Artist Spotlight

"...find a way to use your fear and embrace it."

-Tita Hutchison

 Club1506 Interview with Tita Hutchison
Tita Hutchison, a woman of many talents, hails from The United States of America, in a state many refer to as a paradise. She's worked with many record labels, like Sony, Columbia, and more. She's also worked with a number of groups, artists, and musicians like Dolly Parton and Michael Jackson. She's also a vocal instructor at the Musicians Institute. Her album “Hello Love” is a wonderful display of her talents, especially her soulful sound, and her passion for making good music. Club1506 got a chance to interview Tita via, what Bob Ross would call, a happy accident. Long story short, a video was shared to the Club1506 Facebook of a couple doing a parody of Adele's song "Hello". Thinking it was Tita, an invite was sent to do an interview, further research revealed the mistake that was made. However Ms. Hutchison completely understood and still did the interview that Club1506 is proud to present to you.

Thank you Ms. Hutchison for taking the time to do an interview with us. To get started, could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
Well, first I want to thank you for interviewing me! I’m from Hawaii and part Hawaiian, I am very proud of that. Everything about the culture, the climate and island living shaped who I am as an individual and my music. Also, both my parent’s were in “show business”. Mom was born and raised in Hawaii, Dad hailed from Arkansas. They both had dreams to be dancers on Broadway and that’s where they met! Eventually moving to Hawaii, my father became the Artistic Director for the Honolulu City Ballet as well as the Diamond Head Theater. And with Mom either starring in or assisting with the majority of the productions, most of my childhood was spent in and around the Theater and the Ballet. I’m a product of my environment for sure, and it was wonderful.

When I first got the bug to perform I started in my parents footsteps as a dancer, and had a scholarship for many years. I loved being able to express emotion with my body. I was incredibly shy so this was awesome for me! But I also loved to sing! So I begged for lessons and studied for a short time with an opera coach around the age of 12. I loved it! But after I brought in way to many pop and rock songs, we parted ways! I continued to dance and dabbled in choir, sing with my high school madrigal group, work for my father both on and backstage, and well, other than the normal life stuff that happens, it was a pretty rich childhood.

In high school I had decided that I was going to move to New York and follow in my parent’s footsteps BUT, at the age of 17 I was in a pretty terrible car accident that damaged my right foot. Ending any dreams of a dance career. Which to be honest, I was okay with. I really wanted to sing. Fate stepped in and decided for me. So, after that I decided to pursue music non-stop. I attended college, and did all the things I thought I should and through many, ups and downs…. here I am. pretty much living the dream! I get to do what I love for a living and I’m grateful beyond words.

What inspired you to start creating music and what do you find appealing about singing various genres of music?
As I said before, the combination of my parents being in show business and coming from Hawaii really made it so music - in all forms - was a part of my everyday living, even if I wasn’t quite aware of it in the beginning. My parents were very encouraging and always let my brother and I run with our imaginations. We’d make up stories to amuse ourselves at all hours of the day. And Hawaiian culture is incredibly musical. You didn’t go to any kind of gathering without at least a guitar, ukulele, gut bucket and sometimes piano coming out and everyone singing along to Hawaiian songs: usually in three part harmony. Then people would get up and dance! Being that I was pretty shy as a child, I wouldn’t join in, but instead I would listen and pay close attention to the singing and try to figure out the harmony parts. That was the start…

But the first time it became clear that I might want to try this whole rock and roll singing thing was at a Journey concert. I was a huge fan! Steve Perry’s voice will go down in history as one of my biggest influences. He sent me off to discover Sam Cooke, which sent me to Gladys Knight, to Donny Hathaway etc…. Anyway, it was at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu and I remember almost having an out of body experience. The band was on fire and clearly having a great time, and it seemed as though everything around me went quiet, and all I could see and hear was the band. And I thought: “I want that. That is what I want to do”. It was magic. And I’d love to say the rest was history, but it wasn’t. I had a few more bumps in the road and life lessons to go through before I truly committed. But every time someone asks me when was the moment I realized I wanted to sing, that moment clearly pops in my head.

And I just love to sing. As far as I’m concerned, there is no better expression! It’s almost a spiritual experience for me. Not to get too deep! Once you get into the “zone” and let go to the music, you’re a conduit and the ride is amazing! And I’ve always been fascinated with sound reproduction. This is where my parent’s indulgence came in handy! My brother and I would try to recreate any and all sounds we heard! So, when it came to singing I was always happy to try different genres. Not only was it a new way to express myself, it was a chance to manipulate my voice!

