Life In Berlin: Hllywd
Hllywd sits in his home studio in Wedding; the laptop, DJ tables, keyboard, and notebook all have their place in this unique teal room. Clothes hang from the walls of his studio - all created under the artistic design of "Hllywd" for his past performances. This space is characteristic of Hllywd’s life and his inescapable relationship with music.
“Well my father, mostly, was involved in kind of the club scene,” Hllywd says. “He was a dancer, so I used to be taken to clubs when I was a young child. So I always heard a lot of music around me and music in the house, music from church.”
Soon Hllywd became more ambitious about musi, left his small hometown in the Midlands, and started studying music in a formal setting.
“I went to an access course in Nottingham. At the time I was an unconfident little young person standing in front of these lecturers. And then I got onto the course and they said, ‘Yeah, this course will help and develop you.’ I feel like the course was the beginning of opening doors into what I was going to be.”
Hllywd’s dreams led him to Berlin. He had two dreams: to create a successful musical career in a burgeoning creative city; and, the other, to find love in Berlin, a city that is known for its thriving gay community.
“I had this vision coming here of being in love and finding my partner and the career that I dreamed of having would break and everything would go away but you can’t always think 'What’s going to happen is going to happen' sort of thing.” Hllywd explains
Hllywd found that artificial labels limited his growth in both his musical and sexual expression.
“I was in a kind of drag, dressed-up group called the White Nails in Berlin and that really put me into the gay community. People who wanted to work with me on a serious note through music were seeing things and that were a bit like 'Okay, I don’t know if this represents the direction that we’re going.'”
So now he has taken a different direction.
“There needed to be more depth in what I do, so I feel like the gay community has been absolutely amazing here for me, but I need to reach the world community; I’m about attracting and connecting with people.”
Hllywd has liberated himself from limiting labels and collaborations so that he can no longer be typecast.
“I am actually beginning to produce myself, so, I would say, it’s still electronic, I am never going to leave that behind because it’s something that’s always been a big part of me. But it’s got more ambiance to it and more emotion and feeling. I am the one with it in my hands. I can do whatever I want with it because it’s mine.”
But he certainly has not left the gay community that helped him get his bearings when he moved to Berlin in 2011. He will be performing at several Christopher Street Day events.
“I’m going to tell you the truth,” says Hllywd “I have never actually been to a single gay pride in my life. I think I accidentally went to one in London; I was a bit like, ‘Why are the shops all closed?’”
Hllywd’s infectious cackle and passion for music help to define who he is.