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Interview With Hope Easton

Your name "Hope" is simple yet powerful. Can you elaborate on why you chose this name or moniker to represent your music and identity? How does the name "Hope" reflect your artistic philosophy or the themes you explore in your music? Hope: Hope is that thing with feathers…that one cannot quite understand. But people do say” I Hope”, quite a lot! Philosophy, well that is a big headline to attribute music to, I think, and or even artistry. But as per the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality… in an academic sense….I think therein lies another dimension altogether when music is involved. Music is in a category all by itself, even music within music….to purely what the mind can understand. It is mixed with feelings, emotions, sound waves, frequencies, instruments, vibes, the air… That being said if I had an artistic philosophy it is just I do my best when I hear something or I want to communicate a feeling (mood, thought, idea, question) and put all that energy and more into sound. And whether it is a sad song, a fun song, a wacky song, a song that makes no sense, or a song that makes complete sense whenever the listener listens, I hope it brings them some kind of upliftment, or ability to feel more, understand something more ( life, themselves, others…) makes their moment a little brighter and better! That would be the best philosophy; which is literally meaning in Greek, Philo ( φιλί ) the love of wisdom, and also kiss, friend, and affection. If some of the music I make brings any of those qualities, I guess I would be bringing some hope too. I do try to create lyrics that are somewhat abstract, here and there…or use wordplay within meaning because the essence is the sound and the feeling. A song can affect everyone in a completely unique way, unique to them, their life, their circumstances and intertwinings and that is also amazing. Just the idea. Also, songs are very subjective, in half the pop tunes I love, I hear lyrics that are different from what are being sung and I think that is fine. But mostly I am grateful if people listen.

Press shot for Hope Easton.

You've mentioned classical composers like Bach, Brahms, and Beethoven as influences. How do you incorporate elements from classical music into your own compositions? Hope: Well I think my instrument is steeped in the classical music. I have used some themes from famous composers here and there, and a few times in a band situation the other musicians started playing famous classical melodies in the instrumental sections. I have a song (not recorded yet) that I start and end it on a great melody from "Cesar Franck Sonata," originally written for Violin and Piano. I really like the melody so I made a song out of it. Can you share a specific instance where your classical background influenced a decision you made while creating a contemporary piece of music? Well, I also used an etude (Popper High School of Cello Playing #1), that I was practicing and turned it into a song, “Bastet”, check out the video on YouTube. You mentioned that life itself serves as inspiration for your songwriting. Could you provide an example of a personal experience that directly influenced the creation of one of your songs? Hope: When my Father died, all I could do was play the piano and I think I wrote one of my best love songs, “All This Love”. How do you approach turning life's experiences, whether challenging or joyful, into lyrical narratives that resonate with listeners? Hope: That is when you either create a story, or just express what you are feeling and put it into words, usually from life's circumstances, relationships, etc., however, they come out. And hopefully, they come out with great rhyming and interesting words, not just oo baby… baby and some kind of cohesive concept whether it be a story or a more abstract feeling/idea/energy. Sometimes I get lyrics that pop into my head, and if I do I write them down, and then sometime later they usually get into or turn into a song. Collaborating with Bjork and Torii Wolf sound intriguing. What specific qualities or aspects of their music do you find most appealing and aligning with your own artistic vision? Hope: Well, Torii and I worked with on someone elseʼs project and it just seemed to work well. Bjork, mostly because people tell me they hear her in my music, I personally donʼt hear it, but I'm subjective! How do you believe a collaboration with an artist like Bjork or Torii Wolf could potentially push your creative boundaries and lead to unique musical expressions? Hope: With Torii, I think it would be great to sing together…or just have her sing on a tune. I think we are always being pushed when you learn other peopleʼs music or arrangements regardless in what musical genre. With Bjork, because she is always pushing some boundaries whether it is visually ( her incredible outfits ) or the video and then how she writes. I think it could only be interesting to fascinating….to work with that calibre of artist. And I will put it out there that Taylor Swift definitely needs some cellists in her circle… If she happens to come across this article! And one that sings! The concept of being savored and loved is central to your single "Savor Hope." Could you share more about the emotions you aimed to capture through this song and the message you hope listeners receive? Hope: Again I am playing on the words of Savior, and Savor. I think we can all give some affection, and love energy towards one another to make the others feel cared for, savored! And let go of what was, whatever it was (that is a daily meditation) and find something anything to savor. It's the beginning of being grateful… Just give the love, the savoring, the connection like tasting your favorite flavor. How does "Savor Hope" contribute to the overarching themes or narrative of your musical journey as a whole? Hope: Maybe that I am fairly reflective of my “reality”, my relationships, my thoughts, feelings, how life has its incredible paradigms, synchronicities etc…and Im looking for a way to become my own savior…to savor oneself and then others. Or others first and then oneself. Whichever comes first. I think if we savor ourselves and others it will bring the consciousness up in frequency. And then the song is kind of jazzy and for me Jazz music without question always makes me happy when I play it! Besides the lyrical theme, is there a particular sonic or musical element in "Savor Hope" that you believe will stand out to listeners and leave a lasting impression? Hope: Well, my brother is playing electric guitar throughout the tune. Hank Easton and he is pretty phenomenal. There are keys and a bass rhythm, but no cello on this one, so that already makes it different sonically than a lot of my tunes. I like to have different type of sounding songs… Not just the same, even though most artists have a distinctive style of writing. And I think the harmonies are great in this tune. I tend to gig with the electric cello as the vocal line/voice too, on this tune and the harmony vocal lines are great to have piping through the track.

