The debut EP by neo-soul musician Lily Hollows, Little Glass Girl, came across my desk last week. This work explores the notions of self-value, independence, infatuation, and frailty. Using stark contrasts, challenging lyrics, and serene melodies, Hollows delves into what it means to be human.
I asked her some questions last week.
When are you happiest? I find bliss when the world fades away and it’s just myself and the black and white notes of my piano. I’ll be playing a note or two, then another one here and slowly the notes start slotting in next to each other – that's it – when the sounds are caterpillars in a chrysalis that become a fluttering melody. That is when I'm happiest.
What does music mean to you?
Music is my reality. It’s my 6am cup of tea while I’m dancing in the kitchen. It’s my acapella shower soundtrack. It’s the warm embrace after a long day, or the lullaby I sing in my head as I drift off to sleep. It means that I’m never alone. I find solitude in symphonies.
What is the most enjoyable aspect of your work?
Although I love the creative process of writing songs that have the potential to touch people and remind them that they’re not alone, I can’t deny the thrill of performing under bright lights. There’s something magical about an adoring crowd and being able to share your music with them.
What drives you: ego or humility?
If I state that humility is my foundation, then technically I’m no longer being humble! But on a more serious note, I gravitate towards humility. I find it important to (before anything else) be human, and to me, that’s humility in its purest form.
I was planning on taking this one to the grave, but oh well! I was performing in a group and we had a mix up backstage. Long story short, I ended up having to rap, keep in mind the only thing I can wrap is presents. I was awful and robotic and I ooh-ed and la-la-la-ed my way through the verses I didn’t know. I’m definitely going to stick to Christmas gifts.
What is your most treasured possession?
A small wooden piano jewellery box that my bestie, Zoe, made me. She painted it beautifully and decorated it with the word ‘believe’. It’s dear to my heart because it serves as a reminder of her love for me and who doesn’t like an adorable baby grand piano!
It’s your round, what are you drinking?
Milk. There’s nothing like a good glass of full cream milk to soothe the soul. I often order milk when I go somewhere. It’s interesting to note not only the subtle changes in sweetness depending on where you are geographically but also the waiter’s reaction! Basically, it’s delicious, it’s wholesome and it’s a shot of calcium too!
Dream gig to do?
Ever since I was a little girl, I told myself that one day I’m going to sing a duet with Michael Bublé. It could be out on the streets, in a shopping centre or on a stage. In short, my dream gig is Michael Bublé.
What makes you stand out?
I’d like to think in a world where everyone is chasing the sun, rushing to the finish line, I have a sense of serenity. I’ve been told I have a calm, peaceful demeanour. What people don’t realise is that the human race isn’t a race at all.
Lils, Lee-lees, Lala, Pixie, Purple Candy Bubbles (it’s my unicorn name – don't ask). Little Mermaid and to my brother I’m just... sis.
If you were not a musician, what would you do?
I would be a researcher in the field of biology. I have such a love for learning and a thirst for knowledge, so there’s no doubt that I would’ve done that, but I can’t deny that my passion for music wins by far. I guess, had I not been a musician, I would’ve been known as ‘La-la Lab Lady’.
Pick five words to describe yourself?
Enthusiastic. Passionate. Quirky. Witty. Mermaid.
What song changed your life?
The first song that really stuck in my head was from when I was four. I had a little disc player and I always had Survivor by Destiny’s Child on repeat. It was a pivotal song that made me realise that this was what I wanted to do (sing, not just survive).
Whom do you love?
The real question is, who don’t I love? I’m a very compassionate person and I take great care in nurturing my relationships; my family, my friends, my fans. They all have such a vast influence in my life and I love them all so much.
What is your favourite word?
Haemoglobin. Without a doubt! I love biology, so it’s only natural that I love the very substance that allows me to absorb oxygen and through cellular respiration formulate a response to this question. Go science!
Top of your bucket list?
To do a collaboration with Jeremy Loops or Mi Casa. These are two of my top local artists. They’re both so unique and share my same passion for music. Working with them would be an amazing learning curve and an honour.
Your greatest achievement?
I’ve just released my first EP. It’s a collective of the past 19 years I’ve lived and – to quote High School Musical – “The start of something new.” So far, it tops all other achievements.
What do you complain about most often?
My loving cat. She’s adorable, don’t get me wrong, but when I'm on the brink of falling asleep, she decides to “kiss”(lick) my nose. It sounds awfully cute, but I have a physiological need to breathe.
Tea and biscuits whilst listening to the gentle pitter-patter of the rain against the window pane. Perhaps it’s because of my British upbringing that I love tea and biscuits, and my beloved South Africa has taught me about the beauty in an African thunderstorm. I’m a pluviophile at heart.
The best life lesson you have been taught?
Never, ever, ever, ever cut your own hair. Unless you are a professional hair stylist and have some degree of common sense, I beg of you to leave this to the pros. I had to learn the hard way that kitchen scissors belong in the kitchen. Please, hair might grow back eventually, but the photos never fade.
Where would you like to be right now?
In the sea. More specifically, under the sea with Ariel and Sebastian, singing along to the melodies made by my fellow sea creature orchestra. “We got no troubles, life is the bubbles, under the sea!”
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