The fifth week of the Coffeehouse Sessions tour sees seventeen year old Hollie Stephenson take to the stage in our Students’ Union. I caught up with her after her set to chat about how she thought the show went (despite suffering from a slight cold), how she’s finding going fully acoustic for the tour and also about her impressive experiences as a musician so far.
You have two days on the tour left after today’s shows, how have you been finding it?
It’s a weird experience to be honest, I’m enjoying it but then it’s just really hectic, from one place to the next. It’s just about improving and I’m learning a lot about myself as well.
How did you find the show here today?
Yeah, I enjoyed it until I thought I was going to faint [laughs]. No, I really enjoyed it though.
How are you finding going completely acoustic for a full tour?
I’m fine with it. My only problem is when people try to fake it – I mean, I’d much rather be acoustic than be singing along, karaoke-style to my own songs. I’d much rather just do real music, where anything could go wrong. It’s fun.
You’re still fairly early on in your career, but you’ve already had some pretty amazing experiences and opportunities, including being managed by Dave Stewart of the Eurhythmics – what’s that like, how did that come about?
I just love working with him. We have very similar – bad – ideas [laughs]. No, I think we’re just quite similar so it’s cool to have that person there to work with who’s just a wiser version of myself. He saw my YouTube video when I was thirteen and singing, in the pub one of the songs I’d written and he wanted to get in touch. So that was just via Twitter and YouTube and things.
So you started writing music quite early on then?
I’ve always tried to write songs because I’ve always just liked the idea. The first song that I really wrote that was a song to the rest of the world and not just myself, I wrote when I was twelve.
And what made you decide to put them online?
I didn’t put it on YouTube, I’ve never been big on social media or anything like that, it’s not really interested me, so that was a video of me at a pub that my mum’s friend put on YouTube and Dave saw and wanted to get in touch. It was literally just chance.
You’ve also played a few shows over in the US too, what was that like?
Yeah that was pretty cool. I got to have a proper big band, there were horns and stuff which I always get excited about. Like if someone gives me backing singers, it’s really, really cool – if they give me horns, I just kind of go a little bit mental. I get way too excited, I love horns! So yeah, I really enjoyed playing those shows. I’ve done a couple with a proper band in the UK and I just played in Berlin with a full band – if it was up to me, I’d have a big band all the time, but it’s money that I haven’t got.
So what’s coming up for you after this tour?
It’s just gigs and stuff. The album’s coming out early next year too. I guess it’s just taking each day as it comes, I’ve just found out today that I have a gig next week, which is decent – I haven’t found out where yet, just that there is a gig and more information coming my way later [laughs].
And finally, since it’s the Coffeehouse Sessions tour, how do you take your tea/coffee?
I really like herbal tea: peppermint, red bush and green tea are my go-to’s. For coffee, it either has to be a latte with way too many sweeteners or it has to be just a black coffee or an espresso or something.
This or That:
Facebook/Twitter – Facebook, I hate Twitter. Well I don’t hate it, I just don’t understand it, but it did get me in touch with Dave actually.
TV/Film – It depends on my attention span that day [laughs].
Tea/Coffee – Coffee.
Cats/Dogs – Cats. Oh, I have a dog but I love cats –cogs maybe?
Acoustic/Full Band – Full band.