An acoustic country singer under the stage name Hayley Ellen, she's been likened to Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks. Antony Scott got the chance to ask her a few questions.
Where are you from and what is the most beautiful thing about your city?
"I'm from Northumberland in North East England, United Kingdom. I live in the countryside surrounded by rolling hills, woodland, forests, mountains and fields. We have a National Park and Kielder Forest here which are well worth a visit."
Why did you get into music?
"I don't think it was something I got into, per say; but more who I was. My mum would play me country classics and both she and my Dad love classic rock; so that's certainly where I get my influence from. I started writing music when I was about 10, although I couldn't play an instrument and I didn't understand what chords were. I could hear songs in my head. In high school, I took Performing Arts for GCSE and A level; and joined a musical theatre group. I think it really help me to understand the performance element of music and the stories behind songs. After High school, I moved on to college to do Animal Management – a world away from what I had done at high school. Both subjects are very much a part of who I am, but I missed music dearly. I felt unsatisfied with it's absence in my life. After graduating, I taught myself guitar from Youtube tutorials and fact sheets on the internet. I could then understand enough about music composition to put the music to paper and match it to what I heard in my head. At no point did I ever wonder if I was good enough to write music; I guess. I'd had enough put downs over the years to grow a thick skin. But it wasn't until I volunteered in a local music store that other people apart from my parents acknowledged my talent, and gave me the confidence I needed to persue it as a career. I'd love to give a shout out to Core Music CIC, Hexham and to Mike Coleman for the role he played in helping me make this a business rather than a hobby."
Do you have original songs? If so, can you give us some background on each?
"I do! I have too many to go through individually so I'll choose the ones from my EP! “I Deserve Better” is a country/rock jam which is pretty self-explanatory. Not everyone you meet in life is worthy of your time and affection, and sometimes people who meant everything to you become strangers. People change. I wrote this song about an ex-boyfriend but it rings true for a lot of situations. “Lost in Paris” was about my then boyfriend, and about our several trips to Paris. It's bittersweet to listen to now. Most of my EP is about him, and songs like “Hello Beautiful” remind me of what I first saw in him and what we used to have together before he changed. “Me Without you” was about something that was just doomed from the start. He used to treat me like a doll that had no opinion, and tried to tell me how to live my life."
What are your plans for the future?
"Well... I guess everyone says they want to try make it in the music industry; so I'm not going to say the obvious. However, I have been going through a bad bout of ill health for several years now – and once I get an official documented diagnosis; I will be making it public and raising awareness for the disease and its difficulties. I certainly don't want people to feel sorry for me – I want to help others in the same situation and show other sufferers of chronic illnesses what they can achieve. Chronic illness isn't the end. Music is my way of healing."
Thank you for giving us a portion of your time, Hayley!
Like and follow her facebook page here
Listen to her music here