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“When I wanted to give up, I thought of who I may be helping that night and that gave me the toughness to carry on”, with Em Hoggett

Em Hoggett is a rising music star. There’s something that she wants to tell you. And it’s going to hurt.

Image by Suzanne Allison

Em Hoggett is a rising music star. There’s something that she wants to tell you. And it’s going to hurt.

This series has continued to highlight how those in the spot light handle adversity in their life.

I strongly encourage those reading to reach out and talk to someone when life has you down, there are so many willing to listen, and Em is one of them.

Em opened up and provided some incredible insight in our full interview below.

Tell us about YOU when you’re not at the office.

“I am adventurous. I love to travel and be in nature. You can always find me hiking at the top of a mountain in Los Angeles. I love to swim, discover hidden forests, caves. I travelled a lot growing up and still love to do so. Seeing new places and meeting new people is one of my favourite things to do.

“I’m from London so I’ve seen a lot of Europe. Italy is one of my favorite places. My last trip was to Hawaii and that was incredible — I had no phone or laptop for the whole trip and totally disconnected from the outside world. I could fully embrace the nature, the different culture and the people.”

Can you tell us something about you that few people know?

“I LOVE to improvise. And I love to play the drums. Most of my songs originate from 10-minute piano-vocal improvisations I do when I feel overwhelmed with emotion and have to get it out. But, I love to improvise just for fun, too. I had drum lessons as a child and now I’ve started getting back into it. I incorporate drums into my live shows — playing the piano and drumming at the same time isn’t easy but it’s fun.”

Do you have any exciting projects going on right now?

“I’ve just released my EP, “What I Want to Say to You,” produced by Grammy-nominated Bruce Witkin. The EP is about my experience with rape and 100% of net proceeds are donated to sexual-assault charities. It’s exciting because it’s something the world truly needs to hear. Rape is still very taboo in our culture and it shouldn’t be.

“I know that if these songs had been on the radio after my own experience, I would’ve felt so much less afraid to speak out and so much less alone. I want this EP to help survivors to feel less alone, encourage survivors to speak out, and to expose to the rest of the world the true horrors of rape in order to inspire them to actively make a change.

“Music has an incredible power to make people feel something, and I really hope that hearing these songs will not only help people, but also inspire the people who look on and enable sexual assault to make a change and take action.”

Many people say success correlates with the people you meet in your life. Can you describe two that most impacted your success and why.

“Meeting Bruce (Witkin) has been an essential part of the success of this EP. He was really the catalyst to make “What I Want to Say to You” happen. His belief and support was invaluable and I am eternally grateful to him for allowing me to feel so safe while being so vulnerable and for believing that this story needs to be heard.

“I have been fortunate to meet many people in my life who have contributed to my success: teachers, parents, supportive friends. Picking two is difficult, especially since I have met many people in the last year alone who have helped me. There are a few people in my life right now who I am sure will be huge parts of my future success.

“As for the success I have already achieved, other than my incredible parents, my piano teacher has been a huge part of my life and successes as a child. I started lessons at 4-years-old, until I moved to America, and she was my introduction to music and my biggest support throughout my childhood and teenage years. I have two degree-level diplomas in classical piano, which I achieved at age 11 and 15; I attribute that largely to her.

“I also had incredible opportunities as a child, competing all over the UK, playing at the Royal Festival Hall with renowned concert pianist Lang Lang, and in Italy at the Fazioli concert hall. Her support, encouragement and kindness, were key to my childhood success.

Image by Suzanne Allison

Leaders always seem to find ways to overcome their weaknesses. Can you share one or two examples of how you work outside of your comfort zone to achieve success?

“I always work outside of my comfort zone. It’s a habit. While working on the EP, I thought to myself ‘How can I get this message across even more’ and I realized that the answer was to visualize it. My partner and I then began an intensive five weeks of creation and rehearsals which resulted in a 30-minute physical theatre/dance piece of the EP. It told the story of a woman in the aftermath of her rape, overcoming different emotions and battling against her rapist, in the hope of coming to a place of acceptance.

