We asked virtuoso mandolin-player Sierra Hull 10 questions to learn a little more about this genius musician.
1. Who or what inspired you to play the mandolin?
My dad is the reason why I picked up the mandolin. He was learning to play himself and after I became interested, he showed me my first tunes and chords and started taking me to local jams and festivals.
2. How has your sound evolved over time?
I grew up playing bluegrass and have such a deep love and respect for that style of music and the community. Over the past couple of years, I’ve been exploring a lot of other styles of music. As a result, I’ve been playing in a solo or duo setting more often, which is quite different than the band format I grew up playing around with bluegrass music.
3. What is your favorite aspect of writing music?
There is freedom in creating new music when you don’t put yourself in a box. It’s exciting to just follow your muse in a moment and see where a song leads.
4. What are some artists or bands you’re currently listening to?
I’ve recently been listening to everything from Beyoncé to classical mandolinist, Avi Avital. I truly love all styles of music.
5. Pick 5 words—that start with the letter ‘S’—that best describe your work.
Smooth, Surprising, Sensitive, Somber, Spontaneous
6. What has been one of your most exciting performances to date?
Getting to play at the White House with my hero Alison Krauss was certainly a huge honor for me and something that I’ll never forget.
7. What are the defining characteristics of tonight’s performance; what story does it tell?
Tonight’s performance will feature mostly original pieces that I’ve written - many from the album Weighted Mind. The album is themed around coming into my early 20’s and trying to find my way, both musically and personally.
8. What do you hope the coming years will bring for your career?
I think every artist dreams of an all-around continued success. Success brings security and freedom to create the kind of music you’d want and helps establish trust between the artist and the listener. I want to be able to continue to tour and make albums and have people go on this journey with me.
9. What is the best advice that you have been given; and what advice would you give the young musicians in the audience?
The best advice I have been given is to just be myself. Sometimes there is a pressure to compare yourself to this person or that person, feeling the need to measure up somehow. But the truth is - you are enough. I am enough. As an artist, I’ve found comfort in that idea over the past couple of years.
10. What do you hope listeners take away from your music?
I hope the listeners hear honesty in my music. I try to be true to my heart and play the music that I love. I figure if I do what I love, people will feel that and connect with it.
Sierra Hull will be at WAC April 7, 2017, at 8pm. Tickets are $10. Don't miss out!