Interview: Ellen Hayes

Can you tell us about your latest project? What inspired it, and what can your fans expect from it?

My latest project is a single titled “Another Chance” featuring my church choir The Word of Truth Mass Choir. It was inspired by a sermon at a Sunday morning service. The minister went through a testimony during his message and the title of this song “Another Chance” came to mind. I later reflected on the chances I had and have been given by God and those memories encouraged me to write Another Chance. When my fans listen to this song, I expect them to also reflect on their own life experiences and realize the chances they too have been given, and realize that God is still granting redemption, forgiveness and second chances.

Songwriting can be a cathartic process. What emotions or messages do you hope your music conveys to listeners?

I hope my music spreads the message of Gods love and bring comfort to its listeners.
I hope my music evoke thankfulness, gratitude, repentance and reassurance in the divine power of Christ.

How has your musical style evolved over the years, and what do you hope to convey through your music now compared to when you first started your career?

When I first started, I was looking for music that was more contemporary styled like the successful artists that has come before me. I thought my authentic style may be too different for people to gravitate toward. Although I loved the contemporary style and still do, I now delve deeper into traditional, Christian, gospel jazz genres and more. I have embraced my authenticity and I’m loving it. I absolutely love the gift God has given me. God has taught me different is ok. I strive now to create songs that not only make people feel good, but songs of comfort and encouragement. The world is hurting and not everyone in it is in a good place in their life. I hope my music can convey Gods love and kindnesses and take people to a place of comfort and happiness and encourage them to seek the Lord if they are lost.

Many fans look up to their favorite artists as role models. What advice do you have for aspiring musicians who hope to make a name for themselves in the music industry?

Dedicate time to practice and improve your skills. Many of your favorite artist does this constantly which is why they are so successful. Continuously work on your music, vocals, and performance abilities to stand out. Experiment with different genres and styles to discover your own signature sound that sets you apart from others. The music industry can be tough, so don’t get discouraged by setbacks. Stay determined and keep pushing forward.

Collaborations with other artists are highly recommended and it broadens your experience. Educate yourself in the music business, always be professional. Safeguard your creative work. Register your music with the copyright office to establish legal ownership and protection. Indulge in workshops, songwriting classes if the goal is to be a songwriter.

In the age of streaming and digital platforms, how do you navigate the challenges of making a living as a recording artist, and what advice would you give to aspiring musicians trying to break into the industry?

Besides being an independent gospel artist, songwriter and producer, I am a licensed childcare provider, a musician and choir director and composer for a couple churches which includes my home church. I do recommend multiple streams of income. I sell tickets to my shows, I accept paid performances at other shows, I sell my merch etc…
Because the gospel world is such a competitive landscape with independent and mainstream artists, I would recommend creating more ways to diversify revenue sources to support your music career. It’s difficult for independent artists because most of them lack the financial resources of a big record label. Streaming platforms can make you money but not as much and as quickly as other sources and a really creative digital platform presence. Finding your niche market to complement your music career can be a great way to make a living until your music alone can be financially viable.

Your image and style often become part of your brand as an artist. How do you approach your personal image and fashion choices to express yourself and connect with your fans?

I try to stay true to my brand. As a child with my father being a Pastor, I was raised to wear dresses and skirts. I’m sure by now I could have ventured out by wearing all types of styles, since the fashion industry is filled with a plethora of different styles. But as an adult I choose to wear dresses and skirts. I have delved in pants, shorts, jumpsuits, more fitting flirty styles, but none of those styles made me feel as comfortable as I do in a dress. So, dresses and skirts are my thing and I’m ok with that. I’m not in love with the camera but I strive to represent my brand everywhere I go. I don’t always follow what trends, but I like to wear what’s appropriate for my body type, age and preferences. I always indulge myself in light makeup every where I go because I love wearing it. I do tend to go a bit heavier at events when I know photos will be involved and even then, it’s not considered heavy. I like a more natural appearance enhanced by makeup. Who I am in public is the same person you’ll see any given day. Maybe just not as dressy on certain occasions but certainly decent enough to go pretty much anywhere.

The future is always uncertain, but what are your long-term goals and aspirations as a recording artist, and what can your fans expect from you in the coming years?

My fans can expect more collaborations, more great music, different genres, more experimentation with virtual social media interactions and live performances. I’m also aspiring to start a newsletter. They will also see other artists and more releases from the choir.




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