It’s like listening to a classic album during a long car journey.
It's the time you spend researching the backstory of a musician and what inspires them to write.
It’s the feeling you get when you hear an 80s track and you wonder why music doesn't sound like this anymore.
Created by four young women from South East London – they exist to share, educate and inform as many people as they can about talented musicians and artists that exist beyond and within the mainstream.
Introduce yourselves and tell us your roles at Selective Hearing?
Elom (E): SH has been going on for 4 years now. I’m head of events; we’ve put on two great shows so far. I make sure all our events focus on the consumer experience to make them feel at home and ensure they thoroughly enjoy themselves.
Rebecca (R): I manage artist liaison and communications; which ranges from the initial stages of contacting the artists to sorting out their mobility and communicating with the venues. So the comms coordination, before, during and after the show.
Dings (D): I lead up the PR side of things. I do features and contact artists for interviews and showcase cool ways to talk about how they started and why they do what they do and what motivates them to sing. There are examples of this on our blog. We have feature interviews with Chantae Cann, Ciaran Austin, Gwen Bunn, Keziah Who and MUNDU.
E: Rebekah Walker is the creative of the team, she mocks up all of our artwork and creative material across all of our social platforms (Unfortunately Rebekah could not join the interview today).
How old are you all and where are you from?
E: I’m 24 and I’m from Catford
R: I’m 25 born and raised in Grove Park and now live in Bromley
D: I’m also 25 and from South London and now live in Sidcup.
How did you guys all meet?
E: I met Rebecca through Rebekah and we met at a poetry. Dings and I met 8 years ago; we went to the same college. Rebekah Walker and I grew up in church together.
R: Rebecca and I met at 6th Form many years ago. We officially bonded online through music, she then formally introduced me to Elom and Dings – music was the single thread that brought us together.
D: I was house mates with Elom in university and again we just all bonded through our love for music.
How did the idea come about and where do you get your inspiration from?
R: Unfortunately, none of us sing or play an instrument but we all had a love for music, so we just knew we had to create some kind of platform that promoted the music we loved.
E: I think the best ideas come from sudden bursts of inspiration. We didn’t even know what a music platform was or how to describe it. We had a lot of tenacious ideas, we thought about doing an afro collective platform where we would talk about music. We knew that we needed to get people’s music heard.
We wanted people to express themselves through music and to use the gifts that God has given them.
We just wanted to give them a stage and let them flourish, because that is at the heart of selective hearing.
Where did the name come from?
E: We were at a Soulection meet and greet in London and we were talking to this journalist at the time and he kept saying stuff to us and I didn’t understand so I kept saying sorry I’ve got selective hearing and then Dings was tapping me saying how that was the name.
This is it. Then it hit me and we went from there.
How did you create the logo?
E: Our first logo sucked, it was an ear with music notes coming out. I knew it wasn’t right in my hearts of hearts. After many attempts, one of our very talented friends ended up creating the logo you see today. Over the past few years we have refined and adapted it.
Do you find your skill sets complement each other?
R: Yes absolutely. There is an understanding that everybody can’t do everything. So we individually do what we are best at doing.
E: I want to make sure the experiential side of our shows is perfect; Rebecca’s career path is in Human Resources so she knows how to communicate which is transferable and so essential when talking to artists. Dings is the PR queen, she’s culturally relevant and knows what trends are happening. She knows how to market us and put our tone of voice all over our socials. And Rebekah is in charge of all SH graphics and visuals, she is so dope.
How did you fund the business?
R: We use our own money. We love the brand so much that we didn’t even have a budget. By the time you divide costs by four, it doesn’t work out that much. We’re not doing it for the money but through passion. We’re learning that you can’t throw money at anything.
E: We have a spreadsheet that’s titled ‘budget’ but on our first event we just listed everything that we bought and just put the total!
D: A beautiful moment for us was when we were able to buy our trademark and register the company. This made it official.
We managed to make small small changes from our last show, which felt surreal and was definitely a proud moment.
We are intentional and strict in making sure any money we make goes back into SELECTIVE HEARING.
How would you describe your target demographic?
R: We are very eclectic. I love Neo-Soul but then Gospel will always be my jam. Dings is a bit of a ‘Grime head’ but also lives for Afrobeats.
What kind of artists do you have at these events?
R: The kind of artists we have at our shows are home grown, grass roots talent. They are very very talented individuals who are more than deserving of a stage to showcase their talent.