Speaking of releasing media, you also have an album available on your website called Hello Love. How long did it take you to finish that project and what you like listeners to take away from it, to remember?
That album was two years in the making and worth every minute. It started with Michael Thompson (a brilliant guitar player and a dear friend. (Check him out at the link here) Long story short, I had been gigging around town doing a mix of covers and originals pondering the idea of doing an album but not really having the funds or a clear idea. So, I was floundering a little. I also hadn’t found the people who could help me bring it out just yet. The band I was playing with was amazing, but they were hired guns. The songs felt really eclectic in their infant stages and I couldn’t find the thread to bring them together although I knew it was there. At the time, I was giving Michael’s daughter Sahara voice lessons and we had all become quite close. I had also been doing sessions for Michael and had talked to him briefly about doing an album and left it at that. The man was/always is super busy so I didn’t have any expectations or time frame especially since I couldn’t quite verbalize my vision. Around that same time my father had passed away and I had written a song for him called Song For James. And one day, I showed up at the house to give Sahara her lesson and Michael asked me to step into his studio and he proceeded to play the most beautiful arrangement of my father’s song. I was so touched. And the album kind of blossomed from there. I was very fortunate to get the people I did to play on it and produce it: Michael Thompson, Leland Sklar, Lao Tizer, Travis Newlon, Christian Klickovitz, Tim MacIntyre, Justin Apergis, Tim Pedersen and Charlie Waymire.

The whole idea behind the record was I wanted to paint pictures of life and all aspects of love using melody, lyric and tones. I didn’t want it to be complex musically, I’m not that kind of writer, but I wanted soundscapes and Michael knew exactly what needed to happen. Then I brought in Tim Pedersen and Charlie Waymire to mix and produce and they were perfect. All of the songs touch on the different types of love: longing from afar (Shine), familial/remembrance (Song for James), loss (After Always), self love and dissatisfaction with yourself (Frost), romantic (Hello Love). I hope that comes across. I’m very proud of my first solo outing.

You're clearly passionate about making music. Looking at your other works, featured on your website, it's obvious that you put a lot of heart into your work. Whether it's making fun videos or deep soulful music, what are some of the challenges you encounter, and do you overcome them?
I think my worst challenge is me, as cliche as that sounds. I can work a song to death before it ever sees the light of day making the process so slow… but I have found a little trick to get past “me” as it were: I have at least three to five songs going at a time and when I become overly critical or unsatisfied, I move to the next song and eventually come back and finish the first one. It helps me because I come back with fresh eyes and ears. And - for me - it makes the process faster. It probably doesn’t sound that way but it works! I promise! It also keeps me in the flow creatively. I don’t do well in creative down time. Once it hits, I have a hell of a time starting back up again and tend to get really down on myself. To quote Caddy Shack: So, I got that going which is nice.

Has the path you chosen, as a recording artist, taught you any lessons that you would like to share with fans or fellow artist?
Absolutely, don’t give into the fear. Find a way to use it. My being a wall flower took forever to overcome! I let so many opportunities pass because I was too scared and thought I wasn’t good enough or ready. Which in hindsight is silly. I was good enough. Because I was so shy, I worked extra hard so I wouldn’t give reasons for people to negative talk. If anything I was over ready! But I was scared of the unknown. I’m certainly not now, but if I could give advice, find a way to use your fear and embrace it. Those feelings are real, and it’s ok to be nervous but don’t let it stop you. Breathe it into what you’re about to do. Turn it into a positive energy, because it’s so freeing when you do. The bottom line is, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow yet you get up everyday and go throughout your day… So, why not take the chance on something even more rewarding?

We've asked about the lessons learned along the road you're on. According to your Facebook profile, you were a vocal instructor at the Musicians Institute. So what is a free piece of advice that you would like to another artist, group, songwriter, or person who is thinking about entering the music industry?
My advice would be, learn your craft inside and out. Then, once you do, experiment and always remember: music is fun. It’s a beautiful, whimsical, emotive language that everyone speaks.

You have a lovely voice, you're driven, and you're talented. Where do you see yourself and your music in the future?
Thank you so much. I have another solo EP in the works. No dates yet… BUT in the meantime, I’ve been working with artist Lao Tizer. We recorded a live album and it’s due out in the beginning of next year. It’s been a wonderful ride! He is a fusion artist and it’s been so fun to stretch and be challenged musically! The musicians he works with - both on the album and gigs with - are ridiculously good! I am in awe and giddy like a school girl when we play gigs. So to answer you question more specifically, I see myself doing exactly what I have been doing: making a living: singing, writing, shopping songs, doing voice over, collaborating and making music to the best of my ability. Where it goes from there is in the hands of fate. I just hope she’s kind to me and sees fit that I should continue!

Fun and completely silly question: If you could, what would be a tool or device that you would like to make to help you create music, and how would it work?
Some device like in the Matrix where they plug in to your brain and I immediately know how to play any instrument I want without all the time! Sometimes I have an idea with a certain instrument in mind but I can’t play it and loops don’’t quite cut it!

Do you have any final thoughts for your supporters and listeners?
I’m just grateful to be here.

And we're grateful that you've taken some time to tell us about yourself and talk about your music. Once again, Ms. Hutchison, thank you for taking the time to answer all of these questions.

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