DK: Good day Shiraz, how are you today?
SH: Yes, great, thank you. Thanks for asking.
DK: Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions for me… let’s start with this, what does music mean to you?
SH: Well, music started from an early age for me singing with the choir and securing a place of BOA performing arts school Birmingham. Its my passion, listening to Amy Wine house, Duffy and Hannah Montana aka Miley Cyrus in a house filled of music had a great influence on me growing up.
DK: Having experienced the impact of music early in your life… how does it feel to now being a creator of music and seeing that impact on others?
SH: Well, that’s a strange question for me and one I struggle with really. I get people coming up to me saying, “hey we got your music playing all round the house or car stereo” and it makes me smile and it is hard to believe that people are liking my music. There are also some very cool artists out there wanting me to collaborate or feature on their tracks. I don’t like to take myself too seriously, I just want people to enjoy the music.
DK: Is anyone else in your family musically inclined or artistic?
SH: No, not really, although my gran was a singer in her younger years and my great grandad played the piano, but these are way before my time.
DK: Aside from Amy Winehouse, Duffy and Ed Sheeran, what are some other influences of music (perhaps in other genres) that you draw from?
SH: There is a selected pool of artists I draw from, Corinne Bailey Rae, Kehlani, Drake, and Maverick Sabre are just a few to mention with a few Hip Hop artists. I feel I’ve outgrown Ed and don’t feel he fits into my current sound. I enjoyed a lot of his earlier music though.
DK: How was it playing your first open mics, how did you do and how far would you say you’ve come as a musician since then?
SH: Nervous, extremely nervous, I was always fiddling while performing. I am still nervous, but have become more confident on stage, but the more you perform, the better your performance becomes, but I am still always nervous before I go on stage.
DK: How have you been promoting yourself so far, what has worked best and what have you yet to try to promote yourself and your music?
SH: I have a number of digital and FM radio stations national and international that play my music, so these are great promoters, play lists, blogs, BBC Music Introducing has given me great support, social media, Facebook, twitter , Instagram , newspaper articles. Social media is Key, but getting out there and playing live events will help create more followers and support. Word of mouth around social media platforms, passing the information to key people. Thanking everyone no matter how big or small, everything is relevant.
DK: Tell me about your song, ‘Rain’ which was recently released.
SH: Well, it all started when I won an artist development place at the age of 15, I put some lyrics down to a track I started to write, but put it on the back-burner until I met a local artist and I asked him if he would like to help me finish the track off, after repeated pressure from my mum, who loved the track. He sat with it for a good time before I released to BBC introducing, which it made track of the week on various stations, but never made it beyond local stations. The track was then picked up By Pussyfoot Records Via TILT, electronic producers and Rain was reborn, with many different cool mixes. This is a one-off for me, it is not my current style, but once in while its good to try something different. We are not confined to one box, so once in a while its good to jump out that box and explore other musical styles. https://soundcloud.com/pussyfoot-records/sets/rain-single-mixes
DK: How about your videos for ‘Done the Dirty’ and ‘Simmer Down’, how was it making the videos for you?
SH: Yes , I’m not a very in your face person, so I found it hard to express myself, without the fear of what people think. It’s something I need to work on.
DK: How supportive is your family of your career?
SH: My family is very supportive, especially my mum, she is my number one fan and helps with managing me and my social media, when I’m at work. My mum is right behind me.
DK: What are the plans for your first full length album?
SH: Well, I’m working on something now, working with some really cool producers, it’s a mixture from past influences, Amy Winehouse, Corinne Bailey Rae, but with Neo-R&B twist. It’s the first time in my musical career I’m feeling really excited about the new music and my future.
DK: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
SH: Yes new music coming soon, they can do this by following me on my social media Web sites , Spotify .
DK: Thank you very much for taking the time once again Shiraz, I wish you all the best with your career, you sound terrific! Keep it up!
SH: Thank you giving such a great opportunity!
Biography: Shiraz Hempstock is a singer/songwriter based in Worcestershire. She grew up in a home filled with music, with the tones of Amy Winehouse and Duffy flowing from the speakers of her Mum’s stereo. When she picked up a guitar aged eleven, Ed Sheeran’s songs inspired her and consumed her.
At just fourteen, she started to play open mic sessions at venues around Worcestershire, including The Marrs Bar. Shiraz then decided to take her music further a field, to the streets of Liverpool and Birmingham. On weekend afternoons, she captivated the attention of strangers, winning over city centre crowds.
Her performing activity and active networking made industry contacts flood to her support, enabling her to produce her first EP while still at school. Shortly after she worked her way up through the first three rounds of Open-Mic UK. The Events Director Chris Grayson was impressed by her voice. Seeing potential he offered Shiraz a place on a music development course subsided by Open Mic-UK to help her develop her songwriting.
Then fellow singer/songwriter Sam Robinson got in touch. He’d heard her sing live and he had a track that he thought she’d sound good on. The result? Shiraz’s voice featured on Sam’s song ‘Hold Me’. Finding that they worked well together, Shiraz approached Sam to help her finish the lyrics to a track she started to write, called, Rain she had started to write down at River Studios Southampton. Rain’, a song about the comings and goings of the pain of unrequited love.
Recorded in the rural splendor of Elgar Country at Severn Valley Studio, the song caught the ear of DJs at Black Country Radio and Brum Radio before becoming track of the week in November on BBC Introducing Hereford & Worcester.
Shiraz is now available to book for shows.
Contact Shiraz on: 07703446226 – firstname.lastname@example.org – shirazhempstock.com