E: For example, an artist who has performed at two of our shows; Omenka, she’s very soul and RnB, her riffs and runs are to die for – but she has a very strong Afro influence which comes through.
R: Then there is Keziah Who; we were fan-girling so much when she performed at our show. Then we have Jake Silke who is basically a UK version of Prince.
D: In our vicinity, these guys are so well known but globally they’re still up and coming. They’re all so talented and their voices speak more than their followings would.
Who was the one artist that made you think, this is our big breakthrough?
R: I think Jake Silke because people were asking if he was signed and everyone wanted to know more about him. Many of the artists who have performed at our shows have done amazing things since – releasing EPs, headlining their own shows etc. To be a part of their foundation and see them flourish is a beautiful thing.
E: Keziah Who is amazing and MUNDU who is a talented producer, singer, rapper. I think those two are really making waves in the industry.
D: Oo and Boadi, who was on Colours Berlin – BIG moves!
How long does each event last for?
E: I’d say about 3 hours, we have open mic sessions and breaks to allow people to talk and chill.
Where did you sit against your competitors in the music industry?
E: I would say we don’t have any competitors. We all share a passion for music.
R: Let’s face it, there’s always going to be music shows. However, we care about the experience; we don’t just find the venue and give artists a stage. We think about how people are going to feel when they walk in - how can we dress the venue up to represent our brand? We are so lucky to have Elom, as this is her element. We really want to people to come to our shows and say ‘YES that was a Selective Hearing gig’, not just any gig.
We also listen to the feedback given by our guests; some people share it with us directly, others will tell someone who will then tell one of us.
After every show we have a debriefing where we discuss it all; the good, bad and ugly. This helps us to continuously improve.
We introduced the open mic aspect to get our guests more involved – this is a SH spin that we hope makes us stand out. We also interact with our crowd and we embed ourselves within the experience. We want to have a good time as well!
How has a failure set you up for later success?
We had major sounding issues at our first show. From then on, we vowed that even if it means spending a bit more money or waiting longer until we’ve found the right venue to ensure the quality of the sound is on point, we wouldn’t put on a show.
We really learnt from our mistakes. The sound of our next show was A1 because of the lesson we learnt at our first show.
What’s the big dream for Selective Hearing? The 5-year plan?
E: We want to do more frequent events. We have so many ideas in the pipeline… More content and events.
R: Music is our foundation but we want to have different streams of music sharing opportunities like workshops, listening parties, and studio sessions with various artists and seeing how they work behind the scenes. There is no limit to what we can do in the future - I am happy that we never pigeon holed ourselves. Ultimately, we just want to be that constant go-to for music amongst our peers.
What does the definition of success mean to you?
E: For SH, it is little successes every day, when people are tagging their friends on our posts or sharing music they found on our page. Personally, I’d love to be happy and content in the gifts and talents that I’ve been given and to be walking in purpose.
R: I think Els covered success from a SH point of view – all of the little things lead up to the bigger things. Personally, success to me is peace. Ensuring everything I do brings me that.
“Taking your eyes off of what other people are doing and looking forward as opposed to looking to the left or right. You’re made uniquely and no one else is doing you so why not own it” - Dings
When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?
E: For me, it would be prayer. Knowing that your life isn’t in your own hands is very key when I’m feeling overwhelmed. If I feel like I’m drowning and I can’t pull myself out of it, I just look upwards. I know God is there and he knows the next steps. He’s got my life in his hands and it’s all good. Second to that, I will put on a moonchild song.
R: Same for me, in that order too. This is why we are friends.
If you could gift one book to someone what would it be and why?
R: ‘Americanah’. It touches all borders. No matter who you are and where you’re from, you need to read that book. It gives you a whole other understanding and perspective of life.
E: ‘Blackass’ by A. Igoni Barrett. It’s about a black man who wakes up as a white man living in Nigeria. If you’ve read Metamorphosis it’s kind of similar.
D: ‘The Screwtape Letters’ or any other book by C.S.Lewis
And finally, what is your favourite song?
R: Jill Scott ‘He Loves Me’.
D: I’ve got too many! At the moment it’s The Foreign Exchange ‘Call it Home’, SZA ‘Garden (Say It Like Dat)’, Tom Misch ‘Man Like You’ and Magic System ‘Premiere Gaou’.
E: All of my favourite songs change depending on my mood. But for now, it’s Jordan Rakei ‘Still’ or ‘Tawo’. He encapsulates every single feeling you want to feel in the moment.
7 JULY, 2018