Ex Woodrush Pupil tells us about her Music Career

Like most singers, Hollie Smith started her career entering school talent shows. 

Sitting in an overcrowded Wagamamas in Solihull’s Touchwood Centre, she recalls the time she performed ‘Umbrella’ by Rihanna with her primary school friends. 

“There was three of us altogether, we did the dance and everything.” she says, laughing. 

“It was the first time I’d performed in front of that many people, but I’ve always loved singing.   

“Doing school talent shows and actual singing lessons developed into wanting to do it professionally.” 

Hollie, 20, went to Woodrush High School and studied music at GCSE and A-level. 

“A lot of the A-level side of it was writing your own stuff which helped me to develop my song writing skills. 

“There was some of it that was a bit tedious, like singing ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E. King about 30 million times. 

“It isn't a bad song”, she adds, “but it's just it's not really my thing.” 

Since then, she's moved on from 1960s soul and has started writing her own music.  

Last summer, she released her first song ‘Unconditionally’ which has had over 1,000 views on YouTube alone. 

With the way the world is now, social media plays a key part in artistic self-promotion and Hollie seems to have that sorted with 2,368 followers on Twitter and 660 followers on Instagram. 

“Well I think it's like anything else you have to sort of push to get seen especially if you haven’t got a following, but I haven’t really had to,” she says, blushing. 

“People have just liked it and said ‘it's good quality, it’s good music and I’m going to share it and show other people. 

“I’m lucky that I haven’t had to shove it in people's faces.” 

Hollie’s first song featured ‘Not Connor’ a rap artist she met through friends, who also produces all her music. But she’s since decided to branch out and create on her own. 

“I wanted to explore more of what I could do as an individual. 

“I do obviously love the songs that I did with other people, but I think it's good to, as an artist, get your own thing going.” 

Although she writes and sings as a solo artist, Connor still produces the music and process differs for each song. 

“It depends what I go to Connor with, sometimes it'll be absolutely nothing and he’ll be like ‘where is it what have you brought me’ and we’ll start from scratch together and we’ll work on something. 

“It’s like with ‘Unconditionally’ we made that within one evening and we both really liked it and really loved it enough to put it out. 

“But other times it takes longer. ‘Lost Without’ was written over a year and a half ago and recorded in December 2018 and didn’t come out until this September.” 

So why did it take so long to release her latest single? 

“That was mainly just down to being unsure, because the topic of it is really quite close to home and just not knowing whether it’s a good idea to put it out. 

“But I’m glad that I did because listening to it now, I think the timing was right because in comparison to when I was listening to it back then, I was in a very different place. 

Hollie doesn’t just write music to sing it, she also writes to express herself. Song writing comes easiest when she's feeling emotional. 

“There’s nothing that helps me better than like just sitting and writing stuff down and if it rhymes, it rhymes. 

“I have insane amounts of ideas and full songs written, but some of it is written at a time where I wouldn’t really relate to it as much now. 

“I tend to kind of start writing at the point of when something happens rather than in reflection, because when you’re in it and feeling it, it’s easier to write. 

“I guess I’ve just had a lot of crazy stuff happen to be fair,”she says, with a grimace. 

With two singles out and her music being featured on YouTube, it’s clear Hollie is determined to get herself seen. 

“I used to perform a good fair bit when I was doing my A-levels, we held concerts all the time. 

“I’ve had opportunities to perform live a couple of times, but it’s never been the right timing, I'm confident performing, I love it the whole atmosphere, I love concerts. 

“I’d absolutely adore to do it so as soon as the opportunity arises now, I think I’m just going to grab it because ‘Lost Without’ has done so well and I’m building up more of a discography, so I'll have more to work with.” 

It’s clear that Hollie’s determination and talent is going to help her break into the music scene one way or another. 

Who knows, Simon Cowell might soon be the one calling her.