No rest for the wicked
Erica Heynatz shows us her sweeter side... By Cec Busby
I wonder when Erika Heynatz sleeps... She seems to have so many projects on the go that I imagine her catching forty winks rather than a full night of zeees. Heynatz is a woman with many ambitions. She likes to wear a lot of hats – just look at her career progression from model to presenter to host to actress to her recent incarnation as a solo artist who’s set to launch her debut CD, Sweeter Side, this month.
According to Erika she’s been harbouring dreams of a musical career since her teenage years. Not one to sing into a hairbrush, nonetheless Erika remembers music always playing an important part in her life growing up. In fact she fondly recalls her mum “belting out a number while she was hoovering the house”.
“It was probably a bit of a sight to behold and rubbed off a little on me,’ laughs Erika. “So house cleaning is never dull at my place...”
Given her passion for music and her ability to juggle multiple projects it’s surprising that Heynatz has waited so long to let out her inner songbird, but Erika admits she thinks now is the perfect time: “I don’t think I would have been ready at an earlier age and I think my experience in other areas has given me greater courage,” explains Erika. “I feel a real connectedness now and the songs are a reflection of my life. Now just seems to be the right time to explore and be open hearted about it rather than half arsed about it...”
Indeed Heynatz has no trouble baring her soul on the album which offers up a musical smorgasbord from sultry numbers to contemporary pop gems. She credits some of this lyrical honesty to her co-writers but admits she never wanted to produce one of those “too cool for school” releases.
“By nature I’m quite direct and honest, so I wanted to be like that on the album not cryptic but rather create something that was true to me and hopefully people will resonate with that.”
While song writing for Sweeter Side, Heynatz managed to hook up with some of the pop worlld’s best writers from Chris Braide (Kylie) to Steve Booker (responsible for many of Duffy’s hits). So how did this virtual unknown (at least in musical circles) find such great collaborators?
“I wish it was as easy as harassing people,” Erika chuckles. ”But it takes a lot of logistics, a lot of talks with A&R and a lot of discussions about the kind of music I like and the kind of people I’d like to work with. I had a lot of ideas but it’s hard ‘cause I’m unknown so I had to earn my stripes along the way...”
Fortunately Heynatz didn’t have to face off against too many naysayers on her journey to the studio. “There will always be a lot of people that think you have to have training before you qualify – but I think life has been my training...” she sighs, “Whenever there is ex-model ex-TV, ex anything or if you’re a ‘slashie’ like I am – there will be eyebrows raised and nostrils flared. I’ve been copping it all my life so I’m used to it. I think if you’ve got the nuts to do something you’re passionate about, it goes hand in hand...”
Sweeter Side is out July 16 through EMI