Singing since the day the world gave her a voice, Naomi H. was born to make music—all kinds of music. And whether she’s singing the passionate pop songs of Beyoncé or the amped-up anthems of Led Zeppelin, she has a blast. Full of character and confidence, Naomi brings this month’s Student Spotlight to life as she tells us what fuels her passion for music and what advice she has for future performers.
MM: How long have you been involved with music? When did you know that you wanted to make it a part of your life?
NH: I’ve been singing since I was able to talk! When I was just three years old, I used to sit in the bathtub and sing what happened during the day. If you want to know how long I’ve been seriously singing, then that would be eleven years ago, when I was about seven years old. My first lessons were classical training and then I started with Molly when I was eleven. I knew that I wanted to make music a major part of my life when I did my first performance with the school band in sixth grade. The feeling I got when performing really solidified that singing wasn’t just a passion anymore.
MM: What music do you like to listen to? To sing?
NH: My music taste is pretty extensive and eclectic. While my favorite genres are pop and alternative rock, I love the greats of every genre. Well…every genre except for heavy metal. I’m not hardcore enough yet. Maybe one day. *drives off on a motorcycle and metal growls into the sunset.* But really, I listen to everything from Muse to Dean Martin to Norah Jones to Drake to One Direction.
The music I sing is a combination of songs that I love and songs that sound good on my voice, naturally. My favorite artists to cover are P!nk, Paloma Faith, Norah Jones, Sara Bareilles and Katy Perry. I also love to sing classic rock and alternative rock like Muse and Led Zeppelin. That’s mostly the influence of my school band though.
MM: Inspiration isn’t always easy to come by. What inspires you to sing and perform?
NH: Honestly, I’m not really sure how to answer this question. I get so much joy out of performing that I don’t really need inspiration to do so. When it comes to songwriting though, finding inspiration can be really hard. Sometimes I go on the swings for a while. Sitting on the swings and just starting to sing about everything around me gets my brain warmed up for songwriting. Like normal writing, I find that starting with anything, even if it’s not great, helps a lot.
MM: So we hear you’re in a band. Tell us about it! What kind of music do you play?
NH: When you put it like that it sounds a lot cooler than it actually is haha. Essentially, I’ve been the lead singer of my school rock band, called Garage Band, for five years now. In the class, we cover rock songs for the most part and the occasional pop song (with my influence). In the past, some of the songs we’ve done are “Long Time” by Boston, “Fool in the Rain” by Led Zeppelin, literally any Muse song you can name, a Beatles medley and “At Last” by Etta James. We usually cover about twelve songs a year, so that’s just a small taste of the class. I really love it though. Garage Band really brought up my confidence, not only in singing, but in myself as well. Not only that, but I’ve made some great friends. Once a month the group of us from the sixth grade band goes to IHOP and eats pancakes. (Each year the kids in the band change, as it is a school elective.) Don’t ask how the IHOP thing came about…it’s a long story.
MM: What are your future aspirations as a musician?
NH: With Molly, I would like to continue learning new vocal techniques, expanding my range, learning piano and begin learning how to sight sing. In the future, I’d like to continue performing and maybe try out for X Factor. We’ll see.
MM: What advice do you have for new singers? What has enabled you to sing as well as you do?
NH: My advice is more of a piece of advice for performing rather than singing. My advice is to stand up straight and smile. I know that sounds weird, but when on stage it makes a world of a difference with your performance and confidence levels. People who perform without facial expressions and with their shoulders slouched will appear much less experienced than those who do not.
MM: Let’s end with a fun one: If you could sing with any performer or band, regardless if they are still living, who would it be and why? What song (or songs) would you want to sing with them?
NH: Now that’s a hard question. After a lot of self-deliberation, I think I’m going to have to settle on Beyoncé. She is not only a fantastic vocalist, but an amazing person and performer. I would give my left arm to talk to her for five minutes, never mind sing with her. I’d probably sing “Pretty Hurts,” “Countdown,” “Run the World (Girls)” and “Crazy in Love.” They’re my favorite songs by her. Not only that, I think it’s a pretty balanced set list between influential songs and love songs.