Blog | interview
- Posted on 01/23/2015 by TeenNickBlogger
If you haven't heard of Ella Henderson, chances are you've heard her hit song. "Ghost" — the one with the ear-wormy line, "I keep going to the river to pray..." — is a soulful, stomping pop tune that combines the driving power of Adele with the honeyed vocal tricks of Leona Lewis. The chart-topping single is basically a microscopic representation of Ella's immense talent, so you better believe there's more where that came from with this pop diva.
Ella's debut album Chapter One was released roughly two years after her time on X-Factor UK. It recently charted at #11 on the Billboard 200, proving her undeniable transformation from contestant to star-in-the-making. We sat down with our brand-new Fresh Artist to hear more about her life, her career so far and... oh, something about dolphin noises? Check it out below!
1. The lyrics in "Ghost" are pretty metaphorical. What does "ghost" in this song refer to?
When I wrote this song is was at a time when I'd spent almost 2 years writing the album but I still didn't feel like I'd found my first single. People were telling me that when you have your first single you know, you just have that gut feeling; and I was frustrated that I hadn't had that yet. Ghost is about that something or someone that is 'haunting' you; you can't eat, you can't sleep, it's tormenting your mind and you can't get rid of it. The thing I love about Ghost is that it means different things to different people, but regardless of what your personal 'Ghost' is, it's a feeling everyone can relate to in some way.
2. What is the best advice you've ever received or the single most important lesson you've learned about the music industry?
To be yourself, stay true to who you are and to work hard. And most importantly to enjoy it.
3. What was one of your most memorable moments as a contestant on X Factor?
My first arena audition. I was so nervous! I always said I was never going to cry on TV but getting a standing ovation from the judges and the audience was so overwhelming and unexpected. Having praise from the judges I think it was the first time I started to really believe in myself.
4. When you need a breather from your crazy life, what do you like to do to relax?
When I have a day off I love to spend it with my family and close friends and do 'normal' things like going to the cinema and walking my dog!
5. Do you have any pre-show rituals or interesting warm-ups you do before you perform?
I make a weird dolphin noise before I go on stage! I have a fear that my voice will give out when I open my mouth so by doing it offstage it means I don't wobble later.
6. What is one moment in your career so far that has made you wonder, "How did I get here?"
I remember shooting my first music video for Ghost and being out in New Orleans in this amazing location with a whole team of people around me, all there for my video. That was definitely a big pinch me moment! But I have pinch me moments almost daily! I feel so lucky to be doing the job I've always dreamt of. To be out in America performing and releasing my album over here is surreal!
If you want to catch more of Ella, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 01/09/2015 by TeenNickBlogger
You know those voices that come along every once in a while? Those totally arresting, chilling vocal pipes that can take any one song and transform it into something that, really, no one else could match? Well, if you can't remember the last time you were truly blown away by a top-notch singer, meet Jacquie Lee.
Our newest Fresh Artist made a name for herself on NBC's The Voice, but is poised to break out in her own right. Already a proven cover QUEEN (have you seen her cover of Sia's "Chandelier"? Or Rihanna's "Love the Way You Lie"?), Jacquie is now making a name for herself as a talented and focused singer-songwriter. Learn more about this powerhouse performer in our exclusive interview below!
1. What was some of the best advice that your coach Christina Aguilera gave you on The Voice?
Journal! It helps you stay grounded and remains constant in your life when everything is changing.
2. As one of the younger contestants on the show, you were known for your unique ability to emote and really express yourself with your voice. How do you connect with music you perform?
Well CeeLo says I swallowed an old lady but I don't think that's the case... Unless she snuck in there while I was sleeping. My connection with the music I sing comes from a place deep inside of me. It comes from my heart, my gut and my soul. I'm just lucky and look at it as a gift.
3. Your breakout song "Broken Ones" has such a relatable message. What was the inspiration behind it? Why did you choose that particular subject?
It's something that needed to be said! Everyone has their insecurities and demons they face on a daily basis and they shouldn't be scared or feel alone. Music is one way to never have to feel alone.
4. Having gotten your start singing covers, was it important for you to establish yourself as a writer and artist?
So glad this question was asked. It's so important for me to establish myself as Jacquie lee rather than "that chick from The Voice." I want people to see me as what I am, and everything that is happening post voice is truly a blessing. Getting signed to Atlantic records with supporters like Lyor Cohen and Julie Greenwald is truly unbelievable and makes me work even harder.
