We climbed the stairs in Hailey Calvert’s sunlit apartment, armed with coffees and ready to chat all things creativity. Hailey is a Brisbane based musician who welcomed us into her home to sit in on a mini jam session with her partner (in music, and in life) Jason, and producer Brett Shaw. During our visit, Hailey shared a bit about her process, and her thoughts on what makes a creative life.
I say I’m a musician, because there’s a few different parts to what I do. But the main part for me is that I’m a singer/songwriter.
I guess getting inspiration from life around you to apply to something that speaks to you. I think there’s creativity in so many things, you can be creative without even knowing you’re doing it.
When I’m song writing, usually it’s a small idea, maybe even just a couple of words or a concept. They usually come to me when I’m doing something that’s not at all related to music like driving or going for a walk! Then I’ll record the idea on my phone and sit down with a guitar to expand it later.
Most of my song writing is very personal, so a lot like diary writing. I think some writers are great at taking other people’s experiences or their political views and turning out an amazing song, but for me its always been a very personal thing. Although, I did take inspiration for a song from an episode of Friends once.
For me it comes from being quite bad at it when I started out. I was writing songs that weren’t turning out so great. It didn’t take me long to hear why they weren’t working and use that to create something better. Having been writing for a long time now, I tend to skip past things that probably won’t work early on in the process and move onto better ideas.
If I’ve come up with a great idea for a lyric or song and it’s just not going any further than the idea, I’ll tend to walk away from it. I’ve ruined good ideas before by trying too hard to finish them, so I’ll go and do something else and come back to it later. But if I haven’t got anything, often a movie, or someone else’s music will get me inspired to have a think about some new ideas.
There are times when I listen to some of my earlier recordings and hear a few ways that they would have been better. But you can’t progress without making a few mistakes to learn from. I think that’s why a lot of people give up on a creative process; they presume they aren’t good at it because their start is rocky.
Yes, very much so. I have times where nothing at all comes to me, or maybe a tiny idea forms but I can’t take it any further at that time. I just have to wait until the creativity is there.
I always think taking a creative interest in your space is a great way to start and to inspire yourself. Adjusting your home/work space until it reflects your style and personality. Creating the right space for you can often lead to an urge to be creative in a new way; maybe you find you’ve always wanted a macramé wall hanging so you give that a go. Or the space inspires you to write some ideas down for some song writing.
I think they just haven’t found their outlet yet. I was lucky to find my main creative outlet quite early on, but I’ve since tried and failed at many others! It’s important to make sure you’re being creative just for yourself, at least when you first start. If you pick up a paintbrush thinking ‘I’m going to take up painting and sell my art’ right away, you’ll be so hard on yourself. Be creative for your eyes and ears only at the start, and you’ll have so much more fun.