Category Archives: Rare Talent

Rocking Gibraltar – the Phenomenal Hollie April

Singer-songwriter Hollie April was born and raised in Gibraltar where she began performing at the tender age of 12. Now 22, she is a recent graduate from Leeds College of Music with a BA(Hons) in Music Production and is on the brink of what promises to be a stellar career. Calling Hollie’s gig list impressive would be an understatement. She has performed around the UK festival circuit, opened the main stage for the Gibraltar Music Festival, and performed on the main stage at the Gibraltar International Jazz Festival, the Steinway Hall London, GBC TV and BBC TV West Yorkshire. In September this year she released the single Together Alone

Drunken Mermaid caught up with Hollie just as she is preparing to leave Gibraltar for London, a move we predict will work out very well given her phenomenal talent… Tell us about yourself – how did you get into music?

Hollie: As a solo performer I began performing at a very young age, I’ve always been drawn to music and I’ve experimented throughout the years a lot until I found a sound and style that really speaks to me. My stage name ‘Hollie April’ is just my first and middle name, it used to just be ‘Hollie Buhagiar’ but after studying music in the UK I realized no one was ever going to be able to pronounce my surname (there were a lot of very comical attempts though). What is your favorite original song or album to date? Why?

Hollie: Jeff Buckley’s Grace, without question. He’s been my absolute biggest inspiration and when I came across his music everything started to click into place for me with my own sound – I learnt to take more risks and really produce music that was what I wanted to hear and enjoy. Who are your major influences? What do you take from them? What do you add or do differently?

Hollie: I have such a plethora of influences ranging from Patti Smith to Jeff Buckley. I’ve never really purposefully tried to sound similar to any artists so perhaps the influences aren’t massively obvious in my sound but each one of them has struck a chord with me in certain ways (pun most definitely intended). Patti Smith for example, her experimentation with vocals has really made me challenge myself with range, timbre and melody. What song do you wish you’d written? How would it sound as performed by you?

Hollie: I love Wuthering Heights by Kate Bush, I think the track is flawless, so I’m not sure how it would differ, but I’d like to think I would do it justice. What does the future hold – is there a particular direction you’d like to take your music?

Hollie: The future at the moment for me is moving across to London in the New Year! I’ve been put on pause for a while now due to my location, being based in Gibraltar, so I’m excited to make the move. I am actually heading over also to do a Masters in Composition for Film and Television at The National Film and Television School, so I’m extremely excited for that too. It’s another aspect of music that I adore and specialized in when I studied my Music Production degree at Leeds College of Music. In addition to this, I am hoping to get a band together when I hit the London scene so that I can finally perform exactly what I hear in my head live to the public. What are your best and worst experiences to date?

Hollie: I’ve shared arenas with the likes of Emelie Sande, Level 42, Lawson, Gabrielle Aplin and ever Jools Holland to name a few and that has been brilliant! I’ve also had a lot of more personal, smaller performances that have just been in some ways, equally amazing – I performed at a festival in a gigantic circus tent at 12am in the morning and the atmosphere was just incredible.

As for worst experiences, I’d say in my earlier days when I started performing I used to really battle with nerves (at the age of 13) as I was extremely shy as a child, so it ended up being a question of could I overcome this issue for my passion. So the internal turmoil of this that I dealt with throughout the beginning of my career and performing through these nerves, that was a hard one. Are you signed to a label?

Hollie: I am not signed to a label though there’s been interest. I would definitely be open to it because I feel as though I would be able to produce a higher caliber of work with the aid of a label. I’d also be potentially able to play the bigger venues and for larger audiences and it would be very beneficial for getting my music out there to more people which is the goal really. What would you like your fans/audience to know about you?

Hollie: Perhaps that the tracks that I write are all directly related to myself and my own thoughts but despite this I like to keep their exact meaning relatively obscure so that they may touch people individually in the ways that they need to. Tell us about your live gigs. What is it like to see you perform in the flesh?

Hollie: I like to think it’s quite a pleasant experience! I’m not very outrageous on stage as I really focus on the sound that I produce but I always aim to create an atmosphere that is shared across the audience and venue. I try to take them into my world a little bit and hopefully they enjoy it. Where can we see you in the near future?

Hollie: London! I am London bound and set to move straight after New Year, so keep an eye out!

Follow Hollie on facebook and check out more of her videos on Drunken Mermaid’s facebook page