EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Five Minutes With … Hebe

Amsterdam-based songstress Hebe, will be releasing her new single ‘Tell Me’ on May 12th.

With her first EP‚ ‘The Beginning’ released in October 2015, Hebe showed the world a personal profile of herself. A selection of six songs recorded in the Wisseloord studio with her band and producer, Hebe shared her feelings, visions, fears and thoughts through those songs.

She is now about to release her anticipated debut album. With a stronger electronic influence this time around, the mesmeric vocal harmonies and Hebe’s warm captivating sound still characterize the music and give the album an alluvion that is uplifting and melancholic at the same time.

We caught up with her in London to chat about her unique sound, and what it’s like to have “the giggles” on live radio.

Hi there, how are you and what are you up to today?

Hi there, I’m in London with my boyfriend. Partly business, partly holidays. He is at a Tea Trade Dinner in The Savoy and I’m at the hotel. Tomorrow we are going to Tate Britain to see the exhibition of Hockney. It’s been 5 years since I’ve been in London, so great to be back.

To those not familiar with you, how would you describe your sound?

It has a lot of different influences, but I mostly prefer Filmic electro – pop! I’ve been inspired by amongst Rhye, Zero7 and Van Morrison, amongst others. My voice is often described as dark with a soulful sound and my music melancholic.

What are the 5 albums that have influenced you the most?

Van Morrison – His band and the street choir
Zero7 – Simple Things
Tame Impala – Currents
Solomon Burke – Don’t give up on me
Sia – Some people have real problems

Which other artists are you into at the moment and why?

Well… I’ve been a big of Rhye for quite some time already. I love his sound and his lyrics, but most of all his voice. Gorgeous and very special. At the moment I’m also listening to a lot of Lapsley. The production and sound of her first record is really nice, big inspiration as well.

Are there any key pieces of equipment that you are using to define your sound?

Tremolo on the keys, is actually the only constant thing there is in almost every song. And although it’s not equipment, my voice keeps everything together. I think some things are quite different in the sound, but fit together because of my voice and because I have my own way of writing songs.

What would you say some of the challenges artists face today in the music industry?

I think a big challenge today is the commercialisation of music. We are talking more and more about products instead of music, creativity and inspiration. These days it’s really difficult for musicians that make beautiful music, but for a smaller crowd (music that is not sellable or in for the big money). I feel it has flattened the diversity of channels like radio, club line-ups and television shows – who are are supposed to be supporting these diversities and music, not just the commercial easy hits. That’s why I really like Spotify, for example. They use every kind of musical genre. People can decide for themselves what and when they want to listen to music.

Where do you gather songwriting inspiration?

Walking, on my bicycle, watching the news, reading articles, reading a book, watching a film, fights with my boyfriend, loving my boyfriend – it’s in everything. The only necessary condition is that I’m not stressed out. When I’m stressed there will not be a single moment of inspiration.

Take us through your songwriting process. Are there any particular steps you take when putting your music together?

It starts with a small sentence, for example when I’m on my bike riding back home after work. I record it on my voice recorder while cycling. I then sit behind the piano or take my guitar and start playing some chords and singing some different melodies to the sentence. After this there are two options: either, I finish the song (lyrics and music) or I put it down and do not look at it again for some time. When I’m in the mood to write, I always start with something new or go through my book of unfinished songs and start again.

What’s the best gig you have ever done and why?

The Pre-show of Colin Blunstone at De Vorstin in The Netherlands. It was such an honour to play with this great legend. The crowd was super excited, the hall was completely sold out and we played with our full band. So much power and so much love! Still think of it every once in awhile.

And the worst?

I once did a gig on the radio with New Amsterdam Voices, an a-cappella group I sing and play with as well. We had to wait for quite some time before we could start, so we chatted a little bit, made some jokes, while a part of the group was talking to the radio host and doing the interview.
Eventually we had to start, but we couldn’t stop giggling. At first we handled it pretty well. We sang ok for about a minute, but eventually I couldn’t hold myself in, until we were all laughing live on Dutch radio. Quite embarrassing.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be?

An archeologist, cinema-director or an actress.

Do you have any particular gigs or festivals that you dream about playing?

Royal Albert Hall, Paradiso, Glastonbury and Pinkpop

If you could perform alongside any other band or artist, living or dead, who would it be?

D’Angelo would be on top of my list! This guy has so much groove, swag and makes great music. Yes, that would be really cool!


HEBE Upcoming shows:

26th May 2017 A Tasca Gutersloh, Germany
1st June 2017 Patronaat Haarlem, Netherlands
14 July 2017 Stiels Haarlem, Netherlands

Don’t miss the release of Hebe’s single ‘Tell Me’ on May 12th.

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