HOMETOWN: Philadelphia, PA
ARTISTIC APPROACH: Honest lyrics and finding the right collaborative partner.
With no band to hide behind, Heyward Howkins has created an album that, fortunately, requires no hiding behind, lyrically or musically. Having been in The Trouble With Sweeney and The Silver Ages, Howkins is not new to making music; he is new to the solo life, though. Although much of his new album was worked on with friend/collaborator Chet Delcampo (of Hong Kong Stingray), Heyward wrote all of the music and lyrics for The Hale & Hearty.
The songwriting process wasn’t fully independent though, and Heyward doesn’t intend to take credit for the entire endeavor. “I would present a live demo to Chet and he and I would flesh it out together in the studio…most everything you hear was one of the two of us. I even remember times when we would both be literally standing in front of the keyboard playing a combined part,” he says, “so it really was a full collaboration.”
After being laid off from his job working in the field of geology, Howkins started work on The Hale & Hearty. It was during this time that he started writing songs and began his collaboration with Delcampo, who he believes, with his “encouragement and critical eye,” helped make this happen.
Inspiration came from all over, but Howkins believed that:
“Most of the inspiration was non-musical. I wasn’t listening to anything particular or trying to create any sound. I just think the way I think and sing the only way I know how. The songs just sort of fall out of my head at random intervals.”
What is most important, though, is his ability to play honest music, which makes it clear why, “Like them or not, the songs are nothing if not genuine” is his unofficial motto. Like it or not, you’ll only know if you try.
Photo by Tyler Costill