Beyond Nashville: Canadian duo The Hello Darlins

The Hello Darlins

When did you first realise you wanted to make music for a living?

Mike: I went to boarding school and one night I went into the chapel and was playing some Beatles stuff on the piano and these girls started coming through the doors to listen and sing along and I thought, ‘I want to be a musician’ right there. I can’t remember a time when I wanted to do anything else, luckily I’m married to my wife and we get to do this together.
Candace: He did it for the girls! I just always thought it’d be incredible to be a musician and to write songs and sing as a career – working with so many amazing artists has allowed us to do that.

Outside of the band you’ve had success as session musicians, what’s been your proudest moment?

Candace: Singing back up for Shania Twain. I got a call on my 17th Birthday. I was such a huge fan and that opportunity solidified what I wanted to do with my life – becoming a singer and songwriter.
Mike: My proudest moment was getting the opportunity to go to the Middle East, to Afghanistan and have the privilege of playing to the military – British, Canadian and US forces.

What’s the writing process like for you?

Candace: I think we’ve spent a lot of time trying to find out what works for us. Some songs, you have to work a little harder for and other times they fall from the sky. We both have strong ideas but the one thing that’s crucial to our writing is that neither one of us is attached to those ideas. You have to be willing to let it go and let things flow.
Mike: You have to be ego-less and serve the song and the music and we’re on the same page with that.

Tell me the story behind the song Aberdeen?

Candace: That’s my favourite song on the record. It was one of those that came from the heavens, Mike sat down at the piano and the lyrics just started to come. It’s about a friendship that goes beyond the boundaries of a lifetime. It’s the true story of a girl who passed away quite suddenly from our town and it had such a ripple effect, her life had touched so many people. She was a storm chaser and a photographer who loved the rodeo and horses and so the song is symbolic of the love between a horse and a rider but really it’s about that connection that continues on even after this form of life has ended. Joey’s vocals on that song are just beautiful too, I think that’s my favourite part of the song – Joey Landreth.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve written a song about?

Candace: We wrote a song a couple of years ago for a fundraiser for Prostate Cancer. The local brewery make a cask of beer and sell it for $100 a glass, they brew the cask with a bulls testicle, so we wrote a song called ‘Bulls Balls Beer’.

Are you completely focused on stage or do you let your mind wander?

Mike: Music is a very spiritual thing, in order to play from your heart, you have to let your mind wander. It’s like being a fighter, you practice all the moves in the gym but when you get in the ring, it’s just pure instinct.
Candace: I love the moments that happen organically between an audience and the band, so I’m completely in the moment because live music just can’t be recreated, it’s pure art. It will never happen like that again.

What’s the strangest live performance experience you’ve had?

Candace: Early on in my career, I was about 14, I was invited to play a couple of songs at a funeral and I got to the funeral and realised it was for someone’s cat!
Mike: Last year I did some drive-in shows and rather than clap they honk their horns and flash their lights.

If you were to describe your personality as a flavour of potato chip, what flavour would you be?

Mike: I’d definitely put you as a spicy BBQ chip.
Candace: I’d say you’re salt and vinegar, everybody loves you but it’s sometimes a strong experience!

In a movie about your life, who would you cast to play yourself?

Mike: Johnny Depp because he’s handsome like me, he’s such a rockstar, I’d have to see the audition tape first just to check his acting skills were up to scratch.

What’s next for you?

Candace: Hopefully some gigs. Live music can’t be replaced and I’m so excited to get the band together again.
Mike: And to get over to the UK as soon as possible!


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Media contact

Zoe Hodges,
Editor, Maverick Magazine

Tel: +44 (0) 1622 823920

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