Irena Hart is a pop musician who moved to the United States from the Ukraine at the young age of 12; early enough to have a fresh perspective on her new surroundings but old enough to bring a European influence to her own music later on. Highly educated and entrepreneurial, she is also putting her passions to good use; Irena has helped over 100 homeless kids through her non-profit organization Harmony4Kidz, and she plans to achieve much more with this cause that’s close to her heart.
Of course, this brings us to Irena Hart’s preferred vehicle for change, which is music. Her new album is called “Heart Strings”, and she hopes for the release to become a bona fide pop hit worldwide. If Irena’s determination outside of music is any indication, we can surely expect to hear more from her in the near future.
What were your original inspirations to start writing and recording music?
In 2000 I started avidly reading a lot of spiritual books like the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, Return to Love by Maryanne Williamson, The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz … and other books of that nature… I was doing a lot of soul searching and that’s what led me to write poetry – sort of for self healing. I was able to get in touch with my emotions and express them thru poetry and later thru songs.
I started recording a few years later when I was taking guitar lessons and was having a really difficult time concentrating. My guitar teacher had a recording studio, so instead he ended up helping me chart out some of my songs – I only had a few written at the time, and I recorded my first Demo CD back in 2003
Who in music today do you admire and why?
I love Bob Dylan and Madonna – they have the staying power. I love Bob Dylan for his amazing lyrics and style and Madonna for her ability to continue to transform herself. As for the new artists I really admire Adelle; she is not trying to conform to a cookie cutter formula, she has an amazing talent and on the Bob Dylan Tribute album she does the most amazing rendition of “To Make you feel my Love” but my favorite part is when she says “Thank you very much” in a very thick English accent. I just think she must be a character.
“Heart Strings”: http://popcore.net/irenahart/heart_strings.mp3
Please tell us about “Heart Strings” and what the public can expect from the album.
Heart Strings is my latest work. Working with Bellringer, the producer on the Album, was an amazing experience, I got to transform my songs into Pop and Dance tunes. The public can expect to be moved both emotionally and physically because it is very hard to sit still while listening to the catchy dance beats. The lyrics that I put into every song are based on how I see life and on what I truly believe, so the public can expect to get to know who Irena Hart truly is – if they pay attention to the lyrics.
You’re a trained mechanical engineer and quite the entrepreneur. Do you find that music provides an outlet that other career choices may not?
Definitely. Music provides a unique opportunity to reach deep down into the places of your soul that most people either can’t or won’t dare to enter. Once there, to be able to bring it back to the surface and to write about it and then to see someone moved by what you just created is truly a gift. In my opinion, music is the most powerful and healing force in the Universe.
You’ve done a lot of television appearances. Has this helped you become seasoned as a performer and at ease with the camera?
Yes, it is a different skill set. All aspects of being in front of the camera whether in an interview situation or performing – the more you do it the easier it becomes. Practice makes perfect. There are some things you would never think of or need in a live performance that you learn when making a music video. I do love to be in front of the camera and feel that there is a great deal more I can learn.
Please tell us about Harmony4Kidz and what you hope to achieve in the future in regards to combatting homelessness.
Harmony4kidz is an organization that helps the homeless and at risk youths to get music education. We provide music lessons for kids who can’t afford them otherwise. Harmony4kidz is still fairly new and are focusing on spreading the word about the situation with the homeless youths. Bringing music opportunities to some of the homeless young people in NYC and CT has been a very rewarding experience and we hope to continue the effort and to grow our foundation so that we can assist more and more homeless and underprivileged young people develop their musical talent.
What are your thoughts on the state of the music industry and the current opportunities for independent artists?
I think it is the best time ever to be an independent artist. There are opportunities that simply did not exist in the 90’s or even 10 years ago. I am still trying to figure out how to get a million downloads on iTunes for my songs though :-), but at least I know that the possibility of that does exist. I love David Murdock’s quote, “To do the impossible you must see the invisible” and I do see a tremendous opportunity for the independent artists of today.
What advice do you have for artists who want to do what you do?
Just keep walking towards your dreams and never ever stop.
What are your plans for 2012?
I am focusing on my new group, Valiant Hart. There is a new album in the works… I have been working on a screen play, entitled Bermuda Road. I would like to be able to get the film funded in 2012.
By: James – firstname.lastname@example.org