Watch List: Hollie Stephenson Deals With The Tug Of 'Broken Heartstrings'
Precocious talent and preternatural confidence - 16-year-old U.K. singer/songwriter Hollie Stephenson has both in spades, with her effortlessly absorbing combination of a smoky, richly mature vocal tone that is shot through with the emotional weight of an old soul and self-penned lyrics that channel wise-beyond-her-years insights being driven by an instinctive self-possession, her song 'Broken Heartstrings' reflecting an instinct for making music that has her saying 'my music is music that just can be felt - I would say it's kind of reggae, Motown, blues, jazz, soul- very bass dominated music'.
With parental encouragement, Stephenson discovered her musical instincts early, saying 'I knew I was going to pursue music as a career when I was about eight, but it's always been something that's just in me I guess', adding 'I didn't know I was going to be a singer, it is just something that I need to do, it's just kind of in me, I can't help it', and at twelve began teaching herself to play the guitar. Realizing at age thirteen that had an ability when it came to songwriting, she began penning her own tracks, confessing that for her that 'music is therapy; I feel that all the negative energy, that everybody feels, is being channeled into something positive, creative and constructive'.
With her mature songwriting being informed by a supreme respect for Billie Holiday - 'my single greatest musical inspiration and influence is definitely Billie Holiday...the word legend is too cheap to put against her name, I just think that she is an amazing woman; the amount that she went through, and what she came out with, I literally don't think you can top her' - Stephenson writes about 'what just happens in my life, what happens around me, and I write about it, especially when something makes me stop and think'. Coming to the notice of, and now being mentored and managed by, Dave Stewart of Eurythmics fame, she has been in recent times playing selected shows and showcases while finishing up her debut album in in London, Los Angeles and Jamaica.