COUNTRY ROADS – interview with North East singer/songwriter Hayley Ellen

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Hayley Ellen is a singer/songwriter from Corbridge in Northumberland….‘I started playing gigs when I learnt to play guitar, so just out of college. About 2013. I started playing buskers and supporting local artists like Billy Mitchell at charity events, and further afield with Katie Armiger and Holly May on their UK tour. I did a lot of stuff for the local Newspaper – The Hexham Courant and events for Corbridge to get my name out and support my local community. I’ve always wanted to play music but I think my defining moment was when I knew I could do it. I was in high school and was on a performing arts course. I sang a couple of songs and got a huge reaction from the crowd, that’s when the bug bit me’.

Who were your influences in music ?  ‘I definitely took inspiration from my mum and dad’s music while growing up. My mum is very into country, pop ballads, soft rock and my dad is very into rock n roll and things that sound a bit different like Kate Bush and Seasick Steve. I would say I source Taylor Swift as my biggest inspiration from a music, lyrics and business strategy point of view. Others include Nickelback, Savage Garden, Blake Shelton, Lonestar, Journey, Toto, Florida Georgia Line, AC/DC and many many more!’

What are your experiences of recording ?  ‘My first experience of recording was with Isaac Parker, who was a contact of Core Music in Hexham. We recorded the first take of ‘I Deserve Better’ at his home studio, and honestly it was a fun experience. A few years later I recorded my EP at The Loft in Newcastle, with Liam Gaughan who I would highly recommend. Prices are great and so is the attention to detail’.

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Have you recorded any TV appearences or filmed any music videos ?  ‘I did a charity single for the Manchester victims of the terrorist attack last year. That was with other North East artists and we done Arrianna Grande’s ‘One Last Time’. That was televised and a music video is up for that. I barely feature in it but it was a fun experience’.

Have you any stories from playing gigs ? ‘I particularly like when dogs come and ‘sing’ during a set. I think people can surprise you too, and sometimes have too much to drink. You never know what the crowd will be like’.

What are your future plans in music ? ‘I just want to get out and play gigs! Future plans? I’d like to record an album with my boyfriend and do some music cover vlogging! And if anything becomes of that, then it’s a bonus. Thank you so much for the interview, it’s been a pleasure!’

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Interview by Gary Alikivi September 2018.

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