Rising Star Hank Quillen On The Five Things You Need To Shine In The Entertainment Industry


Don’t Rush –take your time with the creative process.

As a part of our series about pop culture’s rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Hank Quillen.

Hank Quillen is an actor/songwriter/producer who writes and records his own songs and has appeared in hit TV Shows and feature films.

His newest single is entitled ‘Treading Water’. Previous releases include ‘A Southern Style River Revival volumes I and II’, ‘Wings of Freedom’ and ‘Just Love’.

On the acting side Hank has had roles in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Logan Lucky’ and Shane Black’s ‘The Nice Guys’. He also appeared in the critically acclaimed limited series ‘Women of the Movement’ on ABC along with many other movies and TV Shows.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

Grew up in a small town in the mountains of Virginia called Gate City. The Carter Family is from the area. Great place to grow up with the beauty of the Mountains and rivers which you don’t fully appreciate till you move away. I chronicled that in my song ‘Where I’m From’ on a previous release.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

I’ve always been creative, drawing, writing stories and such since I can remember. I set out to see if I could make a living at it and see if maybe I had something to offer to the world.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Got to do a scene with Russell Crow in the movie ‘The Nice Guys’. Quick little scene but it was great to meet him and work with him.

It has been said that mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Playing and not realizing the Microphone wasn’t working. Learned about monitors, talking with the sound guy, making sure everything was in order before the performance.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?

On the acting side I just finished up a horror movie where I play the main evil in it. Called ‘The Other People’ and hopefully will be out soon. Working on another full length album I hope to put out in the coming months.

You have been blessed with success in a career path that can be challenging. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

Perseverance. It’s a grind sometimes and you have to embrace that aspect of it also. Keep pushing forward always striving to improve. Be open to criticism and decide what to do with it. Sometimes it can open your eyes up and other times you have to brush it aside.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

It represents humanity in the real world. That’s the ultimate goal I think of art, is to represent the world we live in. People listen to songs or watch films to see themselves in it, they are not coming to see you, they are coming to see themselves.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. How to measure success- It’s not how much money you have or how much you sell.
  2. Don’t Rush –take your time with the creative process.
  3. Believe in the process- put in the work and the process will take care of itself.
  4. Don’t force it — if it’s not happening walk away for a little bit, let it come to you instead of constantly chasing it down or forcing things.
  5. Save you money –finally getting around to that, but wished I would have started long ago watching the finances.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Take breaks. Get away from a project for a little while then come back to it. You can see it with fresh eyes that way sometimes.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 😊

Be authentic and true to yourself. I think if first we would be honest with ourselves then we can be honest with each other.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have a brother in law Les Dotson who turned me on to what I would say it REAL music and art. Open me up to people like Ry Cooder, Willie Dixon, Robert Johnson, Jimmie Rodgers. All the old blues guys from way back in the day. The source where a lot music and art comes from these days.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

‘Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the live you’ve imagined’ -Henry David Thoreau. It has helped guide me, I mean this is the only life we get why would I not live what I’ve imagined it to be like. Simple concept yet difficult to implement for us all.

Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 😊

Sir Paul McCartney. Basically changed music and culture. Would love to find out his process for writing and inspiration.

How can our readers follow you online?


This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!



Edward Sylvan CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group
Authority Magazine

Edward Sylvan is the Founder and CEO of Sycamore Entertainment Group Inc. He is committed to telling stories that speak to equity, diversity, and inclusion.