve booked is for the end of August in Lowestoft. I’ve decided not to book much until lockdown is lifted and we’re 100% sure we’re not going back - But I have so many songs written and recorded during this period that I’m going to be super-busy getting them all released and promoted.  I can’t wait to share my new material with you all. I’ve gone in a more dance direction, alongside the pop, so I hope to release these in time for Ibiza and the holiday season.  Fingers crossed that we get to go away this year!

Special thanks to her for doing this interview & I wish her luck in her music. So until then I'll catch you on The Flipside! stay awesome & rock n roll!

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