Interview by Keira Zhou
Photos by Jamary Bobe
How’s NYC so far? Have you gotten the chance to explore a bit?
I really love New York! The last time I was here it was winter time, so it was really cold. I’ve been here like four or five times, but this is the first time I’ve been here in the summer, and it’s the first time I’ve ever performed here as well, a lot of firsts! We did get the chance to wander around and explore the lower east side.
What makes your upcoming EP “Hummingbird Two” different that your debut EP “Hummingbird One”?
Yes! Hummingbird two is on the way, we finished all eight songs, the first four from the first EP, and then these four about the same time, all within a twenty four day run, but it was very clear that the first four songs definitely belonged together. It showcased what I was feeling in the moment and what I was feeling musically, but then the next four songs felt like a step in a new direction. It was introducing listeners to this story of Hummingbird in a flower that was Hummingbird One, and then Hummingbird Two is kind of that story continued, it will evolve. I mean, I thought I was done, and then I started writing more songs. I already have a name for the album, which will be out after the EP, but that’s little further down. With this new EP, I tried to balance it; I try to hit as many emotions as I can.
What’s your writing process like?
It’s different every time, I don’t create any criteria. Sometimes they start similar, but you can’t really depend on the same things. I don’t just work at just my studio or the label’s studio, it’s not like I have to write lyrics before melodies, it just all over the place. Like for “Heaven” I came up with the lyrics and the melody at the same time over this piano and everything just hit at one moment, which was rare but I was so ecstatic that that happened, because that never happens!
What’s your favorite song to perform live?
At the moment probably “Monster” which is a song that’s coming out. It’s got a lot of energy to it, but it changes though. It all depends on the night and the crowd, depends on the vibe of the room. I think all of that is very influential on the sound of the music and my ability to perform. It’s about setting the right energy, it changes quite a bit.
What artists can you relate to lyrically and/or instrumentally?
That’s tough, I have this thought that I don’t really get influenced by other music, I get inspired by other artists to kind of find what’s inside me that influences me to write. I feel like the influence that you get for a song should come from you, at least for me that’s how I feel. Whatever thoughts, desires, or whatever I have in me, I should let those emotions influence what I write, and not what’s popular. There are loads of artists who inspire me; there are people like Chris Martin (Lead singer of Coldplay). Matt Corby who is from Australia, who is a brilliant writer, and also Noah Gunderson who is from Seattle as well and is an amazing writer.
What’s your biggest aspiration as an artist?
So it’s shifted because I used to be very much, I took my career too seriously, everything had to be perfect. So I kind of switched, it’s like I know what my goals are, of course I would love to sell out Madison Square Garden four nights in a row, that’s an aspiration, I would love to do that and I know that it’s possible but the thing is, you have to set that aside, and my aspirations now are “How do I perform my best tonight?” and then tomorrow when I’m playing again, How am I going to be the absolute best that night. My aspirations are more of let’s get through this day, this performance, and let the years work themselves out sort of thing, and I feel like that’s the way to go. Otherwise you’ll drive yourself nuts.
If one of your songs could be featured in a film or TV show, which one would it be and why?
It’s funny because I’ve had some shows play some of my songs before, but I never think it’s the ones that I think should be played. So my writing naturally started to change where I just wasn’t writing sad songs. I feel like Hummingbird could be in like a Mid 80’s cheesy, high school romance thing. You know where these two people fall in love and there’s a disco or something like a prom and Hummingbird starts to play. That would be awesome.
Like the Notebook!
Yes! And just make it over the top cheesy, because that song is so over the top.
Should we expect a tour from you soon?
Yes absolutely! Were kind of sorting through our options right now! So it’s definitely going to be happening soon so stay tuned!
Hummingbird Two is out now!