5. What is one of the most star-struck moments you've had since being on The Voice?
Since then, it was probably opening for Christina Perri at her Fresh In The Park concert. It was surreal, and meeting fans after the concert was fun.
6. What is one thing that your fans would be surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I am very athletic. I dislike working out so I get the majority of my exercise from playing flag football.
7. What's next for you and your career?
More music, fun, laughs and work. I will work until I get to where I want to be.
If you want to catch more of Jacquie Lee, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 12/12/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
Rapper Lecrae is an anomaly. The Texas native and our newest Fresh Artist has made his mark with a brand of inspirational rap that stands out not only for its refreshing message, but because it's just really, really good. Case in point: His Grammy-nominated album, aptly named Anomaly, became the first full-length to top both the Billboard 200 chart and Gospel Albums chart in the same week. *Drops mic*
Lecrae shared some of his thoughts on what music means to him, how he plays a unique role in the genre of hip-hop and his love for a certain TeenNick chairman ;). Check out our exclusive interview below!
1. How did you start rapping and writing music? Are there any musicians who have really inspired you?
I started at about 11 with my neighbors. I got really serious at 13. 2 Pac, Lauryn Hill and Outkast were some of my biggest influences.
2. What do you think is one of the most common misconceptions about the rap and hip hop genre?
That all the content is degrading and glorifies negativity.
3. What advice would you give to young people, musicians or not, about spreading positivity and making their voice heard?
I'd tell them to be confident in the truth. Integrity is what matters. Your consistency can change people's lives. Also realize that you'll face opposition for your position so stand firm on your convictions. Allow your character to keep you wherever your talent takes you.
4. You occupy a unique space in hip hop. Are there any challenges you've had to face establishing yourself in the community?
For me I focus on being who I was created to be. I don't worry too much about being accepted. I think when you live for people's acceptance you'll die from their rejection. I know people appreciate me and what I do so I focus on that.
5. What is one message you hope your fans will take away from listening to your music?
There are plenty of messages. One is that they would be who God created them to be not what this world demands them to be. Success is not about comparing yourself to others, it's about accomplishing the mission you were created to accomplish.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
And now, the rapid fire round! We asked LeCrae a series of silly questions, and here are the first things that came to mind!
If you want to catch more of LeCrae, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 11/21/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
"I got my heart stolen from a robber with some high heels on," croons Kalin White, one half of the Bay Area duo Kalin and Myles. If this chorus hasn't been stuck in your head for weeks, let us enlighten you: Kalin and Myles, comprised of White and his rapping partner-in-crime Myles Parrish, use their respective talents to create a of blend pop and hip-hop that's totally irresistible.
We caught up with our Fresh Artist to get all the deets on what it's like to make music together, their new EP "Chase Dreams" and, um, something about lucky underwear? Check out our exclusive interview below!
1. How did Kalin and Myles come to be? How did you two meet and start working together?
Myles was throwing a house party and one of our mutual friends brought Kalin over. This was in 2006 and neither of us at the time we're making music. It wasn't until a few years later in 2010 where we officially got into the studio a.k.a. Myles' room and made our first song called "More Than Friends"
2. Can you describe your new EP "Chase Dreams" in three words?
Fun! Positive! Hyphy!
3. What's one of the coolest things a member of the KAMFAM has done for you?
One cool thing a KAMFAM member has done recently for us is made a huge collage poster with pictures of a lot of the KAMFAM :)
4. What is the best part about making music and being on tour together?
Best part about making music and being on tour together is that you get to do it with your best friend rather than on your own. Helps with creativity too because you can bounce ideas off each other.
5. What is one thing you would want a brand new fan to know about you and/or your music?
If there is something that they are passionate about we would just encourage them to chase their dreams, anything is possible!
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
And now, the rapid fire round! We asked Kalin & Myles a series of silly questions, and here are the first things that came to mind!
If you want to catch more of Kalin & Myles, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 11/07/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
TeenNick Top 10 fans, you're just going to have to bear this double negative because there is quite literally nothing not to love about our Fresh Artist, Betty Who. Instantly recognizable with her platinum blonde coiff and easy-breezy pop songs ("Somebody Loves You" has been on repeat since Tuesday...), Betty Who is bliss in a bottle.
