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Trevor Hall Talks Coming Home, Touring With Michael Franti and His Newest Album ‘KALA’
Trevor Hall has been making music since birth; no really, he has pictures to prove it. His unique blend of reggae, folk and acoustic rock has captured the attention of fellow artists like Jimmy Cliff, who have taken Hall on as a longtime touring partner. 2015 saw the release of both an EP “Unpack Your Memories” and a new album “KALA.” With both of these milestones under his belt and a busy touring season underway, Trevor took the time to talk with Entertainment Voice about being raised in music, his spirituality and why no one will ever know who those love songs are about.
When did you first discover your love of music? How did growing up in South Carolina effect or influence your sound?
Ever since I was a kid, I remember music around the house. My dad was a drummer; there are pictures of me in a diaper playing the drums (laughs)! So I discovered it right away. Growing up we always had instruments in the house, a piano, a harmonica, music and I were inseparable, it became my life. I was very blessed in that regard, to grow up in that sort of environment. And as far as growing up in South Carolina, you know it’s a beautiful place, it has that small town sort of feel. I’m very lucky to have a family that supports me in everything that I do; it was good to be in a place where I could really focus on my craft. It was nice learning in not too big of a pond, but there comes a time, usually at fifteen or sixteen years old when you want to get out and swim in the big ocean. And it’s funny, you know, we just played a big homecoming show last night there and it was amazing to grow up in a place where everybody knows each other and everyone treats each other like family. It creates such a strong foundation, so to grow up in South Carolina in a small town like that; having that kind of support from your whole community is such a blessing. It was definitely a good thing and it all worked out!
You began writing music very young, how has your process changed from then until now? Are there any tried and true techniques you still use?
It is kind of the same I guess in the sense of; you know for me the music comes first. The music speaks to me and creates a vibe and that in turn inspires the content and what I’m thinking about. I think in the earlier years I was definitely writing songs about which girl I liked (laughs), but as I got older my views changed and I really started to explore my inner self, it became about going deeper into myself by myself. It took on this almost spiritual attitude for me. So in that regard I think it changed, just with growing up and becoming more mature, finding new influences et cetera. But as far as writing goes, I just wait, wait until the music speaks to me and when it does, I just write it down.
Have you ever shared any of these love songs with the person they were about?
No! (laughs) I really have just kept them to myself, I feel like it would be weird!
Hey, you never know, it might be flattering! They might just be waiting for you to tell them and validate that they’ve been thinking for so long!
It is very difficult to put you and your music into a well-defined box, how would you describe your sound today?
I get that question a lot, that’s still a hard one for me to answer.
I mean it’s definitely a good thing, it means you’re interesting.
I’m just influenced by so many different styles of music, they all just sort of meld together. Sometimes I have a reggae song; sometimes I come out with a folk song or something a bit more rock. People ask all the time, “what kind of music do you play?” and I always just say it’s just music. Yes, we put music in certain categories but in essence music is one thing, it’s just sound, it’s vibration. It’s hard for me to put myself in a box, I’m rebellious in that way I guess. I just tell people it’s every genre.
Yeah, my music is literally everything ever in one song.
You’re a well-known yogi, how do the teachings and ideas behind that ancient practice manifest themselves in your music? How does that spiritual aspect influence your mindset?
Definitely, going back to what we were talking about earlier, when I discovered yoga and the yoga experience and philosophy, it completely changed my style. Music is inseparable from my life. There’s no line dividing the two. Whatever is going on within me is what is going to come out in the songs and in my music. For me music and my spirituality are not different, music is my spirituality. Music is my connection to that one supreme thing and that’s how I use it, I use it to explore that universe, my inner self and what I’m seeking. Music is like a blank cloth, it takes on the color you dye it in.
Seriously, with your music it’s almost like listening to someone’s diary, to the point where you feel like you shouldn’t be listening to it because it’s so personal, but at the same time you’re intrigued because it’s so relatable.
(laughs) Really? That’s great! I feel you.
Over the past few years, you’ve been able to tour alongside some pretty amazing acts, from Jimmy Cliff to Michael Franti – who has been your favorite touring partner so far? Is there anyone you’d like to share the stage with in the future that you haven’t already?
I’ve been really blessed to have worked with so many great people; I don’t think I can choose a favorite because each one has really just taught me so many different things. To be honest, everyone has been so enjoyable. I mean, touring with Jimmy Cliff was incredible because, come on, he’s a legend! Just to watch him perform, he might as well be 20 years old! To tour with someone who has inspired you is such a blessing. Then with Michael, he’s been like an uncle to us. He’s always looking out for us and being a huge support, especially on stage he’s taught us so much about playing with other people and truly giving it one hundred percent. Every person has their own lesson and flavor and I’m happy to have worked with them all. As far as In the future goes, growing up I was always so influenced by Ben Harper, touring with him would be a dream come true. There are lots of bands I’d love to tour with, so we’ll just see where it goes!
You’ve had quite the year, touring, releasing an EP and an album “KALA” – What has been the most memorable part of this huge experience this year?
This year so far, so many wonderful things have happened. You know, to be honest like I said earlier we just played my hometown and I haven’t played there in over six years. Just going back there, the album just came out, we have my friends and family there and my dad came on stage and played the drums onstage. He came up on the encore and everyone went completely crazy and just to be in my hometown and say into the mic, “give it up for my dad,” for me it was so beautiful and so full circle, it really sticks out in my mind. I’m doing it. I’m going with the dad card (laughs).
What are you looking forward to most this year?
We just released the album and we are super stoked to share these new songs and new stories with people and seeing how they react. It’s always refreshing for a musician when an album comes out because you know, people come to the show and they get to hear the song they love, which is beautiful! But, when you’re a musician and you’re playing every night, you’re playing the same songs so when the new album comes out it’s so exciting because it’s fresh and you get to share that chapter of your life with people. We’re ready to get the message of KALA out there.