"I was always so shy of my voice because I didn’t sound like everyone else."
Up-and-coming R&B pop singer Hollie Carmen sold out her debut EP ('Plan B') launch show at The Waiting Room in London on Tuesday night (19.03.19) - and it's clear to see why.
The 20-something Londoner certainly has some stunning, soulful pipes on her, and her old school R&B and jazz influences run through the four-track EP, which producer Lauren Faith - who oversaw the whole thing - worked her magic on with a modern pop production.
She also worked with musician-and-songwriter Oscar Scheller on the EP, who has worked with the likes of Lily Allen and Mabel.
There is a real theme of independence and female empowerment across the songs, and Hollie opting to work with a female producer in Lauren - who has worked with Craig David - is a great statement for the EP and for females working in music as a whole, showcasing how powerful women are when they come together in a male-dominated industry.
Ahead of the release day of 'Plan B', Hollie spoke to Lizzie's Lowdown about realising she wanted to be a singer from very early on, when her grandmother would rock her to sleep singing jazz numbers, her dreams of collaborating with Drake and winning "a couple" of Grammys.
Speaking about the EP, Hollie said: "It's a snippet of my diary. The whole EP has been executively produced by Lauren Faith, who is an incredible musician and producer, so there are a lot of soulful vibes and live elements."
It's evident through the seamlessness of 'Plan B' that Hollie is a natural when it comes to writing and recording music, but she admits it was difficult to let go of the songs because she is such a "perfectionist".
She said: "I don’t feel anything was particularly difficult [about making the EP], but because I am such a perfectionist, I found it hard to know when it was time to stop working on each song and to accept that they were finished."
Hollie was an early bloomer at songwriting, unaware that she had penned her first song when she was just primary school age.
She recalled: "I remember writing a song, I must have been about six or seven, but obviously wasn’t aware that I had actually written a song."
It's hard to believe that Hollie was "shy" of her voice when she first realised she could sing.
She explained: "I was always so shy of my voice because I didn’t sound like everyone else."
Her earliest memory of music is her grandmother playing her jazz songs to send her off to sleep - perhaps that's where the dream-like quality to her voice comes from - and she has been surrounded by music her whole life as her parents are also singers.
She said: "My mum is a performer and my dad also has a great set of pipes, so I come from quite a musical family.
"My grandma would sing me jazz songs to sleep and I remember always wanting to be like her."
Hollie cites the likes of Prince, Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu as influences, but is also a huge fan of Dua Lipa's "energy" and artists like Frank Ocean, Drake and Khalid.
The latter two she would love to get into the studio with one day.
She said: "I love Dua's energy; she’s such a great performer."
On who she'd like to collaborate with, Hollie admitted: "There are so many artists/producers/writers that I would love to work with.
"It would be cool to work with Khalid; I love his new single.
"I’ve also always wanted to collab with Drake."
Hollie strikes us as someone very humble, as she admits she would love to be able to take her mum on "any holidays she wants" if she hits the big time, but she is also ambitious - rightly so - and would love to win Grammys and make it across the pond.
Asked where she sees herself in five years time, she replied: "Making albums and touring. Also to take my mum on any holidays she wants."
On her aspirations, she continued: "To keep growing as an artist, making authentic music that people relate to, touring America, a couple of Grammys and a couple of No1s ... not too big really!"
Hollie concludes the chat by teasing that she will have plenty more new music on the way and hopefully a headline tour soon.
Hollie Carmen's EP 'Plan B' is out now.