We caught up with the Australian songstress to chat about her debut album, her classical past and her budding career so far. Check out our exclusive interview below!
1. After releasing several EPs, how does it feel to have your debut full length album out?
It's honestly such a relief, it's been such a long time in the making, I'm just so ecstatic to finally have it be done!
2. You have a background as a classical cellist. That's so awesome! Has that training influenced your music in anyway?
Yes I think it definitely influenced me. I think I started writing music so early because of my classical training and background. It also influences my ideas of melody I think. Some of my favourite melodies I've ever heard come from my favourite symphonies.
3. What are you looking forward to most about going on tour with Katy Perry?
I honestly am just excited about watching her show and hanging out in Australia, it's been such a long time since I've been home so that's definitely a plus.
4. Where do you draw inspiration for your songwriting? Does inspiration come to you spontaneously?
It definitely comes from experiences. Sometimes maybe I'll have a conversation with somebody and I'll walk away thinking about what they said and I'll say to myself "I have to go write that down right now."
5. What is one accomplishment or milestone so far in your career that makes you particularly proud?
Being on The View was pretty cool... I think playing a sold out show at Irving plaza this month, though, is definitely something that is up there and will be forever.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
And now, the rapid fire round! We asked Betty Who a series of silly questions, and here are the first things that came to mind!
If you want to catch more of Betty Who, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 09/05/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
Credit: Andrew Zaeh
If you aren't already smitten by singer-songwriter Shawn Mendes, brace yourself. The Vine-star-turned-superstar-on-the-rise has stolen the hearts of many (in under six seconds, no less!) and is about to break out in a major way. We caught up with our brand new Fresh Artist to get exclusive details about his life on tour with Austin Mahone and The Vamps, his biggest influences, and so much more!
1. Congratulations on all of your recent success! What is a day in the life of Shawn Mendes like right now?
Wake up on a tour bus in a new city every day, find the nearest shower, head to radio station to say "Hello," grab some food, then meet some fans, then hit the stage. :-)
2. What was the inspiration behind your hit song "Life of the Party"?
The song is inspired by the feeling of not fitting in or not being comfortable with who you are. The lyrics basically say that you should be yourself and that you can be amazing regardless of whether you feel you fit in or not.
3. What's it like being on tour with TeenNick faves Austin Mahone and the Vamps? Has anything crazy or funny happened during your time together?
It's awesome and everyone is just so chill and relaxed and having a good time. We're always cracking jokes with each other behind stage. I'd say the craziest moment was getting chased by 400 fans at one of the first shows.
4. When you started recording covers on Vine and YouTube, did you ever think your music would spread as much as it has?
I really didn't think it would, I kind of just started doing it because I loved posting covers and then it just spiraled into this crazy thing as I kept posting. It's really beyond my expectations.
5. What do you think about the power of connecting with people in a six-second video?
It's so cool because in six seconds you have to really find something special in a song and impress people a lot to connect with them. I think that's been a big thing for me and my fans connecting.
6. Who are your biggest musical influences?
Definitely Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake, just how he holds himself and such, and Bruno Mars is such an unbelievable performer.
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
And now, the rapid fire round! We asked Shawn a series of silly questions, and here are the first things that came to mind!
If you want to catch more of Shawn, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 08/22/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
Credit: Jared Thomas Kocka
Colette Carr has a fuse, and it's about to go off. This sassy spitfire rapper is not afraid to use her voice to send a message, and that's exactly why she's our newest TeenNick Top 10 Fresh Artist. We caught up with the girl behind the hit song "HAM" to learn a little more about her background, her exciting career and how a certain Snow White costume used to be a staple of her wardrobe. (What?!) Check it out below!
1. As both a singer and a rapper, did you discover one talent before the other? Or have you always done both?
I discovered I could rap in high school when my ex-boyfriend decided he wanted to freestyle battle with kids after school. He was so ummmm...not great/terrible that I started ghost writing for him. I fell in love with free-styling and rap. I didn't know I could sing until I started working on my album "The Skitszo Collection". The first time I really sang was in the studio with FrankMusik recording songs like Killswitch, F16, Delusional, Hearsay & No ID.
2. What is one moment in your career so far that has made you wonder, "How did I get here?"
Anytime I'm on stage and the crowd gets their hands up without me even asking them to, or know the lyrics to my songs and sing/scream along it's like an out-of-body experience. I know exactly how I got here though, it's been a long, crazy, difficult journey. Definitely collaborating with guys like e40 and TechN9ne, legends I grew up listening to, bumping tracks in the studio with them, and having them feature on my songs because they love my sound, those moments are very surreal "how did I get here" moments.
