In anticipation of Inspiro Fest 2015 — the third annual communal arts festival featuring live theatre and music performances, local vendors, healers, workshops and more — B*TRU ARTS spoke with some of the featured performing guests.
Here, Texas native Hillie Lyman, 35, shares her music career story, some surprising facts and plans for the near future.
B*TRU ARTS: Where are you from, and how did you end up in Austin?
Lyman: I'm originally from Corpus Christi, and grew up near Luckenbach, Texas in a town called Sisterdale. [I was drawn to Austin by] music, an open mind ready for adventure; the vast amount of water and nature.
Tell me about your music career.
When I was about eight, I would pretend to be Aimee Mann, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and Whitney Houston amongst so many others and would use broken tree limbs as my guitar.
I am a classically trained vocalist and studied musical theatre for many years. I was always playing fretted instruments and writing songs alongside but had trouble figuring out how my studies and passions could fuse together. I was a 5 a.m. lifeguard at a YMCA (at an outdoor pool) and kept falling asleep because no one came to swim there. I asked a friend if I could borrow his ukulele, and it not only kept me awake but opened me to a completely new way of creating songs. They came pouring out and suddenly I was playing live show, self producing an EP and touring the West and East US coasts.
Is your music a full-time gig?
Music has been mostly a full-time gig for 10 years, and the goal is to get to where it is my one and only. I also work in Recreational Therapy at the School for the Blind, am currently in school for Music and Sound Design. I am also a Yoga Teacher and bartender at Esther's Follies on the weekends to help pay for music gear and such.
How would you describe your music in one sentence?
Indie flavor blends folk and pop, taking you on a feel-good journey.
Who are your biggest influences (in music or life in general)?
I was in the Madonna Fan Club until I was 16 — 'cause she kills it. I am inspired by other humans that generate love, tolerance and kindness through daily mindfulness in action.
What might people be surprised to know about you?
I am passionate about writing film scores and orchestral pieces and am quite the pianist.
What can we expect to see at your performance at Inspiro Fest this Saturday?
My drummer Dave and I will be performing a stripped down, super fun set, with organic and poppy sounds!
Where can listeners hear your music or learn more about you?
What does the future hold for Hillie Lyman?
We are recording an EP and going on tour this summer to the West Coast. A music release will also happen in August.
See Lyman's performance and join B*TRU ARTS and the Integrity Academy for the 3rd Annual Inspiro Fest, 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, June 13 at Casa De Luz, 1701 Toomey Road, Austin, Texas 78704.