Here at BELLA we love staying on top of all the latest music, we even listen to New Music Friday every week in the office to stay in the know! That’s why we were so excited to be able to sit down with American Pop singer Hilary Roberts to discuss her first LP. Also known as “The Red Songbird,” Hilary’s goal in her music is to make people feel less alone when facing hardships. Her songs are inspired by her own traumatic circumstances, and her experience learning how to heal. When Hilary is not working on her music, she spends her time helping the American Heart Association and volunteering at child advocacy centers in her community of Dallas, Texas. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Hilary to ask her some questions about her aspirations and inspirations for her music.
When and how did your career as a musician begin?
When I was 10, I wanted to be Annie. I was influenced by my dad, who had presented jazz to me, and also my mom who listened to opera and classical. But I went to see Annie, and I wanted to be her. I started singing “Tomorrow,” and discovered that I had this voice and I started singing from there. I sang different songs day by day, and started doing talent competitions, and winning those. I started doing commercials, and got pretty much everything I auditioned for. I learned I just had this gift, and it was bigger than me.
How did you come up with your artistic name the “The Red Songbird”?
Well, I have red hair. Obviously. My opera teacher in Dallas, Alexander Rom, started calling me little bird because I always listened to Minnie Riperton growing up, and they called her the song bird. I wanted to be a songbird, just like Minnie Riperton. But I didn’t want to be just the “song bird.” I wanted to be the “Red Songbird.”
Why is your new lead single called “There for you”?
I have gone through some very dark times in my life, and it was very hard for me to accept help from other people. When I was introduced to Damon, he had this idea for a song and it really spoke to me. Part of who I am, and what has molded me as a person, is when I had allowed others to be there for me, and accepted help instead of trying to do it on my own. Allowing others to be there for me is what got me out of these dark places, because there was several of them. These people taught me in turn to be there for others. That’s why this idea is so big on what I have been through, and what I think our world needs.
What’s the message behind it, and whom is it for?
It’s for everybody, to elevate the consciousness of our planet, so we can bring love and kindness. We’re so polarized right now, there’s so much anger and even self hate. All these people are dying from feeling hopeless, and it’s so important that we show that’s there’s so much more. It’s not as permanent as you think, and if you need to get the extra help get the extra help. Don’t do this alone. It’s just about how can we be there for one another and allowing that help.
So do personal experiences influence your creativity in your lyrics?
Absolutely, every song that we are going to be releasing, starting with “There for You,” is about my personal experience. My team, Damon Sharp and Felicia Greer, walked through their own things as well. We all get to the creative process to describe our experiences, and it’s so beautiful. I’m learning also, as I release the songs, like wow there’s a lesson even as I am creating. It’s just so powerful.
In which ways do you try to make a difference through your music in today’s world?
I walked through a lot of pain and a lot of shame in my life, and took on a lot of responsibilities for things that I didn’t need to. I took on too much, and really beat myself up too much for certain things. And while experiencing that pain, I never thought I would experience “yay” in my life. I always thought it would be pain that I would feel. And when I started taking different actions and doing things differently, I wanted the music and the gifts that god had blessed me and my team with to come out to make a difference. I wanted the lyrics to the songs to help people make better decisions. I want people to think, “You know what, I’m not going to sit on the couch tonight, and watch 50 episodes. I’m going to get out there and volunteer at a children’s hospital,” Or “I am going to go to Starbucks and buy that guy behind me in line his coffee.” Or, “That girl looks really stressed out putting her groceries back, I’m going to buy that girl her groceries.” And if I can’t afford to do that, I’m going to just call somebody and see how they’re doing. Maybe I take a sandwich to a homeless person. When we get out of ourselves, it makes a difference. The music is about making a difference.
What are your aspirations and plans for the future?
Our aspiration is that we make movements through each song. That’s what we’re hoping for. As the music goes forward, I want all the people that are involved in the music to be blessed with sharing their gifts and talents. I want the people to listen to each song, and to receive some sort of messages from each song that allows them to feel something different and more positive. I want them to experience more joy and more love in their life, and to start making more positive decisions going forwards in their life.
At Bella we believe that beauty is defined by you, so how do you define beauty?
I define beauty in people that can love the unlovable, and to forgive the unforgivable. I define beauty in people that show courage when instead of taking the easy way out they take a stand in something that’s right, to do something that shows love towards themselves and others. That’s true beauty. But that’s not saying that the people that can’t do that right now aren’t beautiful because I believe that they’re all just waiting to blossom. I think that were all beautiful in a special way. We just don’t always know it.
By Jessica DePeppo, Anna Jewell, and Alissa Zarrabi