3. You've cited Eminem as a musical influence. What do you admire most about him? Are there any other art forms that inspire you??
Eminem and Dr. Dre were the first hip hop artists I ever listened to, I was tiny and obsessed. I learned all the lyrics to the clean versions of their albums. The way Eminem tells his life stories and paints pictures with words that rhyme seamlessly, it's intimidatingly good, I can't get enough. I love all forms of art. On my days off I like to finger paint.
4. Many of your videos show off your fearless sense of personal style. How important is fashion when you're performing? Where do you get your style inspiration?
It's weird, I never think about "fashion" or clothes, or personal style. When I was in preschool I wore a Snow White costume with mix-matched Chuck Taylor's everyday, my mom was worried about me. I don't really think before I get dressed, I usually grab clothes in a hurry. I just throw on a Pikachu beanie, some sneakers and run out the door. When I write my video treatments I already know exactly what I want to look like to portray my lyrics or the overall mood of the song, so choosing the outfits is the easy part.
I hand made the cake dress for my "HAM" video, [and] I actually hand make and design a lot of the stuff I wear. Fashion is a form of expressing myself therefor it is important to me, although I wouldn't mind wearing a bath robe and pajamas everyday.
5. What are you looking forward to most in the next phase of your career? Is there any one thing you're determined to conquer?
I am MOST excited about continuing to tour and meet/hangout with fans/goers after my shows. I love being on stage and in the studio writing and creating. My favorite though, is making music videos! I can't wait to pick a single, record a music video for it and share it with the world. The next phase of my career will be epic. It will be better than chocolate Nutella on a warm piece of toast, mark my words. :)
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
And now, the rapid fire round! We asked Colette a series of silly questions, and here are the first things that came to mind!
If you want to catch more of Colette, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 08/08/2014 by TeenNickBlogger
It's official. We love Katy Tiz. She's a super talented songstress from the UK (currently holding it down in the U.S. of A), and if you haven't heard of her yet, listen up. Katy's hit single "The Big Bang" is a funky, sassy tune that's every bit '20s swing band as it is straight-up pop. Her voice is a perfect mix of Adele and Fergie, but at the same time something new and unforgettable. We caught up with our newest Fresh Artist to learn a little more about her background and career. Check it out below!
1. Congratulations on signing with Atlantic Records! After releasing music independently for some time, how does it feel to make it with such a big name label?
It's AMAZING!! I still wake up everyday and have a little scream... It can get a little awkward when I'm alone and walking down the street... ;)
2. You're originally from the UK but have recently been spending a lot of time around the US. What has been your favorite city to visit so far?
Wow! That's a hard one, I fell in love with Chicago, Seattle, San fransisco and many more! I'm so lucky to travel and get to visit all the places. I do love anywhere with high buildings. I'm all about a view.
3. What made you want to pursue music? Has singing always been your passion?
Music has always been a huge part of my life. It's helped me through some rough patches. I was a late bloomer at 18, but my dream is to help others the way music has helped me. This is what has made me chase my passion.
4. If you had the chance to do a musical collab with any artist, who would it be and why?
Hmmmmmmmm... Well I was lucky enough to go and see Justin Timberlake in concert this weekend [interview conducted in July] and he was incredible so I would have to say him! #fangirlmoment
RAPID FIRE QUESTIONS
And now, the rapid fire round! We asked Katy a series of silly questions, and here are the first things that came to mind!
If you want to catch more of Katy, head over to the TeenNick Top 10 page! And don't forget to tune in tonight at 10pm ET!
- Posted on 08/22/2013 by TeenNickBlogger
You might remember Fifth Harmony from their early days as individual contestants on the X Factor, but nowadays this girl group is taking the pop world by storm as TeenNick Top 10's Fresh Artist! Their equal parts high-octane and totally sweet girl-power sound have won over millions, and it's still only the beginning. We caught up with Normani, Ally, Lauren, Dinah, and Camila to talk about their forthcoming album, their loyal Harmonizers, and their surreal journey to stardom!Congratulations on being named TeenNick Top 10's Fresh Artist! What is going on in your busy lives this month?Normani: Thank you so much! I love me some TeenNick. This month has most definitely been our busiest thus far. We recently finished our first tour called "Harmonize America!" It was such a blast getting to meet the Harmonizers in person. We also attended the Teen Choice Awards & will be attending the VMAs. We're very excited to walk on the same carpet as our idols that we've looked up to since we were little girls.