“I was totally out of my comfort zone. I hadn’t danced properly for around five years, so throwing myself into a dance piece to perform live was definitely a challenge. The most challenging thing was the content, as I literally had to relive my rape every day for two months. The whole show, physically, emotionally and mentally was one of the hardest things I have ever done, but every time that I wanted to give up, I asked myself ‘Why’ I was doing this. And I was always reminded that I was doing this in the hope of helping others, and that is what kept me going.

“After this show I questioned why I always work outside of my comfort zone, and I realized that it’s because I want to grow. If I always did things that I found easy, I would never grow and become better. I can’t wait to look back when I’m 90 and think. ‘wow! I did that, and that, and that.’ Doing things outside of your comfort zone gets you in the mindset of ‘I can do anything’ because if you do something you’re truly uncomfortable in, you come away thinking, ‘well if I did that, what can’t I do?’

The concept of mind over matter has been around for years. A contemporary description of this is having mental toughness. Can you give us an example (or two) of obstacles you’ve overcome by getting your mind in the right place (some might call this reframing the situation)?

“I am a very strong believer in mindset. During the live show, I had to relive my rape every day. This was incredibly challenging; it was emotionally raw and very exposing and the fact it was a dance show made it even more of a test. But, I just had to tell myself ‘I can do this.’ I was nervous before every show, and I had a very precise routine to get my mind in the right place, including meditating. After actively doing this, I was in a place of trust and belief. I didn’t think ahead, I just stayed in the moment and trusted that everything would be there, and it was.

“A big part of the mental toughness and stamina that allowed me to perform this extremely vulnerable and triggering piece came from the thought of who it may help. When I wanted to give up, I thought of who I may be helping that night and that gave me the toughness to carry on.

“The rape itself is a good example of my mindset. I am still in an incredible amount of pain, but I choose to actively focus on the positives in my life and the things I can do to make a difference. I could wake up every day with the mindset of ‘my life is so hard, and I can’t cope with this pain any longer,’ but I choose to get up and think ‘what can I do today that will help somebody? What can I do today to express my pain in a creative and helpful way? What do I need?’ And, to truly listen to that voice.

“Perspective is key. It’s all about looking at things with the right lens. You can look at things with a negative lens or positive lens. It is possible to look at everything in life with a positive lens. That isn’t to say that sadness or anger are unwelcome, but to be able to reflect on that time of sadness and see it as a positive that helped you grow is a choice. I like to look back on my hardships and think of the strength they have given me and who they have helped me become. It’s all about mindset and how you look at it.”

Image by Suzanne Allison

What unfiltered advice can you give aspiring stars regarding how to avoid common mis-fires in starting their career?

“Don’t give up. In an age of instant gratification, we can all become frustrated at the lack of immediate results when it comes to our careers. But success can take time. My advice is don’t expect anything from anyone. Work for yourself.

“Many of the successes and achievements in my life happened because I MADE them happen. I saw what I wanted and went after it. If you know what you want, go out there and work your hardest to get it. Don’t sit back and expect for it to come to you. I believe in manifestation and the law of attraction, but in order to attract something, not only do you have to state what you want, you must take actions towards it. I was lucky enough to have a supportive family, but I do believe that it is possible to achieve your dreams no matter your situation.

“Be careful who you work with. Research people. There are definitely unpleasant experiences in this industry. As both an actress and musician, I have experienced this in both fields. I have worked with many fantastic people, but when you’re starting out, just make sure to check out the people who are interested in you. Some of them might not be as legit as they seem.

“Also, never give up on your personal values in the hope of success. Even if an incredibly successful person offers you an opportunity, but if you don’t like what they’re asking for, or you don’t like the way they treat you, walk away. I have definitely had experiences where I could’ve had a great opportunity, but letting go of my own values and beliefs, or being treated in a way that is disrespectful is not worth it, no matter how big the opportunity.

“Your true success will come when you are fully in line with your own values and surrounded by people who support and respect them.”

What is one “efficiency hack” you use consistently in your life to keep your time and mind free to focus on your strengths and passions?

“A morning routine; journaling, meditating, hiking. It is essential to take care of yourself before anything else. My day and my work will always be so much better, more focused, and done with more energy if I have slept well, eaten well, meditated and written in the morning. Getting all your thoughts out on a page as soon as you wake up clears you head.

