Branding Photography Session for Josh Hassell
Really nice to catch up with one of my regular clients, Josh Hassell recently for a Branding Photography Session to update his Headshot as well as new portfolio images for his music website, social media and promotional material.
I’ve been working with Josh for a number of years now, and it’s been a real privilege to follow and support his music career, as well as becoming a good friend too!
Who is Josh Hassell?
“Okay, hello, my name’s Josh Hassell, I’m a versatile function singer, and I also do weddings as well, that’s included with that. So, I do gigs, I’ve been doing gigs for about five, six years now, promoting myself and singing all sorts of covers. As well as this, I write my material, have been doing for several years now, made a few CDs.
So, I like performing acoustically, performing festivals. I was in an acoustic duo for a while as well, so trying to get myself out there as much as I can, do as much within music as possible. But yeah, that’s what I do, and I love doing it.”
What’s your Background?
My background, so I started singing when I was about 13, 14, got into singers such as Michael Buble, and then sort of more poppy growing up as well, like Daniel Powter, Ed Sheeran and George Ezra.
So I’d say my background is just learning songs and music as I was going through school, through to college. I learnt a bit of music in college as well, did a vocal degree. And now here I am, just doing gigs and continuing the music as best I can.
What inspired you to get into singing?
My dad was the main influence for me getting into music initially. When I was about 13, 14, he influenced me to do some more concerts because he believes in my voice. Mum as well, both my parents were very influential in that department. And then my dad bought me my first sort of speaker, amplifier and gig equipment as well, followed on from that. So then I did my first gig when I was about 17, and from there, just continued it. So I must thank him for all that because he’s the reason why I’m doing music.
What’s your dad’s connection with music?
My dad’s been in a band for about 40 years now, I think he’s in a few bands. My sister also did music at university as well. But my dad has always been into music himself, therefore he got me into it. He wanted me to start singing and was probably glad that I could sing, and he forced me to get into it. Which I’m very grateful for in the end because at first, I wasn’t too keen. At 13, 14, I wasn’t thinking, oh, do I wanna sing? But then as I went on, started doing gigs, I’m very grateful for it now. And I don’t wish for anything else.
What do you enjoy the most about singing and writing music?
What I enjoy most is writing down my raw emotions and feelings, whether it be a traumatic time or a happy time, I can write down whatever, and I don’t feel like I’m sort of judged with that. With original music I can write down how I’m feeling, get it out there, get it into a song, hopefully, people will like it, listening to it, and that’s what I love. People who are fans of what I’m actually going through and what I do, personally feel I love that, I love that sort of thing.
What’s your biggest highlight in the last 6 Months/Year?
I feel I’ve written a few songs that I believe in in the last six months. I do wanna keep writing more obviously, and I’ve written some CDs in the past. And that’s made me quite excited about this next CD that I will be releasing in the next year or so.
What’s your biggest highlight since you started singing?
Since I’ve started singing, I’d say my main highlight was working with Simon Brenner, who was a former member of the band Talk Talk who was quite famous in the 80s. So I worked with him for about a year back in 2014, I was in college then, and he asked me, just emailed me out of the blue to sing some of the songs that he’d been writing, ’cause he was getting back into music slowly himself. So I was working with him in some great studios up in London with some great musicians, great people. Enjoyed that experience. Made a music video, a song called “Byron Bay,” which is probably the biggest song we did. But yeah, really enjoyed that experience, would not have had it any other way, and I’m very grateful for how that happened. Even after it ended, I wasn’t too bitter about it, I was just thinking, I’m grateful it happened.
What’s unique about you?
What’s unique about me is the fact that my songwriting style, I feel that’s unique, it’s quite different to a lot of people I know who are songwriters. I tend to write down a lot of words in my songs, but that’s because I do have a lot of things I want to say and stuff I wanna get across.
And it’s a style that my parents have sort of said to me, it may not work all the time, but I believe in it and I wanna continue making songs that way and writing down just how I feel with no limit, no cap or anything, and I feel that’s unique my songwriting style.
What are you working on at the moment?
So currently I’m working on another CD, which I do plan to bring out in the next year or so, as I say, I’ve written a few songs already for it, which I do believe in. But mainly it’s just sort of enjoying music and I test myself all the time, so I keep on thinking, I can write something new here, I can do something different to what I’ve done before. Still learning. So I always see things as a learning curve. Working on my gigs as well, adding things to my repertoire, in terms of that, trying to get as many as I can. And promoting myself more and more.
What about further into the future?
I do want to go more into the songwriting kind of direction, so I want to keep writing songs. I’m in an acoustic duo as well, we also write our stuff. So we want to keep going as well. ‘Cause I feel like, with gigs, I do love doing gigs and I love singing covers, but I do wanna get that experience of writing my sort of stuff. And I haven’t done a proper concert yet where I’ve just sung all my material and that’s what I’d love to do, I’ve always had a vision of that.
Tell me about your rebrand?
Working with Graham has helped me with that rebranding, because a lot of the photoshoots I’ve done with Graham, especially recently, have portrayed me as a more casual looking singer-songwriter. I’ve put some pictures up on my website and Facebook and stuff, and it does show that I’m more leaning to that direction and that’s what I want in the future.
What would you say to anyone looking to hire a singer?
Someone who would be looking for a singer, I’d suggest looking for maybe a versatile kind of performer, I mean, that’s what I pride myself on the fact that I can sing a lot of different styles from different kind of artists. I believe that’s crucial in entertainment, and getting the best experience you can from a singer. Someone who can do a bit of everything. So I think that comes into the rebranding of myself and why I love the pictures I’ve got with Graham and previous photoshoots because I’ve got a wide selection of different styles and looks that I can show people and therefore, say I’m very versatile and got a variety of songs.
