20 Questions: Hillary Capps

Monday, May 8th, 2017
Hillary Capps

Hillary Capps | photo by Daquan Nelson

“20 Questions With Verbicide” is an interview series in which an artist is handed a list of more than 100 questions and they select 20 from the list they would like to answer.

Singer-Songwriter Hillary Capps combines thoughtful lyricism with clean, soaring vocals and catchy melodies — captivating audiences with her alluring alt-pop songs.

The Vermont native, who now lives in Brooklyn, released her first full-length album, The Wishing Forest in 2014. Now, in 2017, she is following up that release with two brand-new singles, “Last Call” and “Magic.” And she is also taking part in 20 Questions With Verbicide, below.

What is your favorite musical act of the 1990s?

One fav is too hard. Spice Girls (I can’t lie), Destiny’s Child, TLC, Brandy, Fiona Apple, Jewel, and Hanson were my go-to’s as a ’90s kid.

What is your favorite musical act of the 1920s?

Louis Armstrong.

If you could only appear on one late-night television show, which would it be?

Jimmy Fallon.

Apples or bananas?


Opples or bononos?


Where is your ideal vacation spot?

Trying to get to Greece. I’ve been wanting to go there for years.

How has your family influenced your career?

Immensely. My Dad is a jazz guitarist. I got my start at 16 singing at weddings/events as a jazz vocalist with him and his band. He bought me my first guitar. He and my mom supported me financially while I was getting a music degree at the New School. My mom introduced me to my chosen home, New York, through many trips as a kid and teen. I could go on!

What is your absolute oldest memory?

I’m not sure my oldest, but I have a few around the same time I think: I remember the night my little sister was born (I was four) and my aunt coming over in the middle of the night. I remember my mom singing me to sleep in my room with glow-in-the-dark stars on the wood panel ceiling. When I was newly using the “big girl” toilet on my own, I remember being afraid that Ursula from The Little Mermaid was gonna come out and grab me.

Ryan Reynolds or Bradley Cooper?


What is the greatest live band you’ve ever seen?

I think Sara Bareilles at Radio City was one of the best concerts I’ve experienced.

Which band or performer would you love to see, but haven’t yet?

Feist. Adele. Radiohead.

What defunct band or deceased performer would you have loved to have seen, but won’t be able to?

Ella Fitzgerald.

Ever tried online dating? How did that go?

No. But I did meet my partner (boyfriend/guitarist/co-songwriter/producer/roommate etc.) on Craigslist. I posted an add “seeking band” (seven years ago this summer), and ended up in his rock band Cheers To Fall. That band didn’t work out, but we did. Thanks Craig.

Death by the iron maiden, or death by chocolate?

Chocolate is always the answer.

If recreational space travel ever becomes possible, where would you be most interested in visiting?

The moon!

What is your favorite website?


Butter or margarine?


What is your favorite spice in your spice rack?

Garlic salt.

What do you believe is the easiest way a person can make the world a better place?

I believe that art makes the world a better place, so artists should continue to make and share their art in whatever capacity possible (not that it’s easy).

Where would you rather hang out: a dive bar, a trendy coffee shop, or an old-fashioned drugstore with a counter where you can get an egg cream and a hamburger for a nickel?

I know this is not the cool answer, but trendy coffee shop. I love good coffee. I love sitting with my computer and a latte (I mean, come on, I live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn).

What song really hits you in the feels and makes you cry?

Oof so many. “Skylark” by Hoagy Carmichael. “Gravity” by Sara Bareilles. “Case of You” by Joni Mitchell. “Lump Sum” and “22 (Over Soon)” Bon Iver. “Dawn” RX Y. “I Know a Place” by MUNA. “Tale As Old As Time” (Celine and Peabo). Whitney Houston’s National Anthem video. Kings of Leon “Revelry.” Ray Charles “Georgia,” “You Don’t Know Me,” and “Drown in My Own Tears.” I’m a crier, I could go on.

Which social media site do you use/like the most? How can people find/follow you?

Instagram is my favorite! I’m @hillcapps on Insta, Twitter, and Snapchat. @hillarycappsmusic on Facebook. Check out my posts on Instagram leading up to the release of “Last Call” (4/25), and stay tuned for the story surrounding my second single “Magic” (+ music video)!

Surfing or snowboarding?

Beach chair with a cocktail. Fireplace with a hot cocoa.

What’s the best venue you’ve ever played?

Rockwood Music Hall is my favorite NYC venue to play. I’ve played all three stages and always have a great show.

What’s the worst venue you’ve ever played?

I don’t remember the name of the venue, but it was a dive bar in Murfreesboro, North Carolina. This was on a tour down to SXSW with the rock band I was in, Cheers To Fall. I think it was off a dirt road and we had no service and thought we might get murdered.

What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?

My niece!

At what age did you decide you wanted to be a musician?

Three, with my debut single, “Puppies Are So Nice.”

If you were given a million dollars, what would you do with it?

Make some music, pay off debt, help my family out, invest some, travel, give to Planned Parenthood, New Alternatives, and Sing for Hope.

Glasses or contacts?


How many tattoos do you have?

One. Just a dorky little music note with hearts I got when I was 19. I should probably follow up with a better one at some point.

Who is your all-time favorite author? If you can’t decide, list more than one. Which is your favorite book by your favorite author(s)?

So many! A few: Patti Smith’s Just Kids and M Train. Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex and The Marriage Plot.

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring artists?

Success will not necessarily come quickly or easily. It will be harder than you think. It will cost you a lot of money. Practice your craft whenever you can. Say yes as much as possible. Know when to say no. Meet as many people as possible. Fully enjoy the little successes along the way.

If you could undo one thing you’ve done? What would it be and why?

I’ve made a lot of mistakes but I don’t think I would undo any of them, because I learned and grew from them. Tale as old as time.

Scuba diving or hang-gliding?


What is the highest academic degree that you hold?


Other than your primary artistic medium, what is your next go-to?

Dance. I’m not the best at it, but I love it. I also take pole-dancing classes.

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