Ranging in age from 22 to 30, the four talented members of The Hollywoods linked up after dancing together for a number of years and decided to chase what Hayley says she had been dreaming of all her life. As for Kasey, Ebony and Shauni, being The Hollywoods was something they “fell into”, making the most of their passion for performing.
All four group members had previously studied some form of creative arts before joining the group. Whether it was film and television (Hayley), commercial dance at Whitireia (Shauni and Ebony) or musical theatre (Kasey), everyone agrees that studying is one thing but actually walking the walk is another thing altogether.
“Although studying can give you an idea, it’s not until you’re actually doing something with what you’ve learned that you realise how hard it really is,” says Kasey. She makes the point that sometimes making a living out of what they do is tough, and learning to run a business on the go is a challenge at times. Hayley agrees that it has definitely been a huge learning curve for her.
“It’s not just the glitz and glam, there’s also a lot of paperwork behind the scenes that no one tells you about. But you’ve got to take the good with the bad, and we love what we do so it’s all worth it.
From Nicki Minaj to Queen, The Hollywoods cater to all ages, and they say that is one of the best parts of doing what they do. “We love seeing people of all ages just being happy,” says Kasey.
“There’s certain songs that we do where, every time they come on, people come to the dance floor and sing along and dance and it’s awesome seeing people enjoying themselves because of something we’re doing.” Haley loves seeing the older generation on a good buzz and grooving along to hits from the 50s.
Performing alongside long-time friends makes it all the more enjoyable. “We’re all friends, and we just have a lot of fun performing with each other; we wouldn’t have it any other way.” They’ve had some memorable performances, including performing for the All Blacks at Toast Martinborough, where they brought the house down with their Spice Girls medley and they even performed for an Oscar award-winner at a high school reunion.
It’s not all glitz and glam though. Although on stage The Hollywoods might look polished and glamorous, they are quick to say it doesn’t just happen like that. Hours of rehearsals, costume preparation and travelling go into it and can really take a toll on the body. All four of the members have at some point lost their voices and even though sometimes they might not be feeling too flash, they’ve just got to grin and bear it on stage.
“People don’t realise that when you’re a musician, you don’t get sick days. Even if you’ve been on your deathbed all week with the flu, when you’re on stage you’ve got to leave all that behind and pretend like you’re having the most wonderful time,” says Hayley.
Ebony also mentions that three gigs in one weekend in high heels is no easy feat (or easy on the feet!). Being away from family and friends for weeks on end and missing out on lots of social events is difficult too, but since the group works as a three-person team, they rotate with one resting at all times. “It’s tough sometimes to act comfortable when you’re not, but it’s all part of the package and when you’re doing what you love these sacrifices are all worth it.”
For anyone aspiring to break into the music industry the girls have a few key insights. They say it’s important to be outgoing and just audition for everything and anything – even if you don’t get the job, just auditioning gives you experience and helps you to become a better performer. Any experience is good experience, even if it’s volunteer work – a lot of the time it can lead to other opportunities.”
The girls credit a lot of their success to date to their persistence and drive to keep bettering themselves. Stepping out of your comfort zone is also a must-do, they say, and not being afraid to embarrass yourself a little bit could lead you to your dream job, so they always advise to take a chance and it might just pay off.
The Hollywoods plan on taking their talents to the high seas, where they would like to perform on cruise ships. “Ultimately we want to do what we love while travelling overseas.”