From Columbus to Nashville with JT Hillier
A crowd-favorite musician, JT Hillier has made quite the impact on music lovers in Columbus, and especially those at The Goat. We recently sat down with him to discuss his upcoming move to Music City, what fans can expect from him in the future, and his goals and ambitions as an artist.
First of all, tell us a little about your musical style and how you got started as a singer/songwriter.
JT: I started writing songs when I was in college, but I’ve been a performer in some form pretty much all of my life. To be honest, songwriting has always been a challenging thing for me to do. I’ve always been more comfortable with performing, which is probably why most of my experience as a musician thus far has been playing out as much as I possibly can. While I’ve really enjoyed and I think grown in doing that, I’m hoping to refocus a little more on writing and performing more of my own stuff.
I think my playing and singing style up to this point has been mostly in the commercial pop and singer songwriter genres: John Mayer, Ryan Adams, Amos Lee, and Tracy Chapman really inspire me.
You're making a big move from Columbus to Nashville - what led to that decision?
JT: I think it was a combination of things. This was a pretty difficult decision for me, to put it lightly. Fortunately, I’ve had a lot of support from the people I love and people around me. Relocating is something that I think a lot of musicians think about doing. For me, a lot of it had to do with wanting to eliminate any of the mystery and just see what it’s really like there. I’ve had some success in Columbus and I felt ready and able to go at this stage in my life. With that said, I’m open minded and very excited to see what opportunities Nashville has to offer.
What are you most looking forward to about performing in Music City?
JT: I just really want to learn and grow as much as I can. I’ve been fortunate enough to get some gigs in town in only my first week here, and hopefully there will be a lot of writing and creating and meeting people. I’ve already been around a lot of incredibly talented and creative musicians, which is pretty inspiring.
You've been a crowd favorite at The Goat for quite awhile - will we see you at The Goat in Murfreesboro in the future?
JT: I hope so! I’ve been in contact with those who handle the music and events and it definitely looks like a strong possibility. I’ve really enjoyed the working relationship with everyone and when I heard that The Goat was expanding to the Nashville area, I got really excited.
How can we stay up-to-date on when and where you're playing?
JT: Right now, my main focus will be getting some more gigs in town, hopefully doing some writing and just getting settled in here. So, for the moment, I’ll probably need to cut back a little on the social networking and newsletter thing. Once I find my footing, I’ll be back on Facebook and sending monthly newsletters (you can subscribe to my email list on my Facebook music page). I’ve heard Instagram is the new thing, so maybe I’ll step up and get trendy soon (ha!). For now, liking my Facebook page and keeping an eye on it in the interim should be helpful.
What's been your favorite part about performing in Columbus?
JT: I’ve really enjoyed playing in Columbus, primarily because it is my home and I’m very comfortable there. I’ve developed a lot of strong working relationships that I would consider friendships now. I’ve gotten to know and work with a great mix of people, and I’ve met a lot of good people at my gigs. Those relationships mean a lot to me. Plus, there are a lot of places to play in town, so I got the chance to get out and perform a lot, which was awesome.
If you could only perform one song for the rest of your life, what would it be?
JT: Probably “Man in the Mirror” or any of my original songs.
Any advice for aspirational singer/songwriters?
JT: Music is such a difficult industry and it really does take a lot out of you. As long as you’re doing it, you just have to ty to love it, no matter what. I need to do a better job of that myself, but ultimately music is meant to be loved and enjoyed.
Thanks for everything, and all our best to you, JT! To follow JT's music career, check him out on his Facebook page.