What do you believe sets your music apart and makes it resonate with your audience in a unique way? Hope: Well with most of the songs, it is the cello. And I think it sets me apart because not every singer-songwriter plays cello. And I think it is, the cello, as witness to the number of people that tell me so, their favorite instrument. It has the range of the human voice and somehow it goes straight into all the chakras of the body.

HOPE2020 is your most recent album. Could you provide insight into the creative process behind one of the standout tracks on the album, highlighting how it came together from concept to completion? Hope: "Small Monster" was an allusion to the coronavirus… The original name of the pandemic. And it was literally created during that strange time, so the tune has some crazy clarinet, bass clarinet, and even sax I think soloing throughout the tune which really makes it unusual. The more outside the “pop” paradigm it goes, for me, the more creative the possibilities. And of course without saying within specific parameters.

Are there any recurring motifs or themes throughout HOPE2020 that tie the album together as a cohesive musical experience? Hope: Well, 2020, which is the new timeline, seemingly to many people, they canʼt remember what happened before, or people didnʼt see each since then. And 2020- Age of Aquarius, is my take timeline wise…and the identification that the Aquarian age is amongst us. It is hopeful, fun, a bit jazzy and strangely classical. The cello is written and driven, with lyrics which are pretty straightforward. The reference to 20/20, ‘2020 and what those numbers represent to me! As per the entire CD, I had been working on a lot of the songs and they were finished as singles, video too and I was asked to perform at an event in Texas, so I put together HOPE2020.

"Starry Night" and "Small Monster" are your favorite songs on the album. Could you explain the personal significance of these tracks to you and your creative journey? Hope: Well I wrote these two with my co-writing colleague, friend, and musician extraordinary guy, Leo Chelyapov. So I always enjoy writing with him, because he plays piano so well, and I can just guide the melody and where I want to go (lyrics when they come) and not play an instrument too. A bit of fun to just sing and not do both, but of course, I love to play instruments, so there you go! When you perform live, whether your own songs or covers, is there a specific emotional connection or interaction with the audience that you particularly enjoy? Hope: Well yes, the greatest pleasure is to make people feel and move. Whether it is a sad song, an emotional melody or a rocking tune the audience is as important as the performer! If it makes their night, whether the specific song I played or the overall vibe, then Im happy and feel Iʼm fulfilling my dharma. Otherwise, youʼre just playing for yourself, which is fine, but so much better to share.

Performing internationally in places like London, Paris, and Athens sounds exciting. How do you envision the cultural backdrop of these cities influencing your performances and connecting with local audiences? Hope: Well I love meeting new people and being in new places, and especially new audiences. I have spent some time in each of those places, longer than 6 months. So if I could meet up with friends, colleagues, or musicians from my past and new ones…that would be awesome! And if a tour happens, I will be there ASAP! Is there a specific song from your repertoire that you believe would resonate particularly well with audiences in these diverse locations? Hope: A few of them would I believe, the popish tunes, some ballads and some of the Jazzy ones. Even the more classical-ish-styled tunes I think. If I had to pick one I would say "2020 Age of Aquarius," because with only a photo on YouTube, it has the most listens and views! But some of my new tunes are for me catchy and audience accepted! "War of Words," "Logic," and "Time," which arenʼt on HOPE2020. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, can you give us a sneak peek into any themes or concepts that might be inspiring your upcoming music releases? Hope: In terms of live shows, are there any special venues or festivals you're aiming to perform at, or any particular goals you hope to achieve in the coming months? Yes, I have a new song release, and am planning a music video very very soon. And I am always looking for new venues to perform in. So I will keep that information updated on my website. As we wrap up today, is there a message or piece of advice you'd like to share with aspiring musicians who might be inspired by your journey and music? Hope: As someone said to me many moons ago, do it because you love it. No other reasons, if you get lucky, then so be it! Well, the last part about the luck is me saying! Feel free to use this space to share any upcoming releases, performances, or exciting updates that your fans and new listeners should be on the lookout for. Well, the new tune: "Winds of Change," I am hoping will be out this fall. September is the High Holidays in the Jewish religion so back to my classical upbringing to perform Kol Nidre here in LA. Any new concerts I am so fortunate to be in and shows to create, I will have more information on my website: Please take a look! Also, most of the music I have is on Spotify Apple, Amazon, Youtube etc… Soundcloud. Hope to keep connecting to the world and the people on it!

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