Interview: Hyleen at The Quarter, Mumbai

Neo-soul sensation Hyleen came down to India with her trio for the second time, for a full-length tour across the country. Check out our exclusive interview with the band before their fascinating performance at The Quarter.

How did you guys come together as a band?

This project has been on for 3 years now. I met Nicolas in the south of France and we started jamming.
He had a concept of trio in mind with a guy who played both keys and bass. So we started writing music
for an album. We’ve been playing with Julian for just nine months who we met right after our previous
visit to India. It felt really natural and we went on to finding shows and festivals, and then on to
recording the album. We didn’t ask ourselves to many questions and just went with it. And now here we

How did you guys start playing music individually?

(Hyleen) I started playing the guitar when I was 12 learning by myself and playing with my brother in his band in college. Then we left for studying in Paris and I would play and write music in my room and sing. At around 20 I went to the conservatoire in Paris to learn some more and improve.

(Nicolas) My father is a drummer, so it came really naturally to me. I never asked myself what I can or should do in life. It has always been drums. I must have been 3 years old when I started. Then through high school and conservatoire. In case of Julien, his sister started piano and since it was at home, he would try it out. He tried it for a few days and ended up playing better than his sister. So she quit (laughs) and he continued and learned by himself.

What has it been like in India for you?

It’s hard to explain, it’s been very different. Last year we met different people and went to different cities. This tour is much longer and we have more time to enjoy the places. Each time we visit it feels like the first time. Every time we discover something new, right from the traffic to the food and we’re always surprised in a positive way. It’s really cool.

What have been some major influences for each of you?

(Hyleen) It would be Prince.
(Nicolas) Probably Sting, Chic Corea.
(Julien) Herbie Hancock, Kenny Kerkland.

What message would you like to give the budding musicians in the country?

(Hyleen) Just trust yourself, don’t listen to other people too much and find your way to be natural.

(Nicolas) Try to find your own personality and what you want say. You will be influenced by a lot of musicians, but it should give you the fire to find your own music inside. If you’re passionate you don’t count the hours of work you put in. It’ll make you happy.

(Julien) Listen to your heart.