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Michelle Hines

Michelle Hines
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Interview With Michelle Hines By Chris 18/5/09

Michelle Hines is an jazz singer songwriter who I saw play with an artist I was working with at the time.

I like what I heard and an interview was a must

So read on.

Michelle MySpace

1. Are you happy how the album turned out?

Yeah, I am. It was the first time the songs had been played with other instrumentation, so it was great to hear the tunes fleshed out. I think there is a lot of variety on the album which is good for the listener. This is probably due to the fact that the songs are a culmination of my writing over the past 10 years and there has been some change and development over that time in my style. There were different musos playing on the tracks too, which also contributed to the album’s varied sound.

2. What was the inspiration for the album?

I’d been writing songs for approx 10 years and hadn’t got anything down (in a formal way). I wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it. It’s hard to know where to start when it’s just you and the guitar. So I guess the impetus was to create a cache of work encompassing the first 10 years of ‘Michelle’, to be heard and finally put out there. I was also going through a break up too, which sounds a bit cliche but it’s true. There were some people close to me who didn’t entirely believe I had what it took to get my music off the ground (what ever that means!). So in part, I was really inspired to produce something I was really happy with and “get it off the ground”!! It was more to prove it to myself than to anyone else.

3. what inspires you when writing music?

Human interelations/interactions/misunderstandings.
I generally have to be in a good mood to be inspired creatively. I don’t understand how some people can be at their most creative when they feel shithouse. If I’m feeling low, I have to wait until “after the fact” before I can use those feelings for any creative benefit. Sometimes my songs are responses to people or situations that I can’t( or choose not to ) respond to at the time (sounds passive aggressive!… it probably is) It’s good to have the outlet of song to express all those socially inappropriate things you don’t say in life.
A good chord progression with a funky groove always inspires me!

4. has the internet help with getting your music out there?

Yeah, for sure. Actually that’s how the album got produced. The producer caught wind of a few of my home recorded demos on myspace and contacted me. You meet a lot of people over the internet and discuss music/gig related stuff. It’s a bit odd having continued dialogue with people and not meet them in the flesh. I think you need to spend a long time on the internet to really use it for the networking tool that it is. Facebook, triple J unearthed, myspace etc. I can’t keep up with it all.

5. What do you think of major record labels and the new 360 deals?

To be honest I don’t know a lot about them. With my music, I have taken one step at a time and have focussed on what is needed for that step. Otherwise it gets too overwhelming. Sure I would love some recogntion for my music in the form of a record deal, but I haven’t fully investigated what that would actually mean for me and the music.

6. How did the recording of the album go?

It was originally meant to be only an EP. But I wanted to re-record a few tracks and thought I might as well get some others down too. Hence, it was spread out over several months and had different musicians playing on it.

It was a new experience for me. Prior to this I had only played solo, so communicating what I wanted with the songs was a challenge. The songs had been screaming for a band for quite some time, so they were happy!

I found I really had to go with my instincts as to what I thought worked or not. At times my ideas were in conflict with others who had much more recording and music experience than I, and I felt myself being “swayed”. Of course I am open to other people’s ideas, especially if they are experienced, but sometimes it wasn’t right for me to do so, and it was good for me to recognise this.

7. what is next for yourself?

More gigs
I’m working on some “budget” film clip ideas for one of the tracks on the album. Does anyone have any spare puppets?
Some more recording at a friend’s recording studio.
I’ve recently invested in a lightweight amp and are going to take the tunes to the streets!
I would like a manager.

8. have you had much interest from labels and industry people about your music?

Most industry people I’ve sent the album to have responded favourably. I have also had a good wrap for my live performances. But for things to take off you need more than just a favourable response. Labels as yet, no.

9. What do you hope the album will do for your music career?

Help increase my profile mainly, so the music can progress and help pay for itself. Getting a solid hearty audience to every gig is a challenge for most musos I know. Most venues don’t really care what the quality of the music is like as long as you get the drinkers in. There seems to be an inverse correlation with the degree people like my music and the amount they drink! At least they’re sober and still dig it!

10. What has been the response like to the music you make?

Groovy, funky, sexy, soulful. Most people seem to dig it which is great. That’s what’s kept me going I suppose. “Real” artists shouldn’t rely on external feedback to keep it going, but I probably would have hung the guitar and my vocal chords up ages ago if I didn’t have the response I’ve had.

11. Who have you enjoyed playing with the most?

Until last year most of my gigs have been solo. I prefer the band, it’s much groovier. Any one who has a good groove and who I feel comfortable expressing myself with.

12. How did you get into music?

I only got into playing music approx 10 years ago. It was a nice surprise. I sometimes wonder what I was doing with my time before I started writing and singing. I grew up with my dad being in a trad jazz band called “The Hot B Hines”. He would often sit on the end of my bed and lull me to sleep with a trad jazz number on the banjo. No wonder I’ve developed sleeping issues! So even though I didn’t think I was interested in playing music as a child, something insidious was happening.

I started playing around with the guitar when I was traveling and for the want of a more original expression “one thing led to another” I wouldn’t have thought ten years ago that I would have done an album.

13. What don’t you like about the music industry?

That there are so many really talented people who work hard but still need a healthcare card.

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