To make good music and be successful in the industry, it takes grit and determination. Lilly Hart is no stranger to those words. While pursuing a career in music, she has been an integral member of the Birmingham-Southern Basketball team. Growing up in Georgia with a very musical family, Hart has had music inclinations since a very young age. As both a piano player and guitarist to start, she is a self-described singer-songwriter, as she writes, records, and produces all of her music. Her talented songwriting transcends genres and creates music accessible to all. Her style is reminiscent of the brother-sister duo Finneas and Billie Eilish. As you will read later, she credits the duo as being major influences for her. It is not often that you find someone that can balance what should be three full time jobs. While it is easy to see her basketball career and music career in the front of her personality, it is easy to forget that she is also a student as well. When you put these three together you may think that she is too busy to be successful or too busy to have music at her forefront, but that could not further from the truth. Her personality and work ethic are going to propel her to be great. This work ethic has led her to starting this journey that has led her to signing with her first record label and she is preparing to release her first EP. Whether it’s dribbling a basketball, writing a paper, or strumming the guitar, Hart excels at it all, and is one to watch in the industry for years to come.
Clean Capture Magazine sat down with Lilly to discuss her career and future. You can find the transcript of the conversation below. You can also connect with Lily on her social media accounts which are located below as well.
Tell me a little bit about yourself and your music and what was the catalyst for you wanting to start making music?
I've been doing music my whole life. Piano lessons from like age five up until middle school, and then I wanted to focus on basketball. I'm a part of a pretty music family, so I learned guitar at like age 12, and I started writing songs around the same time, but I didn't really take it seriously because I was always busy with basketball or school. Then when Covid hit, I had absolutely nothing to do because everything was canceled and my semester is canceled of my junior year. I just started messing around with different song ideas, melodies, words, and then I wrote my first song, which is called Love's Addiction and it'll be out soon. Then it was like a four month process to like figure out how to record it. I was trying to connect with all these audio engineers and all these studios trying to figure out what's the best way to do this. Then I had to figure out how to put it out all out on all platforms, but after that I kind of got the groove down.
Was there anything specific that struck a lightning bolt in you to start doing it?
I think everyone during Covid was more in touch with their emotions, they kinda had a lot of time to self-reflect. So I guess the self-reflection kind of inspired the various songs that I made, even though the songs themselves are about stories, like things that I've made up, but the emotions, some of the emotions are real, and some of them come from the self-reflecting time that I had during the period of Covid.
Do you have any specific musical influences that you cite that have kind of, you
know, been there for you and you've kind of taken keys from?
People have told me I sound a lot like Billy Eilish, I really like that because she is one of my biggest inspirations. I watched a lot of her interviews about how she just likes to stay real and stay in touch. A lot of her songs are sadder and I think a lot of mine are too, Drive Slow isn't, but the ones to come are. I think it's important to have sad music because people can connect to it better. So I'd say she was, she was like 19 at the time, and I'm 19 now, so I think that we were close in age, we were similar and she's definitely one of my biggest inspirations, and so is Finneas, her brother who writes for her because I think of myself as a songwriter first. So I think he's also one of my biggest inspirations.
You do all of your own songwriting and lyric writing then?
Yes, I write all of my own songs, I produce all of my own songs, I play all the instruments whether it's synth or real, then I write all the melodies, and I write all the lyrics.
You were talking a little bit about the sadness in your music. Do you have any specific themes that you like to go for? I know sadness being one of them, but what do you feel really passionate about writing about?
I think that teenagers feel the most emotion. I feel like they're the most lost. I feel that as you age, I think that everyone feels some sort of sadness, some sort of not even sadness, just like a feeling of what am I doing? What's my purpose? I do feel like teenagers feel that the most, but at the same time, so do adults. I have an adult audience, I have obviously a lot of teenagers listening to my music, and that's the age group that listens to it the most, but I do have an adult audience who also listens, who I think also connects with it. I try to be broad when I write, at least for the emotions behind it, the stories are pretty specific, but not a lot of them are real. So I guess just feeling like you don't need a reason to feel down, you don't need a reason to feel lost, even if nothing super bad has happened to you, you can still not be okay. It's okay not to be okay. So that's kind of the message I guess I want to convey.
How does it make you feel that you have these kids listening to your music and maybe getting inspired by it?
It feels amazing! It's not a lot of people right now, but some people have DM’d me saying, “Your song really helped me through this or that, or stuff like that.” It makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I did it for the right reasons. Obviously I don't owe anything to anyone, but, if someone listens to my song, just one person and it changes how they look on things for a situation, then that's amazing and I hope I can continue to do that.
Do your teammates listen to your music a lot?
They do, yeah. I hope they're not lying when they say they listen to it in the car, but they know almost every word to a couple of my songs and it makes me happy. They were really excited when I was on TV the other day for the first time. They're great supporters. I love them.
How hard is it for you balancing basketball and music right now?
I think I picked DIII, not that I had offers for DI or anything, but I wanted to go DIII since junior year since I started making music. That was my goal because I knew that I can balance different things here. You can have the life of a student and still be an athlete.
Do you have any plans to tour or play shows after the season's over?
I've played some shows, while I've been here, like local shows. I probably won't go on tour anytime soon just because I'm not that big yet. The record label wants to use the basketball and school angle as something unique to get into the industry because it's really hard to get into the industry these days. So they want me to be this student athlete first, as long as I can until I'm big enough to go on tour, and then I'll really consider my options. I'm gonna do a couple shows here and there. I'm gonna try to do some shows in Atlanta and Nashville.
Do you have any people that you would want to tour with, or any big acts that you'd love have bring you on tour?
I would love to tour with Lizzie McAlpine. I don't think she is necessarily well-known to everyone, but she has a beautiful voice and she's also a singer-songwriter. I saw her show in September, and it was one of the best shows I've ever been to. It's just her and her voice, it's raw, it's real, and so I would love to tour with her. I'd love to write with her. She's one of the people I would absolutely love to write with.
Do you have any plans for a full length album anytime soon?
I don't have a release date yet, but I have an EP coming out very soon, probably March, and a single coming out before the EP sometime in February. So I'm excited. Because of that ESPN video I have a lot of new listeners who haven't heard these songs, so I'm excited to show it to them. I think they're really gonna like it.
What do you wanna accomplish in the next five years?
That's a tough question. I want to make music my career hopefully, whether that's being a touring artist or whether that's just being a songwriter. I think one of my ultimate goals is to write soundtracks for movies and TV shows. I’m always going to make my own music and share my own music, but I just wanna be intertwined in the songwriting part of the industry.
You can connect with Lilly at any of the links below.