DRESS: MALAN BRETON
Jamie Hannah has burst onto the music scene, going from strength to strength in his career as a quirky, eccentric pop artist. Hannah was originally an opera singer and you can clearly hear this in his music, where he infuses classical techniques with more modern methodologies. As a result of being influenced by such a broad range of people, varying from composer G.F. Handel to Lady Gaga, Hannah is able to bring a unique individual aspect to pop which is a genre that was dominated by his mentor, Boy George. The future is incredibly bright for Hannah who is only 22 and in this interview we discuss his recent move to London, his inspirations in both music and fashion, his international impact and of course, what he has planned in the coming months.
Q: Where are you from?
A: I grew up in Winchester, in the south of England. A country boy…now trying to live in London…the city of dreams yeah?
What drew you towards making music? Was being a singer always a dream for you?
Music has been an integral part of me since I can remember singing nursery rhymes and making music when I was young. Whilst studying as on opera singer I found I would never be practicing a new Mozart aria or French song but I’d be listening to artists like Tracy Chapman, Lady Gaga or Anthony and the Johnsons, which fuelled me to write my own music. Life continually kept throwing me hurdles. A cathartic way for me to deal with these would be to write, to not pursue something so integral to me as a career would have been silly.
Yeah you can definitely hear the deeper emotion behind your music. Was that the reason that you released two music videos for ‘Sound of my Youth’ and ‘House of Truth’?
Yes, I thought both songs would sound great with different treatments. This was to strip it back to the emotion of the narrative of the song. The videos represent different aspects of the narrative. The acoustic versions allow me to fully explore my thoughts and emotions in pictures as well as music.
That was a great idea. I think that the videos undoubtedly provide a more stripped down, vulnerable version of both songs.
Congratulations on your collaboration with Boy George! I can see from your music that he must be a massive inspiration for you. Aside from him though, name three artists that have also influenced you?
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Thank you. George has very much been an inspiration. He has a way with words, with his lyrics that continually amaze me. Even when we were in the studio together, his creative mind is one that motivates me to think outside of the box, and challenge the ‘norm’. I have quite an eclectic range of influences from pop and classical music. Lady Gaga; her message to be unapologetically yourself, and her incredibly elevated fashion sense. Elton John; his stunning cinematic soundtracks and beautiful story telling ballads, I’m forever in awe. Then not an artist but a composer, G.F. Handel, in the chord progressions he uses with sexy orchestral instrumentation. I love combining all this together in my music to create a fresh electro pop synth sound whilst still using classical instrumentation.
So what genre would you describe your music as?
Quirky is a good word. I would say ‘ethereal dance pop’ with influences from classical music.
And for someone that has not listened, describe your music in three words.
Ethereal, Pop, Boogie.
What is the main message that you want to send out to your fans?
Individuality is special. Don’t be afraid to be who you are. Everyone’s opinion is subjective. Speak out. Stick to your guns. Hope and Love. Speak up. Don’t be afraid to who you are.
If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?
As Sandra Bullock says so rightly in Miss Congeniality… ‘World Peace’.
Which gig has been your best yet and why?
Most definitely the gig George and I did at The Wellington in June. We performed House of Truth for the first time together and I did a few songs from my upcoming EP. That evening, we also premiered the music video that George directed. The energy in the room was incredible.
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Your music is seeping internationally and getting a lot of US coverage, how do you feel about that?
Music is international these days – social media, streaming services – all go worldwide. I have fans in South America, USA, China and the Far East as well as in Europe and closer to home. It’s sweet!
Are you interested in fashion? Who is your biggest inspiration with regards to your dress sense?
Next to music, fashion is my next greatest love. It’s the experiment with the classic and the new that I love. During London Fashion week last year the Malan Breton show at the House of St Barnabas was incredible. Kim Jones and his collaborations with Supreme and Chapman Brothers. I loved the Louis Vuitton collaboration with Jeff Koons and then the old masters like Titian and Rubin’s. I also love Jeremy Scott’s work with his brand Moschino.
Are you listening to any UK music artists at the moment, if so, who are your three favourites?
Oh the list is endless but probably Jacob Banks, Grace Carter and Freya Ridings.
Do you have an official release of 'House of Truth' and what can your fans expect from you in the near future?
The official release date is on the 19th July with an acoustic version on the 9th August. There are also some club remixes to come out during August. I’m just putting the final touches to my EP too, which should be coming out in late Autumn.
Photography: Niklas Haze Styling: Angelica Stenvinkel Make Up: Rebecca Hampson Interview: Ethan Odle Photo Assistent: Alex Kim