Interview: Getting To The ‘Soul’ Of Deni Hines

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An infectious smile, beauty for miles, and a voice that’s as smooth as chocolate. An intelligent and strong woman, Deni Hines is back with a killer new album: The Soul Sessions.

Her last album was The Other Woman, a stunning jazz album performed with music maestro James Morrison back in 2007, so us fans have been eagerly waiting and champing at the bit for her next music instalment – and friends, there is no disappointment to be found here.

Lapping it up, I chilled back, with a fine wine, to a couple of her personally penned tracks, I Got Your Back (co-written with Clive Young & Damian Smith), Runnin’ (co-written with Darren Dowlut & Dennis Dowlut) and of course the album headliner, What About Love (co-written with Edward Said) which is a vibrant and snappy track which showcases Deni’s ‘sent from heaven’ vocal talents.

From there the album covers (and does total justice to) a plentiful array of tracks originally performed by the likes of Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder. My personal highlight, an Erma Thomas song made mega-popular by Janis Joplin, Piece Of My Heart. With its slow deep & heavy beat and Deni’s rich voice yearning for you to take a piece of her heart, this song deserves accolades. Totally.

We’re going to chat with Deni about the album.

ROCKPOP: Hey Deni, welcome to ROCKPOP, firstly, congratulations on the release of your sensational new album The Soul Sessions. How long have you been actively working on this one and what inspired you?
Deni Hines: Hey, thanks for having me. I first began the idea for this album about two years ago.  It came about when I decided to do some low-key, intimate shows. And thus, the seed was planted.

RP: It’s been a bit between albums, what got you to get back into the studio?
DH: Yeah… it has been a bit between songs, hasn’t it? I took some time out after getting married and to do lots of songwriting.  Performing the intimate shows got me thinking about recording an album of ‘soul’ tracks and music close to my heart.

RP: Where do you see your influences come from for this album?
DH: This album is kind of like a glimpse into some of my record collection. As well as the kind of music I grew up with – thanks to mum!

RP: The lead single which you co-penned is What About Love which is brilliant and has been received really well, do you have a personal favorite from the album?
DH: I’m really proud of What About Love. As its the first song I wrote myself on GarageBand! If I had to pick the best vocal on my album – it would be Been So Long by Anita Baker.

RP: Are you keen to get your mum’s (Australia’s Queen of Pop, Marcia Hines) thoughts on the album and the songs you choose for the track list?
DH: Mum heard The Soul Sessions from the first mixes. She thought it was great.

RP: Are you set to do a tour around Australia with this new music?
DH: I would love to tour this album. Let’s see what unfolds. Fingers crossed!

RP: I’m sure your public awaits eagerly. The cover art is awesome! Who is that artist? How much of your time & deliberation goes into finding the perfect album cover?
DH: The art was painted by a fanatic New Zealand artist by the name of Gabrielle Poole. I did my first trip to Africa with Gabrielle. I only had one sitting for the painting. She’s that good! Check her out. Some of her work is online at www.gabriellepool.com

RP: Which current artists are you listening to that you are really admiring at the minute?
DH: I’m loving. Lalah Hathaway, Anderson Park, Tribe Called Quest (new album) Gregory Porter & Snarky Puppy. Just to name a few. I’m always listening to new music as well.

RP: Do you think the music industry has changed much since you first started out?
DH: The way of getting music out to the public has changed.  It used to be that you needed a Record Label to shovel tonnes of money into an act to make sure it stuck with the public. Now with the world becoming “smaller” with the help of the Internet, people are doing albums in their bed rooms and putting it on YouTube or Vimeo and every other digital platform. It’s become easier in many ways but also harder in others as so many artists are now doing their own releases so there’s a lot out there!

RP: Your choice of anyone in the world, who would you most like to do a music collaboration with?
DH: I would love to sing with Snarky Puppy.  That band is off the chain!

RP: Have you been working on any other projects between albums?
DH: I’ve been writing a lot with a friend of mine named Mike Pansini. Let’s see what becomes of those songs, I think they are some of my best yet!

RP: You’ve had a varied career also, we saw you in Dusty – The Original Pop Diva in 2006, would you like to do further gigs like that?
DH: Musicals are great for honing your craft.  I’ll definitely do another one when the right one comes along.

RP: And we’ve seen you on TV in The Celebrity Apprentice, could we see a return to TV possibly? Deni on Home & Away or Neighbours perhaps?
DH: Haha, no! I’ll just keep singing, that’s my thing.

RP: Would you ever consider becoming a judge or mentor on a talent show?
DH: Never say never. Although I can say that at this time in my life, I have no plans to do so. But the door is not completely closed. It would have to be for the right reasons.

RP: Deni, thank you for spending some time with us and we wish you all the best for a successful album and a brilliant 2017.
DH: Thank you for wanting to chat to me. I really hope you really enjoy listening to The Soul Sessions!


Deni Hines’ album, The Soul Sessions, is out now! Grab a listen. www.denihines.com

Make sure to check out all the other fabulous things happening over at ROCKPOP!

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