Hayley Jane Batt

After becoming one of the most in-demand bass players on the Manhatten music scene just one year after gaining her music degree in Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music, things are looking great for Hayley Jane Batt.

We got the chance to chat to the rising star about her future hopes and dreams, how she got into the world of music and just who she'd love to work with if given the opportunity.

You only got your music degree last year - how does it feel to be so in demand already?

I feel really lucky that I came to New York with such a great network of musicians. That, along with word of mouth (and craigslist!) definitely helps with getting gigs while starting off in a new city. I am just grateful to have been working for this past year, I love being here, and I love the bands that I am playing with.

Has music always been a passion of yours?

Absolutely! Although, I wouldn’t say it was always a career choice. When I was younger I wanted to be an artist. I still had this idea when I was in my teens, I did art A-level and thought about going to art college, however I found myself never wanting to go down to the art room, and spending all my time in the music practice rooms singing and writing songs. So this made me re-evaluate what I actually wanted to spend my time doing. This was also around the same time that I fell in love with bass, and realized that I was happiest when playing music with other people.

What are some of your earliest memories relating to music?

I remember being one of the ‘five gold rings’ from the 12 days of Christmas in my nursery school nativity play, I must have been 4 or 5 years old. I was very chuffed because my mum had covered a headband in gold ribbon, of which I could put around my waist when not needed, and then hold up to the sky whenever I sung ‘Five goooolldddd rinnggsss’. That was probably the first time I enjoyed being on stage. Before then I was very shy, and would run off stage, cry, or not go on at all during school performances.

What is it about music that you love?

It can change your mood in an instant, there is always a song that can be cathartic, or make you feel better. There is no greater feeling than playing great music with great musicians. It’s the best feeling in the world.

How different is the American music scene to the British?

I think that the live scene is better out here for a gigging musician like myself. I’ve been able to gig once a week or more for a year, and I’m not sure that demand is present in the UK. Though I do always look out for new British artists, because I trust them for great music. Americans definitely take themselves more seriously than the British, and I think that comes across in the music scenes as well!

If you could choose to collaborate with anybody - who would you choose and why?

Beyonce, because she’s fabulous, and I’d love to play in her all girl band!

How difficult of a skill is bass playing to pick up?

I think it’s like any instrument, it can be easy to a certain point, but if you want to really immerse yourself in it, then that takes time and experience. It’s all about timing, and intuition, and that comes from really understanding the role of the bass player, through listening and transcribing records, and really loving what you do.

What advice would you give to someone chasing a similar dream to yours?

Trust your intuition, and listen. Listen to records, learn from then, and listen to people! Also, just be a nice person; A lot of people get hired because they are easy to work with, and a nice vibe to have whilst on tour, in a rehearsal room, and on stage – that is just as important as being good at what you do!

Do you have any upcoming projects that you can share some details about?

I am currently playing with a great girl called Catey Shaw, she was the first gig that I got in New York, so it’s very close to my heart. She has a record coming out in the new year, hopefully followed by a tour. I also play with my friend, who goes under the name of ‘Tei Shi’. Freelance Whales, the other band I play in, have a record coming out next year with a hopeful tour too! Other than that, I am slowly working on my own songs, and sound, in hope to release something late 2014.

Hayley seems set for big things - keep an eye out for her in the coming months and years.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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