“Following with meditation gets me in the right space for the day, allowing me to set my intentions. Positive affirmations are also awesome. If you do this in the morning, the rest of your day and your mind are free to focus on your passion and your work. If I don’t do this, I definitely feel tired/distracted/agitated later in the day.

“Although it takes time to do these things, it actually gives you more time, as later in the day you will not find yourself distracted with thoughts, as you have already cleared your head. You also won’t feel uncertain or stressed about what to do next or how to fit everything in, as meditation gets you into a state of calmness. I am much more efficient when I take time out to look after myself. If I wake up and work, work, work, the quality of my work and my mindset will be drastically different. Look after yourself! You deserve it.”

All actors or musicians have sleepless nights. We have a term we use with our clients called the “2 a.m. moment.” It’s when you’re wide awake and thinking not-so-positive thoughts about your business choices and future. Can you describe a 2 a.m. moment (or moments) you’ve had and how you overcame the challenges?

“I have definitely had moments where I think, ‘wow, what if this doesn’t succeed? What if this doesn’t take me where I think it will? What if I just end up in the same place I am now?’ I overcome this with my mindset, which is that everything in my life, good or bad, is leading me to something greater. If I’m really caught up on an opportunity and I think ‘this is it,’ and then it’s not, that is a hard blow at first. But then I sit back and remind myself, ‘OK, this wasn’t it then. This wasn’t meant to be.’ And, even though it hurts at the time, or I may not understand it, it always leads me to something greater, even if that takes a while.

“When the next opportunity comes along, or you have an amazing day, it is nice to remind yourself, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t be here right now if that other thing had worked out.’

“Don’t worry too much about the failures; they are all there to make you stronger, more resilient, intelligent and wise. Also, think of the pure joy you’ll feel when you do get that opportunity, which you will if you believe in it wholeheartedly. You’ll know how much you overcame to get there. It wouldn’t be so worth it if everything had been easy.”

Nobody likes to fail, and we sure don’t like to admit we failed. Can you describe a moment when you confided your most closely-held business issues/problems to someone close to you, and how the conversation(s) helped you work through the issue?

“During the recording of the EP, there were a few moments where I lost my belief or felt like I couldn’t do it. I spoke to my parents on the phone in those moments and that helped monumentally. Talking to them reminded me that 1) I was not alone. I had support and people who wanted the best for me. 2) I could do it, and all of my doubts were only stemming from my own mind. 3) The importance of confiding in others and asking for help when you need it.

“I used to be quite a closed person, but I now try to talk to others and ask for help whenever I need it; it is incredible to see that the support is almost always there if you just open up and ask.”

What’s on the drawing board for your next venture?

“My partner and I, Umar Malik, have been writing a TV series for the past year, also called What I Want to Say to You. My next venture is to find funding to make this six-episode series. It carries a very important and unique message and we’re excited to share it with the world.

“I also have a lot of exciting music to share. I have another EP ready to go, so who knows when I’ll be back in the studio.”

What did we miss? Feel free to share any other thoughts or advice on overcoming failure, initiatives you’re currently supporting, any other relevant information you would like to share with the readers.

“My EP is a gift to survivors of sexual assault and harassment, and a statement to the perpetrators and enablers. I would like to say to any survivor out there, if you have never told anyone and you feel like you might be able to, do it. I think you will be surprised at the response. And if you are afraid that you will not be believed, contact me. I WILL believe you. You can reach me at [email protected] and share your story.

“I am very proud to be donating 100% of net proceeds to sexual assault charities, including ItsOnUs founded by Joe Biden, TimesUp and RAINN, amongst others. The EP is available for $3.96 on iTunes, Amazon and GooglePlay. Hardcopy CDs and t-shirts are also available on Amazon. Help me to support these incredible charities by purchasing a copy. Thank you so much.”

Image by Suzanne Allison

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

My personal accounts on Twitter and Instagram are: @emhoggett13

To follow the EP:

Instagram: @what.i.want.to.say.to.you

Twitter: @WIWTSTY

Website: www.whatiwanttosaytoyou.com

This was really awesome! Thank you so much for joining us!

Originally published at medium.com

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