The other day I was checking out some of the artists that have followed me lately on Twitter. Like I said in a previous post it’s really cool now because all of a sudden I have good music coming to me rather than me looking for it, which frankly makes life a whole lot easier (and cheaper). In amongst a group of pretty decent bands and some not so decent bands was a singer songwriter called Hillary Howard. Hailing from Minneapolis and at just 19 years of age Hillary is amongst a wealth of young, female artists trying to break onto the current music scene, some lately with great success. Truth be told, with the exception of Chelsea Wolfe, who I was lucky enough to see supporting Queens Of The Stone Age here in St Pete back in February and maybe Lana Del Rey, none of the recent female artists that are filling the charts make the type of music that really get my attention. The likes of Lorde and LadyHawke are all good chart fodder, they’re just not what I like. However, the second Hillary’s voice met my ears on her track ‘Veins’ (which I urge you to check out below or on her Reverbnation site right HERE) my attention was well and truly grabbed!
In my opinion there’s a big difference between singers (the type of crap you find on talent shows all looking for a break singing other people’s songs) and singer/songwriting musicians. When I listen to music it means more when the piece has come from the artist themselves, the lyrics, the music, the melodies. The artist is giving you something that is personal to them and the reward for the listener is something that’s authentic, honest and emotional – music has to come from within. Hillary has been writing and performing her own music from the age of ten years old, which I find amazing really. At ten years old the only real concept I had of music were those groovy tunes about numbers and letters and stuff they play on Sesame Street. But when you hear her, the sweetness and clarity of her voice and the emotion it carries, the structure of her music, which kinda falls into the categories of alternative/rock/folk, and the gorgeous melodies she lays her lyrics upon, you can’t help but be struck by the pure, natural talent on display. Some people were born to sing and write and make beautiful music, Hillary is one of those lucky people. And while I may envy them a little, I am equally grateful for their existence because people like Jeff Buckley, Bon Iver and the like (the latter of whom Hillary describes as an influence along with her family) touch and change so many lives.
Currently unsigned to a label (no real hindrance these days really) Hillary does most of her gigging in and around the area in which she lives so if you are reading this in Minneapolis you are very much in luck. Keep an eye on her Reverbnation site for future upcoming gigs, you’ll wanna be able to say you saw her before she got huge because I suspect one day this young lady could be a very big star. You know special talent the second you hear it, so stop reading and click on the video clips I’ve included and hear it!