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Interview with Hebe
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
As a young girl I remember sitting in the back seat of the car sharing a discman with my brother. I had three cd's (Nelly Furtado, Whitney Houston and John Mayer), I remember playing endlessly while looking out of the window and dreaming away. It were these small moments I realized I wanted to create my own music and be a singer.
Besides making music I also love spending time creating video’s, designing artwork that suites the music and acting. If music would not have been my path (which is hard to imagine I have to say), I guess I would have loved to direct videos, documentaries and theatre plays.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love my friends dearly and want to spend as much time as possible with them, drinking wine, dancing all night, singing karaoke and celebrating life. I find nature, going to the beach to swim, long walks and runs very nurturing and relaxing.
I’ve been spending more and more time on photography and editing my videos, which is so inspiring for making music as well and getting a better visual idea of my songs.
How long have you been making music?
At twelve I started writing my first (way too dramatic) songs and in the years that followed I started spending more and more time working on and improving my lyrics, sounds and techniques. My admission to the Conservatory of Amsterdam, meeting many musicians and artists in general made my desire to write and create music even bigger.
Where are you based and how did that influence your music?
I’m based in Amsterdam but have been spending a lot of time in London for my music as well. There are many great musicians in Amsterdam and it’s an exciting place to be. I feel free to be who I want to be here without judgement, so that definitely helped in creating my own sound.
Amsterdam and Rotterdam are very inspiring cities and there’s always a lot going on. I guess the music scene isn’t that big here, so you easily collaborate with other musicians and meet talented people, that cross your path and influence your music in some form.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
I just released my album with a release party at Bitterzoet in Amsterdam.
Almost all my friends, family and music colleagues were there, which made this concert special to begin with. I didn’t play for so many familiar faces in a long time, so I was pretty nervous.
I’ve had a rough year and the music on this album has been written during this year. I felt I could talk openly and share my experiences, without getting overly earnest or sounding too depressed. At the end of my new song ‘Drink on My Own’ the whole crowd was singing along; I’ll never forget that.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
I love Tivoli Vredenburg in Utrecht and I loved playing at Camden Assembly in London. I’m coming back soon to play more shows in UK I hope. I would be over the moon if I could play Paradiso in Amsterdam on my own record one day, and if I dream very big: a live show at Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury during sunset??!!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Bon Iver – definitely Bon Iver. After so many years he’s still so inspiring and a big influence on my music.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music?
Sing and play music to begin with and find like-minded people who you feel comfortable with. There will be a lot of exciting stuff and a lot of disappointment along the way when you are keen to make music your profession, so a balance of keeping your head cool and staying positive is really important. But..I believe perseverance gets rewarded.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Be happy with all those small steps, they’re easily overlooked in the chaos.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My newest song ‘Drink On My Own’ resonates a lot with me at the moment. It’s about my experience of how being afraid is accompanied by feelings of apparent shame and weakness. Rather than looking for cloudy metaphors I decided to describe quite literally how these negative feelings impact an average day in my life. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to release this song, cause I’m not proud of this side of myself. But sharing this vulnerability eventually with the world has given me so many lovely feedback, that it made me feel empowered and proud.
What is your creative process like, and what inspires you to write your music?
My mind has to be open for creativity, when I'm really busy, stressed out or in the middle of a release, I can't write for a certain period. That part of the brain sort of shuts down when there is too much going on, especially when there is a lot of practical stuff that I need to do.
However, when my mind is open and relaxed, creative juices come in all forms. On the bike, at night when it's dark, when I see a poster with a nice phrase on it, when I overhear a conversation and somebody describes something in a beautiful way, when I'm feeling sad. If I'm open for creating something there are a million forms for it to start.
I write most of my songs behind the piano. Sometimes I finish a song in an hour, sometimes it takes two years to finish a song.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Life is confusing and overwhelming, and dark sometimes. I know listening to music helped me put things in perspective. So, I really hope my music can bring some levity, beauty and a view on the delicate details that make life worthwhile.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I’ll be releasing part B of my album ‘Release Resolution’ from February on and I’ll be in London in February to promote my music and meet some musicians I haven’t seen in a long time!