Months back I was talking to someone (on a dating site) that said he was a DJ, and I mentioned that I dabbled in songwriting as a hobby. He asked me what genre I was. This question stumped me. I was brought back to my days in high school where I had to classify myself as a jock, prep, goth, nerd, etc. I did not know then what category I fit into, so I said to myself, "Oh no, I don't fit in again." I asked him what he would classify my music as, and he stated that he thought it would be "Hope Folk". I wasn't sure what that was, but I liked it.
Fast forward a few months, and my hobby consumed me. I ached at work until I could get home from my job and write songs. They were playing in my head all day. Someone would say an interesting phrase, and it just stayed until I made a song. Something else took over me, and I became less shy about my hobby and began posting videos of me playing my songs in the bathroom on Facebook and YouTube. I did not get a million hits, but a few people listened. Most people were nice, and like always, there were a few trolls, but I did not care. Some driving force compelled me to get my music out.
Through a songwriting group, I met a producer with which I was comfortable and recorded my singles. He, his wife, and I were discussing which genre I fit into, and we were stumped. He knew I had been influenced by pop, rock, country, and folk, and she said she just knew my songs were honest. I had completely forgotten about "Hope Folk".
After sending my music to several bloggers, I received a lot of rejections. The fact that I was on the Island of Misfit Musicians did not help me gain acceptance. Consequently, I decided to say, "Fudge it! I'm creating my own genre, and I'm calling it Hope Folk!" All the great musicians didn't get there by forcing themselves to fit with a group. They got there by being different. Hope Folk is something that has heart, humor, honesty, and hope. It is influenced by so many genres that it cannot fit into one, but most importantly, the artist is genuine. The performances do not always have perfectly auto tuned voices or powerhouse vocals. Think about Johnny Cash, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and others; their voices weren't perfection, but the beauty lied in their imperfection, what they had to say, and the feeling they put into it. Our imperfections are what make us interesting. They are not performing just for money; they are performing because they are compelled to do it. Hope Folk artists do it because they have something to say.
As I look back on my rejection through school, I had a category all along, and it was of my own creation. I didn't have a title for it then, but I picked the friends that did not really have a group and created my own. Since the music industry appears to be high school all over again, I am doing the same now!
Peace, Love, and Hope,
Holly Nicole Combs