In today’s interview, I am joined by singer-songwriter, vocal teacher and party production performer Rebecca-Jayne Hulse, a local-based performer. We talk about how her love of music and singing and her positive, can-do attitude has enabled her to use her passion to transform and motivate people through coaching and teaching. She also reveals how singing has been a positive outlet that has aided her in overcoming personal challenges, building her confidence and inner strength to achieve incredible things.
Lara Edwards: Rebecca thank you for joining me for this interview. It is an absolute pleasure to be able to speak to you today. I’ve been enjoying the positivity of your content via your social media during these unprecedented times and your use of online platforms to engage with your audience and the joy that you spread by what you do. How did you first get into singing?
Rebecca-Jayne Hulse: I first got into singing as a child, I can’t even remember how young I was. My dad introduced me to Motown and Michael Jackson and since then I have been deeply inspired by him including his singing, dancing and stage presence. When I was younger I would sing to everybody in any location. On the streets, in the care homes when I was younger and to my parents and grandparents. I wasn’t shy until I got a little older. It came from a very young age, I started out participating in ballet classes and then went on to do amateur dramatics. It was then I found a true love for performing in theatres and exploring singing acting and dancing.
L.E.: I think that when we are younger we are much less self-conscious than when we are older as our priorities shift and that we are able to create more freely and show more passion via creative outlets. Would you say that this support from family and friends has helped with your confidence in developing what you do?
R.H.: 10000%! I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my family and my partner. They believe in what I do and have always picked me up when I have doubted my ability. I am truly blessed to have them here on this journey with me.
L.E.: Was there a particular experience or moment of support that really stands out to you where you felt a sense of accomplishment that encouraged you to follow this path?
R.H.: I guess the main realisation that this is what I wanted to do was when I was offered a hairdressing apprenticeship at the age of 16. I really enjoyed styling hair, but I knew it wasn’t my purpose and didn’t give me the same buzz as being on stage.
It was probably when I was in my early twenties when I started breaking into the business. I always doubted my ability and had very little confidence in myself, I then auditioned for ‘Silversea Cruises’, a contract I never thought I was good enough to achieve. This really lifted me and gave me that ‘You can do this, Rebecca, keep pushing on’.
Although, I should add, this occurred after countless other auditions that I didn’t manage to get. When you start believing in your ability though, that’s when things happen. Don’t go to an audition if you don’t believe in yourself! You might as well stay on your couch and dream. I know if I’d had the confidence I have now in my early twenties I would have achieved a lot more. I do feel that my anxiety and self-doubt really held me back.
L.E.: What have been the biggest challenges in your journey and how have you overcome them?
R.H.: The most challenging thing about our industry, as I stated before, is that it is always being compared to others. The fact is, you’re in a team with the same people for countless months and you’re with them every day and of course – as you can imagine – with such a variety of personalities in one group, it isn’t always going to be smooth sailing. Most people go to work, See their colleagues and come home to their family. In our industry you eat, sleep and work with these people, I would say that is the most challenging part of it.
L.E.: Do you have any musical influences and have they taught you anything that has helped you with performing?
R.H.: The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, he is probably my biggest influence. I would add the legend himself Freddie Mercury too, and the soul diva Beyonce and Lady Gaga are also huge influences. All of the greats! I study their stage presence, how they interact with their crowds, how they move to music and their vocal technique.
L.E.: as someone who was bullied for their creativity, how did you find school?
R.H.: school was a struggle in the first stages. I suffered from anxiety from a young age but had no idea what it was. But I do feel that the older that I got, the more my confidence grew especially since moving high school due to bullying. My new high school which was Morgan Llwyd moulded me into the person I am today. They also offered drama classes which weren’t available in my previous high school (Everything happens for a reason right?)
L.E.: This sounds as if it was a positive step in your journey towards your career now. Would you say that having a creative outlet like this helped you after experiencing the bullying that you just mentioned?
R.H.: Yes, I would say so. The beauty of working in a theatre group is a feeling of family, a supportive community. Us creatives understand each other and in our theatre group, there was such a variety of ages which made it lovely and brought so much light to my life during a dark time.
L.E.: How does your wider theatre experience affect you as a performer and how do you channel this into your performances?
