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Interview: Hollie Smith

Interview: Hollie Smith


Victoria Tait catches up with New Zealand’s first lady of soul and jazz.

Singer-songwriter Hollie Smith is well-known to New Zealanders. She has worked with numerous bands – Trinity Roots and Fat Freddy’s Drop to name a few – and her single Bathe in The River (2006) has become iconic within the rich history of New Zealand music.

In April, Hollie released her third solo album, Water Or Gold. It went straight to No. 1 of the New Zealand music charts, where it remained for three weeks.

Now, Hollie is taking her music to the road, but without a band.

The Water Or Gold Acoustic Tour comes to Christchurch on Saturday 24th, with Hollie performing at Blue Smoke.


For those who have not heard your new album, can you tell us a little bit about it?

It’s been a little while [nearly six years], but this is the third record. I think it’s a little bit edgier than previous albums. I wrote a lot of it on guitar, which I think comes across. Expect some of my typical production on it and ballad numbers.

What can we expect from your acoustic performance?

It’s just a chilled, intimate night with me with my trusty sidekick Marika Hodgson on bass, guitar and technology. I’m doing mild versions of my new stuff as well as some old favourites.

What has been your most memorable show?

I was lucky enough to be invited to the Montreal [International] Jazz Festival a couple of years ago. Amazing city, amazing people and an amazing festival. I performed to about 50,000 people. It was hard work, but was a high for sure.

Being a singer-songwriter, from where do you draw inspiration? And what is your favourite part of the process?
Every part of music and being creative. It’s a love/hate relationship, so not sure what bit is my favourite. There’s isn’t a theme to Water Or Gold, but I collect thoughts and experiences as they pass.

What artists/songs are you listening to right now?

I’m still loving Kimbra’s latest album [The Golden Echo], and listening to a lot of [hip-hop artist] Kendrick Lamar, Cat Stevens and [hip-hop group] Sa-Ra at the moment.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

That everything’s going to turn to sh*t several times and that’s what’s supposed to happen. You can’t control it.

What would you like to be remembered for?

Being a kind and generous person, but, you know, not all the time. I can totally be an a**hole.