Whats your songwriting style?
My songwriting style I suppose I just sort of, get a piece of paper and play a few chords on the guitar, because I usually have a melody in my head at first, and some sort of title, that maybe something this song I want to relate to. So it just comes into mind, I put down a title as quick as I can before I forget. Play a bit of a melody on my guitar. I always usually write songs on my guitar. I played a little bit of piano, but mainly it’s guitar, I prefer that, so that’s my songwriting style really, I just sort of think of the melody first and then the lyrics gradually come to me depending on what I wanna write about, what fits and so on.
Who’s been key to your success?
My dad who I mentioned at first, he’s been the main influence of me getting into music, as I grew up and did music more and more throughout my college. Simon Brenner, who I worked with for a year, that I was a great experience. Graham who I’ve done a lot of photoshoots with, and not just that, he’s rebranded me, he’s given me advice on social media and stuff. And how I can correctly promote myself. Harry Bristow, I’ve done music videos with before for my songs. I’ve done music videos and got them out on YouTube. So I feel like he as well has been the main influence for me. So I’ve been grateful to meet a lot of great people along the way, doing gigs and writing songs. And a couple of friends in mind as well. Alex lane, who I’m in an acoustic duo with at the moment. So I’ve got quite a few influences. And I’ve met some great people along the way.
What did you learn working with StudioGB Photography?
Working with Graham was a great experience I think because the photoshoots that we’ve done if I think back to the first one, it sort of progressed in terms of style. Because the first one, I did like a very crooner cut kind of photoshoot. I was starting as swing jazz kind of wedding singer, restricting myself in away. And therefore, we did a photoshoot based on that when I was in a suit and tie. But over the years, thanks to Graham’s advice as well, it’s influenced me in going into more acoustic kind of casual direction. And his photos have always come out very professional, I’ve been very happy with them. They’ve always been crucial in promoting myself and my events on Facebook, because I do events for my gigs and stuff, and I always use pictures from the previous shoots with Graham, ’cause I feel that they are the best way of getting my image out there. So I feel like, yes, the photoshoots have progressed over the years into more a direction that I want to go in. The social media advice as well. Of promoting myself in the right way has been instrumental. ‘Cause obviously, it’s so important to use the little hashtags and certain little things on social media can get you well known, so I think that’s been very important as well.
How do you use your images?
I use them all the time. I’ve used pictures I’ve done with Graham for my videos on Facebook to promote my business. I’ve used them for events for my gigs on Facebook. So I think all the things I’ve promoted on Facebook, and Instagram and every other social media platform, are pictures I’ve done with Graham because I feel like they are the best way to get my image out there. I would not have chosen any other photographer, I’m really happy with the photos I’ve done before, and I still very am. So I keep using all the pictures that we’ve been using and I feel like that’s a big part of getting myself out there and rebranding myself.
So the latest set of images coupled with the ones we did before were very sort of casual looking. Very pleased with them, and I’m using them to promote most of my gigs at the moment. So even if I do have a gig where it’s a bit more dinner-dance kind of thing, I’m using a picture I got with Graham because I feel like the quality and the looks, the direction that he gives me in photoshoots and stuff is very important, very vital. He mentions ideas that I wouldn’t have thought of, and when I see the photograph when it’s done, I’m thinking, I’m really glad that I did that pose, because that picture, it makes the picture really in away. And I think a lot of people when they see that image, they will click on my links or they’ll go to my videos, I think it can draw people in, such a great image.
How important is good visual content?
Very important, I feel visuals are probably one of, if not the most important thing about what I do in my business. Myself and Graham, we’ve got a whole library of different images, starting from when I was about 16, we did our first shoot. And now looking back, I can use a wide selection of different images to promote myself based on what kind of event or gig I’m going for. So I feel like it’s very important, it’s given me an edge over certain singers to have such a great image. It’ll draw people in, people will click my links and check out my stuff, which is very good. And it’s all down to the branding. And I feel my direction at the moment, obviously going into a more casual, acoustic singer-songwriter kind of vibe, I feel like Graham’s versatility with that direction has been very useful. He understands what I mean when I say I wanna go into that kind of direction and style. And he’s helped me along the way with my looks and with my poses, and with my styles of how I’d be in photographs.
I want to thank so many people for my musical journey so far. I’m gonna start with dad, ’cause he’s the reason I got into music initially, at the age of 13. Doing school concerts, singing, he originally got me into it. And then buying obviously, my set of gig equipment which I still use to this day. Very grateful and he got me into music in the first place and I’m still doing it, still loving it. My passion for it grows by the day. So I wanna thank dad for that. My whole family’s been very supportive as well. My sister, my mum as well, so thank you very much. Working with Simon Brenner back in 2014, making the song “Bryon Bay”, it was a fantastic experience, I’m so glad I did it. Even if it was just for a year. Such a great experience and great things I learnt along the way. I wanna thank people I worked with along the years, that have helped with my social media and branding.
Graham has been a pivotal part of that, I’ve been working with him for many years now, so I want to thank him for all his advice, direction and photographs that we’ve come up with over the years, it’s helped my branding image.
I wanna thank Pete Moody, who was my singing teacher from the age of 15. I’ve also done a lot of recordings with him, including my two original CDs that I made. So I thank him very much for all his singing direction and advice. Also, my fans who have enjoyed my original music and they inspire me to write more and more. It helps to have people who love the stuff that I write straight from the heart. And so I’m very grateful for that.
And my girlfriend as well, Katie Thomas, can’t mention her, otherwise, I’ll get in trouble. So yeah, but I wanna thank everyone for being so supportive and the great suppliers I’ve met along the way as well, so thank you very much.