Tell us a little about how you discovered your love for music. What are some of your greatest influences? What made you want to write about your experiences and perform in front of an audience?
I can't really say where my love for music came from, if anything it felt like it came out of the blue. I was 14 and had just entered high school after being in a small Catholic school for 5 years, and I think I maybe needed an outlet to understand the enormous amount of feelings I had. I'd played guitar and ukulele for a couple years and one day just decided to try my hand in writing songs. At the time I really liked Ed Sheeran and his use of the loop pedal. So, I bought one myself to cover his songs and try my best to make other songs I liked to fit into a loop. That's when I started learning more about performance and music gear. I also really loved Nina Nesbitt and Tori Kelly, so my first songs were painfully similar to theirs. For my whole freshman year, I focused on that. The first music-sharing type event I went to was a songwriting circle that was hosted twice a month at the MLK Community Center. I shared one of my first songs, which was a little ukulele ballad I wrote about my Grandfather, who had passed away the year before. To my surprise, I got a lot kind feedback and advice. I specifically remember a boy who played the mandolin, who was surprised to hear I was only 14, and he said, "You're really ahead of the game! Pretty soon all the kids at your school are gonna hear about you as Amy the songwriting girl!" That was the first time anyone had ever shown hope in my writing. So, I guess it gave me purpose to continue. I started by going to a lot of open mics, sometimes even twice a week. Performing songs I wrote made me feel like the world was beautiful, and that I had something new to offer. Later I was introduced to so many artists that have all influenced me in a million different ways. But I'd say my main few would be Keaton Henson, Dodie Clark, and Cavetown. My music is really different from what it used to be, but I love it all the same.
Tell us about your song(s). What inspired you? How do you hope listeners will receive your message?
The things that inspire my songs aren't anything out of the ordinary. I write about good memories, love, my friends, and the things they've said to me that have both hurt and changed me for the good. A lot of them are written during big transitions in my life and the unnecessary fixation I have on the past. It's hard to explain because I'm never really sure what I want to come out of a song. I always hope for closure and satisfaction towards what I just wrote, but I never really get that. But, when I perform people usually understand and relate to me in a way that I could never achieve by just talking to them. A lot of it really just has to do with growing up and how confusing it is. (And, in a way, it makes it look a little prettier to me) It's something everyone goes through, and whether they relate it to themselves or reminisce on how they used to be, I think that's an accomplishment in itself.
What have you learned from your experience with Totem Star? What are some of the biggest takeaways?
Totem Star has given me so much throughout the past couple years. First off, they taught me that there is a comforting place for performers that's completely accepting, and it was something I really needed. Everyone I've met is amazingly kind and really wants to support other artists, celebrate their differences, and give them opportunities. That's something that young musicians can't get in a lot of places, and I'm so glad that I found them.
What advice would you give to other young artists?
If I could give any advice to someone just starting out, it's to join communities like Totem Star, STG, and other clubs and organizations that have to do with art and music, even if it's in your high school.
Check out Amy Hall's new EP, titled "xx" below!!