Following the successful release of her debut single ‘There For You’, American artist and musician Hilary Roberts is now returning to release her powerfully emotional new anthem ‘Fight to the Other Side’. Written for a friend in the grips of earth-shattering muscular dystrophy diagnosis, the track’s earnestly encouraging lyrics and Roberts’ soaring vocals combine to create a truly beautiful single.
We caught up with Hilary to talk about her new single and her favourite performance to date.
If you had to sum your music up in three words what would they be?
Inspiration, love, uniting.
Who would be your dream duetting partner?
Ed Sheeran. He’s a musical genius and his songs have such great meaning and yet they’re so beautiful to the ear. His lyrics, his music it has diversity and yet it connects all together somehow. As I said, he’s a genius.
Can you tell me about your songwriting process? What comes first the lyrics or the melody?
It’s different every time! For my upcoming LP, a lot of it was me coming up with an idea of what I wanted the song to be about, and then what I wanted the vibe to be, and then working on this with my Songwriting team. But sometimes I start with the music and I am like ‘I want it to sound like this’. We have some other tracks, for example, one about forgiveness, that we haven’t written the lyrics for yet despite the fact that we wrote it about a year ago – it just hasn’t felt like the right time to write them yet. Sometimes I’ll be in the studio and something will hit me, and I’ll be like, ‘let’s write about that!’.
As an artist, it’s about tapping into my imagination. Sometimes I will sing a melody into my phone, or have an idea in the middle of the night that I just have to write down. A producer can then work with me to create a great vibe with me laying down the lyrics/hook – it’s a great therapy to get things out…. Haha!
Are you able to conjure up the required emotions for a song, or do you really have to be feeling that way when you write them?
You know, most of the time I can conjure them up, but there have been times where I have had a bit of a block. For example, I just wasn’t in the right place to finish this forgiveness song that I’ve been needing to write for over a year, and now I actually think I’m more in a place to finish it.
Sometimes in the past, I have actually found the emotions overwhelming. When I was recording ‘Fight To The Other Side’ I had to keep composing myself because I kept having a really hard time with the emotions, and if you’re having a breakdown you can’t singe, so that was a real process.
What has been your favourite performing experience?
So, my grandfather had dementia and Alzheimers and they had put him on a dementia unit with about 15-20 patients. It was a retirement living place, and a lot of the people couldn’t even speak, I was visiting my Granddaddy and my Mom asked me to perform so we set up a little performance, and they’re all in the living room and I start singing the old standards and the people that couldn’t speak started singing the lyrics, and clapping, and smiling and it took everything not to start sobbing as you could see exactly what music and singing could do, it was the most powerful thing I’ve ever done.
Are we going to be able to hear you live anytime soon….?
After we have the next release (which I can’t tell you about quite yet…!), I will start touring -I’m chomping at the bit to do it right now!
Who are your biggest musical inspirations?
So, from back in the day Ella Fitzgerald, just because she’s her own instrument of amazement, Minnie Riperton because of what she could do with her voice, she is like a songbird. Stevie Wonder because he’s so diverse and so incredible with his gifts, he blows my mind. In the opera world, Joan Sutherland she could do so many incredible things with her voice. Currently, I love Kelly Clarkson, and having met her twice I can say she’s one of the most genuine and kind-hearted souls – she is so humble and down to earth. And of course Ed Sheeran!