An interview with She. (a.k.a. Elle Simone Hill)
DK: Good day Elle, how are you today?
She. I’m great, thank you! Thanks for having me.
DK: Absolutely my pleasure, I appreciate your time in answering these questions today, thank you very much! So, let’s take this from the top… you were born and raised here in Chicago, what part of the city, if I might ask?
She. Yes, I’ve actually lived in Chicago for my entire life. I’m from the south side of Chicago, in the Hyde park area.
DK: How was life growing up for you? How were your school days and when did you realize you had wanted to pursue a life in the music industry?
She. Growing up was an interesting time period in my life. My mom raised me by herself, and during that time I was coming to terms with the fact that my father wasn’t going to be a part of my life, simply from his own volition. I think the emotions that I felt from that constant struggle is one of the things that pushed me to music. Music not only gives me a chance to vent, but it also allows me to tell my story, in the hopes that it will help someone in the same situation as me.
DK: What were some of the first songs you sang as a child and which songs still hold cherished memories for you and your childhood?
She. Some of the first songs that I sang were Fallen and Stay by Rihanna. I think I first realized I wanted to pursue music was when I performed “Fallen” By Alicia Keys at a summer camp. I played the piano while I sang, and the excitement from the crowd cheering and singing with me made me realize that music was my element. I love the feeling of performing and writing music. I tended to stick more closely to piano songs, because I like to sing and play the piano at the same time. It took me a while to realize I didn’t have to play piano every time I sang.
DK: Did you take any vocal lessons and/or learn any instruments along the way growing up?
She. I only ended up taking about three vocal lessons, because my vocal instructor moved away, but I’ve played the piano ever since I was about 5. Alicia Keys was actually at my very first piano lesson. I have a picture with her hanging in my room.
DK: Nice! How inspirational that photo must be in keeping you motivated in your career! When did you decide to take your musical career professionally?
She. It’s a pretty funny story. My first song, “Say It” was actually a birthday present to myself. I wrote that song about three years ago and couldn’t get it out of my head. I decided to finally record it for my birthday. I thought it turned out really well, so I uploaded it to Spotify, as well as some other online stores. It received a lot of positivity, so I started to make more music.
DK: You have an EP in the works, what can you tell me about it?
She. Yes! It actually seems like it’s turning into more of an album now. I’ve already written a lot of songs, and I’m still writing songs now, so right now I’m just choosing which ones I’d like to be on the album. The songs are focused right now on the hurdles I’ve had to overcome in my life to become who I am now, along with things that I still struggle with. A lot of the songs have vibes from “Say It”, but I’m also playing around with songs that reflect my view on society.
DK: Your songs are deep with emotions, how personal are your songs?
She. All of my songs have a story behind them. I tend not to just sit down and write. I’ll just hear a tune in my head, or I’ll think of some lyrics, then I start writing. I also write when a major event happens in my life. I can really only write when I feel strong emotions, so this tends to carry out in my music.
DK: How many songs do you currently have in your repertoire?
She. By August 10th, I’ll have 3 released songs! I have about thirty songs that I’ve written though.
DK: How many live shows have you played so far and what venues have been graced by your presence?
She. I tend to just do open mics right now. I was waiting until I had at least three songs to perform, so I’m going to more actively start performing live shows now.
DK: How would you rate the Chicago music scene? Has it been easy or difficult to get the resources you need in order to move forward in your career?
She. It’s a little bit of both. I’m pretty self driven, so it was easy to find a studio and easy to find people to work with to complete my music. The difficulty is it’s really just a team of me, so it takes me longer to complete projects than someone who has four or five people helping them.
DK: Have you performed outside of IL?
She. I received offers, but I was recording music at the time, so I haven’t made it out of Illinois yet.
DK: Have you received any feedback from fans outside of IL or the states?
She. I’ve received a lot of feedback. That’s the great thing about music streaming services, fans from all over the world can listen and comment on your music.
DK: Do you have management at present and if not, are you seeking management?
She. Right now I don’t have any management. I’m definitely open to it, but not actively seeking it.
DK: What would be the most idyllic (yet realistic) scenario for you and your career, if you could write out the path to your success, how would it look?
She. It would be to complete my album before the end of the summer, be picked up by a good label that wouldn’t want to steal all of the rights to my music, and go on tour in the fall. It’s definitely feasible but hard to achieve.
DK: What do you hope fans will take away from your music? How do you want your music to impact them?
She. I hope that fans listen to my music and are able to relate with the story that I’m telling. I’m hoping that this will be of some comfort knowing that they’re not alone.
DK: How much interaction do you have with your fans?
She. I’m working on being a part of platforms that allow more fan interaction, but I always respond to Twitter, Reverbnation, and my Facebook page.
DK: Where can people find you online?
She. So many places! You can find me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/She.Officielle/), Spotify, Twitter (@She_Officielle), Reverbnation , or my website (sheofficielle.com). My music is also on all the major online stores.
DK: What can we hope to find you doing for the remainder of 2018? What are your plans?
She. I’ll definitely be in the studio, but I’ll also be doing live performances! I will post updates of when I’m performing on my online platforms.
DK: What are some of your long term goals?
She. My ultimate goal is to go on tour, but my album is my focus right now. I tend to get impatient and release singles. Once my album is out, I can release as many singles as I’d like. I really love performing though, so I’d like to get a schedule going throughout the year of performances.
DK: Well, Elle, thank you very much once again, it was a pleasure getting to know you better and I wish you all the very best with your career!