Ally: Thank you! This month we are performing, attending the VMAs, and getting prepped for the Cher Lloyd tour!
Lauren: Well we're actually wrapping up our "Harmonize America" tour which was an incredible experience. We had so much traveling around the country together and meeting so many of our Harmonizers! We also have a lot of performances set up in the time between the end of this tour and the beginning of the "I Wish" tour with Cher Lloyd.
Camila: We just finished our "Harmonize America" tour which was incredible!!!! This week we'll be going to the VMAs so we're preparing ourselves for the cardiac arrest that'll come when we see all those people we look up to standing in front of us. Also we're about to start the "I Wish" tour with Cher Lloyd which is reeeeally exciting!At the beginning of the year, you were named the "Next Pop Superstar of 2013" by Popdust Magazine. How do you begin to process such a huge honor?Normani: It's such an honor to be named "Next Pop Superstar of 2013!" I've always voted for these kinds of things and bought magazines, but to actually be in it is amazing. I totally would not be able to say that a year ago. I love that our Harmonizers pushed and voted for us. Super dedicated!
Ally: It's disbelief honesty! We were up against some pretty talented acts, and for us to be named the Next "Pop Superstar of 2013" is pretty awesome!! We hope to take this year by storm :)
Lauren: It's not really something that ever sinks in but it is one of the coolest things that has happened to us considering that when we were named, we didn't have a single piece of original music out. It was amazing to see how much people believed in our project and how much our Harmonizers supported us even then.Camila: When you're honored with such a title as the next "Pop Superstar" by Popdust, it's one of those things where it sinks in a little that this is actually happening. As clich� as it sounds everything that's happening to us doesn't really seem like reality, it seems like we're all living in this dreamland where everything we never thought could happen, but wanted to happen, is happening. Getting such an honor was such a surreal thing, but it also makes it click for us that we have to work our butts off to make it happen.
Dinah: To be honest I never thought that any of this would or could ever happen to me, so it's hard to process a huge honor when it feels so surreal. Although I'm living my dream it still hasn't processed completely! It's an amazing feeling.Many of your YouTube covers have been praised by the original artists themselves, namely Ed Sheeran. What is it like having someone like Ed Sheeran applaud your work?Normani: It was absolutely amazing and felt unreal. We were actually in the recording studio when he tweeted us and we stopped, dropped & rolled haha. I replied and called him Mr. Ed Sheeran sir. It makes me happy to see humble people that are on his level of success. It really inspired us.
Ally: It's phenomenal. We look up to Ed so much. Personally, he has inspired me and blessed me with his music. I'm a huge fan. For him to compliment us is just insane and such a huge honor. We cried and screamed when we saw his tweet!!
Lauren: It's one of the best feelings in the world when someone you look up to so much applauds you for what you love to do. Ed Sheeran is one of my favorite artists so for him to compliment our arrangement and execution of his song Lego House was a surreal moment. I'll never forget.
Camila: I am not even joking when I say that (and all the girls can testify) I burst into tears when Ed saw our cover and said it was incredible. He is my favorite artist and for somebody that I look up to so much and is one of my biggest musical influences to say he liked the cover meant the world to the girls and me.
Dinah: I am speechless because to have people you look up to compliment us is the greatest feeling ever. I remember reading Ed Sheeran's tweet and immediately ran to Camila and Ally and screamed OMG HE TWEETED US!! He tweeted us! Even when I think back at that very moment the adrenaline and rush was so VELA! (Hot)Your debut single, "Miss Movin' On" is such a soulful, powerful girl-power pop anthem. What can your fans expect from your upcoming album?Normani: Our album comes out this fall and we can't wait until you guys are able to hear it. We worked super hard and we also co-wrote a lot of the songs and put in our input. The sound is fun, pop with hints of r&b vibes and a ton of vocals! We have a few girl anthem songs on the album as well #GirlPower.
Ally: They can expect a pop sound. Lots of fun and craziness, but also a range of vocals from all of us. We also co-wrote many of the songs, so our fans will have a piece of us.
