This music/fashion crossover is about to be #1 on your playlist.
In the U.S., being on a reality show like The Voice doesn’t have its star-launching power like it used to. Everyone knows the shows are now more about the celebrity judges than the contestants. While contestants still feel pressure to release music after their T.V. publicity, the lack of a major record deal and expectations to become superstars allow these contestants to build upon their own talent and become true musicians. If they really have the star power, they’ll make it.
Melanie Martinez took three years to release her conceptual album, Crybaby, and New Zealand-born musician Ben Hazlewood (off of The Voice Australia) just released an incredible EP that demonstrates his true skills which only leave us wanting more.
Hazlewood’s EP is dark, sensual, and thought-provoking. If you see him live, he’ll also show you all of that on stage as he moves like a professional dancer (thanks to his mother who’s a dance teacher). If that weren’t enough to grab you, his looks have also garnered the attention of the fashion industry. He walked the runway at New York Fashion Week for Malan Breton and was photographed by none other than Nigel Barker.
Ben Hazlewood just wrapped up his first tour in the U.S. alongside of a handful of other groups on the Grow Wild Tour. We talked to him about his first tour bus experience, his songwriting process, and why you might want to adopt the attitude of a New Zealander when it comes to fashion.
Q&A with Ben Hazlewood
The Grow Wild tour was your first tour in the U.S. What is your favorite part about touring?
Just being on tour! This is the first time that I’ve been on a tour bus – just driving around, partying, and coming to the show and playing music live. It’s all I really want to do. I’m living the dream. You go to sleep and you wake up in a new place every day.
You were on The Voice Australia a few years back. How has your artistic direction changed since you were on the show?
I think that after the show, I was writing and my management and label wanted me to go in a different direction. I wrote for radio and then we took it to radio and they said no. After the show, I learned that you can’t write for anyone else but yourself. I’m so proud of what I did because this is more me and more what I want to do, what I want to say, and how I want to sing. People are really responding to it. The songs have more emotion, they’re more intense, and darker, which is more my vibe.
I can hear some rock and dance influences on your EP, Vanta. As the EP is very musically cohesive with an overall dark sound, was there a sound you were aiming for, or did it just nicely piece together?
It fit together because I really felt like I knew the direction. The lyrical content of the album is in a really dark place but looking towards a lighter direction, so that’s why it’s called “Vanta”. Vantablack is the darkest substance known to man.
Who are your musical influences?
My dad was a singer so I grew up listening to The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Janis Joplin, Fleetwood Mac – all of that stuff. As I grew up, I listened to a lot of Green Day, Sum 41, and Avril Lavigne (her darker albums).