R.H.: So I studied to be an actress and focused on developing my skills as an actress. And ironically enough, I ended up doing more singing as a profession. Although my acting skills have made me a better performer on stage, each song has a story and an emotion, so being able to apply that to your song makes it more impactful. I always say, if you don’t sing with emotion… you might as well just play the track and leave the stage. It sounds a tad shady, but it’s true. People pay to be moved emotionally, They want to ‘feel’ when they visit a theatre. Give them what they have paid for.
L.E.: Rebecca you’ve clearly come along way since the early days. Would you mind telling me about some of your biggest achievements?
R.H.: Yes of course. As I mentioned earlier, Definitely gaining the cruise ship contract, Gaining a place in the Welsh National Youth Opera during my studies and for me, creating my own business. I never thought I had the ability to do this due to my self-doubt. And although I am still very self-critical, I have to remind myself of how much I have achieved. But I am still not at the level where I want to be so there’s still more work to do yet.
L.E.: What is the best advice that you have ever been given?
R.H.: My gosh, that’s a great question! One of my favourite quotes/ pieces of advice is one by Lady Gaga.
‘If you don’t know what to choose between your man and your career, remember that your career will never wake up and tell you it doesn’t love you anymore.’– Lady gaga
I have lost a few men because of this quote, but it has been worth it! I love my career more than anything, it has been with me for many years. I always tell my partner if I am not on stage, I will never be truly happy. Never let your partner starve you of your dream, that’s my advice. Thankfully I have a very supportive partner now who believes in my ability.
L.E.: I admire your positive attitude. Have you always had this attitude towards life or is it something that you have had to work on?
R.H.: I have always been a naturally positive person (My mum is the same) so I think it is generic. But of course the challenge of life is not allowing the toxic behaviour of others ‘Dim your shine’ so to speak. Where focus goes energy flows…..Always ensure your energy is focused on the positives.
L.E.: Is there anything you would recommend that helped you with your anxiety? That you incorporate into your daily routine?
R.H.: Singing instantly makes you feel happy (Even for the none pro’s) Singing and dancing generally helps lift you up so I recommend it to everybody.
Singing instantly makes you feel happy
L.E.: How would you say that singing has helped you during the lockdown?
R.H.: Hosting my B-Sparkly parties events has helped MASSIVELY, it gave me a purpose when I felt like everything had been taken away from me. Making people happy I feel is my soul’s purpose. With anxiety, I would say first and foremost ‘label it’. Because not knowing you have anxiety was where I went wrong because then it would be a case of ‘what is wrong with me?’ which would feed the anxiety with more fuel. Mindfulness meditation is a must, monitor caffeine intake and definitely monitor diet. It is all these little things that make the difference and my number 1 – EXERCISE. Going to the gym is my ‘anxiety suppresser’. But each person is different of course.
L.E.: During these unprecedented times, how have you adapted through the use of technology versus a physical medium of performance?
R.H.: Throughout lockdown, I was offering virtual parties and video messages to create magic for the children during those difficult times. I really enjoyed doing them and I am now offering a virtual entertainment club this Halloween B-SPOOKY CLUB which will be extremely fun. I have also been offering socially distanced doorstep visits which have been selling really well. And I have been offering virtual singing lessons which I have really enjoyed. As a performer this year has been insanely tough, well I think generally but especially for us self-employed.
With very little help from the government it has been a case of “right, how can I create an income doing something I love…?” I also feel it is important to inspire the younger generation and to ensure that they keep training in the arts in order for the arts to survive. I have been hosting performing arts classes live which have been going extremely well. I just really feel sorry for the children, it is such a confusing time for them so I want to make them as happy as I possibly can.
L.E.: What skills do you think that the classes that you offer teach the younger generation during these challenging times?
R.H.: Confidence, That is the number 1. Because as I mentioned, during my teens I had no confidence at all, so I want to promote this in my classes. Teamwork, learning to work effectively as a team, this is important as most of your life you will more than likely be part of a team. There are, of course, also the key aspects of performing such as singing, dancing and acting. And I always promote support, so that my students learn to support each other. I want to create an environment without judgement and freedom to express their creativity in a friendly environment.
L.E.: It has been an absolute joy to speak to you today, I admire your strength and positivity. Where can people find out a little more about you?
R.H.: So you can visit my Facebook page – Rebecca-Royal Entertainment.