Lauren: Well the album is a collection of fun, pop songs with soulful girl-power vocals on it haha. We also got the opportunity to co-write on a lot of the songs that make up our album, so that was a great learning and growing experience as artists.
Camila: We co-wrote a lot of the songs from the album which was an incredible experience for us. People will get a little piece of us when they listen, which is something we all admire in our favorite artists.
Dinah: I think the supporters should expect something fun, retro, relatable, girl power, energy and lots of LOVE.
What is the most surreal thing you have experienced as a group since the X Factor?Normani: Looking out into the audience and seeing how our music reflects on the people that support us to the fullest. Our fans go above and beyond for us. Also, getting to meet some of our idols. I nearly passed out when I saw Shay Mitchell haha.
Ally: The overwhelming amount of support from the Harmonizers. It's absolutely insane!!
Lauren: I think thus far, presenting at the Teen Choice Awards was one of the most surreal things. To have Demi introduce us on stage and then to present the Acuvue Inspire Award to Nick Jonas, who is a childhood icon of mine, was one of the craziest things that's ever happened to us.
Camila: It is a tad cruel for me to be able to narrow it down to one surreal moment. THIS WHOLE EXPERIENCE HAS BEEN ONE CONTINUOUS SURREAL MOMENT! Haha. I think the Teen Choice Awards was so surreal. Seeing literally everyone I'm obsessed with on the carpet and being a couple feet away from them and acting as if I weren't having heart palpitations was just insane.
Dinah: I think the most surreal thing is working with the best producers the best song writers and meeting all kinds of celebrities. And we are blessed with the BEST team of people it's definitely a blessing.You have an incredibly loyal fan base. What is the craziest thing you've seen, heard, or received from a Harmonizer?Normani: Well one time these girls ran like 5 minutes trying to keep up with our van haha and once I received a cut out picture of my face! Kinda scary�
Ally: Quite a few people have said that they have stopped self-harming because of us. It's astounding that we could have that kind of impact on people. That is why we do this, to help and inspire people. It's the best feeling in the world to know that we could help somebody like that.
Lauren: I don't think we've experienced anything too crazy, but one time a person ran after our bus for a good five blocks and like actually kept up with the car.
Camila: I think one of the craziest things I hear from harmonizers is when they tell us they've traveled thousands of miles just for a performance. We've met some people that have come from other countries just for us. It always shocks me.
Dinah: Well just recently a Harmonizer gave me a dinosaur suit! I thought that was so clever because my name is Dinah and they brought me a dinosaur suit lol.With all of the boy bands in the music scene right now, we're stoked you are making a name for girl groups out there! Which female artists have or continue to inspire you?Normani: It's such an amazing and beautiful opportunity to represent as inspire girls. We're all about girl power and strive to inspire and makes a difference. We're blessed to have this platform to allow us to do that YAAAY GIRL GROUPS. Beyonc�, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Jessie J, Rihanna, Janet Jackson, Brandy, Selena, Jennifer Lopez & Selena!
Ally: I love Selena Quintanilla, Beyonce, JLO and Adele!! They're all so talented in their own way and each has made a huge impact on the industry.
Lauren: I think one of my main inspirations artist-wise has been Lana Del Rey, because I love how original her sound is and I think her melodies are really cool. I also have developed this deep respect for an artist named Lorde because she's only 16 and writes all of her music and they're just so dope for lack of a better term. I think she's gonna take over the music scene soon. She's amazing.
Camila: Demi Lovato definitely inspires me in every sense of the word. I love how she's shared her story with the world to help other teen girls going through the same issues and how she gives people a piece of her through her music. In songs like, "For The Love of a Daughter" or "Warrior," she's completely honest with her fans. She's an incredible role model for girls and she's inspired me as a person and as an artist. She rocks.
Dinah: I am always inspired by Patty Labelle, One Direction, Cher Lloyd, Leona Lewis, Beyonce, Carrie Underwood and many more because they continue to reinvent themselves and I learn from them and hope one day to be like them one day...
- Posted on 05/17/2013 by Lisa
18-year-old singer/songwriter Olivia Somerlyn, the TeenNick Top 10 Fresh Artist of the Month, talks about her writing process in part two of our interview. (Read part one, in which she talks about opening up for Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice on tour this summer, here.)
What's your writing process like?
