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Smalltown America - Charlene Hegarty


Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in 1986 and my name is Charlene – I was named after Kylie’s character in Neighbours! – my musical destiny was formed fresh out of the womb – thanks mum. I started blazing a trail for myself in the weird and wonderful world of music in 2003 and I have just stubbornly refused to give up and hence I remain.

How long have you been in your position? 
I am director of publishing at Smalltown America Music  – I have been happily working in this particular role since 2011.

Tell us a bit about Small Town America, what makes them who they are? 
At Smalltown America we believe that ‘good music needs to be heard’ – that principle guides all the work we do be it releasing 12” LP’s, helping bands find their live audience or pushing hard for that sync opportunity that helps the music find a wider audience. We believe the key to our success is our solid DIY attitude. Smalltown America is 15 years old this year! 

"we are committed, we believe good music needs to be heard and we get the job done."

What’s been the proudest moment in your work so far?
The fact that I am still here is a proud moment when I really sit back and think about it. The music industry is full of twists and turns and I am happy I have been able to ride the wave for this long. That aside, I have had the pleasure of working with some of my favourite artists over the last few years – that’s why any of us do this. 

Who or what inspires you?
My mum’s mum, she ran her own independent business for years – if I could be half of what she was/is I would be so proud. She’s raised three of the strongest women I have ever known and has always believed in the power of being and doing good – she rocks.

That aside I am inspired by people who focus on the positives rather than exchanging on negatives – there is always a stack of reasons not to do things, but that’s what makes it fun right?

I also love the pop star P!NK – her writings about female empowerment had a huge effect on my 14 year old self; thanks P!NK I owe you a beer.

What’s happening in the Belfast music scene at the moment?
When I first moved to Belfast in 2004 – it was all about rock bands, the rock scene was so strong. Rock still remains an important part of the musical fabric but alongside that there are lots of exciting new acoustic/experimental artists coming to the fore including Jealous of the BirdsKathryn PhillipaBeauty SleepPORTS  and Ciaran Lavery.  

"I love the Belfast music scene — there’s never a dull moment."

Rage are thinking of popping over to Belfast…where would you take us, what would we do?
Okay, lets get started early with a nice coffee and breakfast waffles in Established on Hill Street. Now that we have sugar and caffeine on our side lets hike – to the top of Cavehill. Cavehill is a basaltic hill overlooking the entire city - once we have conquered the hill it’s time for lunch – the only place to go is Home Restaurant, Wellington Place. The food is delicious and their menu caters for veggies, vegans, celiacs and ravenous carnivores of course. Next up, the Ulster Museum and if the suns out we can stroll through Botanic Gardens on our way to the museum. Molly’s Yard is a few moments away from the museum and they have the most beautiful Hilden beer on tap so a quick stop here for a beer and/or dinner is a must. Now, we have options – the Queens Film Theatre for the best independent cinema or out to the Black Box or Limelight for a gig? Choices, choices… Either way we will finish our night with the best pint in town courtesy of the Sunflower and perhaps one of the best live traditional music sessions if we hit it lucky….if that’s not enough to tire you out (!!) we can party down with the best drag acts in town in Maverick / Boom Box.

Before you go...

Dog or Cat?

Red or white?

Skis or sandals?

Dancing or cabaret?

Gigs or festivals?

Who is your personal hero? 
Granny Marnie

If you could bring back one musician from the dead, who would it be?
Phil Lynott 

What is your guilty pleasure TV show do you secretly watch?
I watch a lot of bad shows very publicly…the one’s that come to mind first are….Don't Tell The Bride, Nothing To Declare...