When Ollie Greenhalgh isn’t busy with his university studies in Nottingham, he creates genre-bending pop music under the moniker hidingthehurt. As the first instalment of Impact Music’s new ‘Spotlight on Nottingham’ series, Gemma Cockrell caught up with Greenhalgh to speak about emo rap, hyperpop, the Nottingham music scene, and his exciting plans for the rest of the year.
“My name is an oxymoron of my art,” Greenhalgh explains thoughtfully. “I’m called hidingthehurt, but if you listen to my music, you’ll realise that I’m not hiding it – I’m sharing it in the open. For my whole life, I’ve hidden my hurt and projected a smile whenever I’m sad inside. But my music represents me accepting my feelings and not putting a facade in front of them. It’s the most honest version of myself.”
It was the pandemic that inspired him to finally start releasing music
Greenhalgh adopted his current stage name in 2020, but his musical journey began long before. “I started making EDM music when I was 13 on GarageBand for a couple of years, but I never released anything. I also played guitar and piano, but never to a good skill level.” It was the pandemic that inspired him to finally start releasing music. “In lockdown last year I decided that I might as well give it a proper go. I’d always wanted to do it. So, I started the hidingthehurt project just over a year ago,” he confirms.
“I’ve always seen music as a mechanism to help people. When I was feeling down, I’d listen to music and it would help, so I want to help other people in the same way.” The emotional honesty within his lyrics was heavily inspired by The Smiths. “I know that sounds bad, Morrissey isn’t the best person!” he acknowledges with a guilty grin. “But they were revolutionary for their time. The 80s was mainly disco, dance, pop, romance. But they kept it real and spoke about things that everyone goes through.”
Greenhalgh found that the “emo bracket” fitted him best in terms of his sound, taking influence from emo rap artists like Kid Cudi and the late Lil Peep. “With emo rappers like Kid Cudi, they signed deals really early on and they became commercial. But I liked the fact that Lil Peep did it all with his friends. He was always himself, and I respected that. He influenced a lot of big rappers in the scene.”
In particular, the hyperpop record label PC Music have been instrumental in the way he makes his music
Alongside his emo rap influences, Greenhalgh also adopted elements of hyperpop into his music. “I think fusing them together is a good thing. It’s important to cross genre boundaries,” he affirms. In particular, the hyperpop record label PC Music have been instrumental in the way he makes his music. “They’ve influenced my sound in terms of production and how I mix my vocals. I think they have influenced the whole hyperpop scene in general.”
Hyperpop has proven to be a controversial label amongst the artists associated with it, and Greenhalgh has his own opinion on the term. “If you were to break it down, hyperpop is just pop pushed to its limits. That definition isn’t necessarily wrong, but I do think the genre is hard to label. That’s why I never claim to be a hyperpop artist. To me, everyone who is in the hyperpop label is just experimental.”
Instead of classifying himself as a hyperpop artist, Greenhalgh tries to avoid genre labels entirely. But, if he was forced to define his sound, he feels that “emo pop” is the best fit. “It’s a transfusion of pop and emo, with a bit of experimental too. With my production, sometimes its guitar, sometimes its synths. It changes. I don’t like to stick to the same thing,” he admits.
The Nottingham music scene has greatly influenced Greenhalgh’s music during his time studying at university, through connecting with local artists like KID TRASH and sendflowrs. “They’re both from Nottingham, and without Nottingham I wouldn’t have been able to connect with them. There are hundreds of musicians who are doing really well here. Unfortunately, no one’s been able to play live in the past year, but the city has a really great music scene.”
Greenhalgh is looking forward to the prospect of performing to a live crowd once the pandemic is over
Speaking of live shows, Greenhalgh is looking forward to the prospect of performing to a live crowd once the pandemic is over. “I’ve had a few emails asking if I want to arrange live shows, COVID-dependent of course. Things keeps getting pushed back, but I really hope to play live by the end of this year. I’d be disappointed if I didn’t. I know Nottingham has some great venues.”
Greenhalgh’s latest single is titled wait4me. “I wrote and recorded it in October, after I broke up with my ex-girlfriend, so some of the lyrics were definitely inspired by her. The overall theme of the song is the step between school and university. I thought some of my problems would escape me after I left school, but they didn’t. It doesn’t matter where you go, you can’t run away from your problems. You have to fix them and solve them.”
Greenhalgh also recently featured on a collaborative track called lost n found. “It’s a big piece. There’s seven of us on the track, all from the UK hyperpop scene. It’s our challenge to the US hyperpop scene, to show that there needs to be more eyes on the UK scene – but not in an arrogant way!” he clarifies with a laugh. “The song showcases what we can do together as a UK community. It’s very catchy and pop-driven.”
Looking into the future, Greenhalgh has the remainder of 2021 planned out in its entirety
Looking to the future, Greenhalgh has the remainder of 2021 planned out in its entirety. “I have another two singles coming out before the end of August. My next single was produced by blackwinterwells who is quite big in the hyperpop scene. I’m planning to release a six-track EP in either October or November, and then hopefully one more single afterwards, to round off the year.”
For the time being, Greenhalgh recommends the songs E and Sunrises as highlights of his current discography. “E is my most personal song. It’s about my life, but there are no metaphors. Sunrises is my most popular song on Soundcloud, and in terms of quality I think it’s my best song, going off my ability both lyrically and flow wise.”
Check out hidingthehurt’s music on Spotify:
Featured image courtesy of Sam Nahirny. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.
In-article images courtesy of Sam Nahirny and @hidingthehurt._ via instagram.com. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to these images.
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