First of all, I could really write a song anywhere, because inspiration comes at the weirdest times. Somebody says a word, and I think "Oh, that'd be great in a song." I have to write it down. I have to always be ready for that. I've even written songs on a plane, with my headphones, my notebook, and the piano app on my phone, trying to play chords and not being able to do it. The flight attendants were cracking up at me -- that's not the ideal place to write a song.
Usually I get inspired right when I'm about to fall asleep, and I end up staying up way too late working on a song. Sometimes I think that's when the best inspiration comes, when you're winding down. You have time to think.
It's so funny. I'm in bed, the lights are off, and my eyes are closed. I think of either a concept or a melody, but I have to wake up really early the next day... so do I work on this, or do I fall asleep? Should I record it really quick? It's hard to decide sometimes.
Do you have a favorite place to write?
I used to live in the Bay Area, and I had a great view from my room. I had a little keyboard set up there, and I always used to love when it rained. I wrote one of my songs, "Only in the Movies," while looking at that view in the rain. I always go back to that place in my mind. I love writing songs in the rain, there's just something about it.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing their own songs?
I'd just say, get started as soon as you can. Just write, and don't worry about making it perfect right off the bat. I have notebooks full of songs that I wrote, I mean, complete songs -- they have lyrics, melody, everything -- that I never really recorded for real or released. But it was worth it, because I learned so much writing all those songs.
Also, one thing that really helps me as I write songs is to amplify the emotion that I'm feeling. I think in order for a song to really move people, for it to come across as poetry, as art, because that's really what songwriting is, there needs to be an amplification of reality, rather than just conversational words as lyrics.
What's the best advice anyone has ever given you about songwriting?
I love this question because it makes me think about all the amazing people that I've worked with, and all the writers that I've met. When I first started co-writing, I started typing my words on a laptop, rather than writing by hand in a notebook, like I used to, when I was writing by myself. Then I worked with this really great co-writer who told me that she always uses paper and a pen -- not even pencil -- so she wouldn't be able to delete or erase the lyrics that she didn't end up using. Then she could refer back and use those words to create other songs -- flip back and see if there are other lyrics that would work for it. That really changed the way I wrote, because I ended up looking back at my old notebooks and finding little pieces that I can use in other songs.
And this is less technical, but another piece of advice that somebody gave me that really stuck with me is "The more transparent you become, the more universal you become." It has really encouraged me to open up and be more vulnerable in my songwriting. I got that advice pretty recently, and I think it particularly shows in one of the songs on my new album.
Have you ever heard a song and thought "I wish I'd written that"? What song was it?
I think this all the time. My music taste is very eclectic. I listen to so many different artists. I'm always Shazamming songs on my iPhone when I go to stores and restaurants. I find a song and then I'm obsessed with it for a while. Right now it's "Just Give Me a Reason" by Pink and Nate Ruess. It reminds me of my music style -- it's piano based with a really cool beat behind it. I just wish I'd written it!
What else do you think you'll have on your summer 2013 playlist?
I've heard whispers that Katy Perry's new album is coming out this summer, and I don't know if that's true, but I really hope it is, because I'm really excited about it. Also, the new Big Time Rush album, which I'll get to hear all the time on tour this summer.
I've never been on a tour before, so in the days leading up to the tour, I can't sleep because I'm nervous, or I can't sleep because I'm excited. I really like getting lost in a book right before bed. I read as much as I possibly can right before I fall asleep, so the last thing in my mind is what's going on in the book, with the story and the characters. I think it's even better when it's something that's very different from my life, from a different time period especially, so I can just sort of be transported.
Since you love historical fiction, I have to ask: If you could go back in time and play a few songs for ANY historical figure, which one would you pick?
I love this question. I read a lot of historical novels, especially about European history. I took AP European History and I just loved it so much. I wrote a research paper about Marie Antoinette for that class, so I'd probably choose her. Everyone thinks she's so frivolous, but I think she's very misunderstood.
What's on your summer reading list?
I'm in the middle of reading The Great Gatsby, and I really like it so far. I don't know what I'm going to read next, so I'd love suggestions from people.
Thanks, Olivia. I hope you have a wonderful summer on tour!
Thank you so much!
If you see Olivia on the Summer Break Tour, say hi. She says, "It'll make my day." Catch her on TeenNick Top 10 all month long (Fridays at 10pm et, 7pm pt), and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. See her live on the Summer Break Tour, beginning June 21 in Los Angeles.