PHOTO CREDIT: Simone Lezzi
HER album, Pieces of the Night, is out on 22nd June…
so I have spent the time speaking with Hannah Scott about its stories and messages. She tells me how she is adapting having been diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis; what gigs she has coming up; if she has a favourite memory from music – Scott recommends a couple of newer artists worth some time and energy.
Scott talks about Stefano Della Casa’s role in her music and how important her time in Italy was; whether she gets any time to detach away from music; what she hopes to achieve by the end of this year; the artists she counts as idols – the young songwriter ends the interview by selecting a stunning track.
Hi, Hannah. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi! I’m not too bad, thanks. A busy week leading up to the release of my new single, Boy in the Frame!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name is Hannah Scott. I perform ‘Contemporary Folk’ music with thoughtful lyrics and a distinctive voice (so I’m told!). I work closely with my creative partner, Stefano Della Casa, and we make, tour and release all the music just the two of us.
Pieces of the Night is your album, out on 22nd June. Can you reveal the inspiration behind the album and the moods contained within?
I would say these are honest songs about the human condition and human connection in an increasingly hectic world. These are songs inspired by family, hope and self-belief. I think, on first listen, it could come across as downbeat, but I hope there are positive messages to be taken from the lyrics.
Is it true you were recently diagnosed with a form of arthritis? Has this made a big impact on how and how often you perform?
Yes. I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (impressed if you can pronounce it: I’ve only just learnt to spell it…) about three years ago. In hindsight, I should probably have taken a break to look after myself, but I’m not very good at stopping. There have been times when Stefano has had to help me up and down from the stage! He always carries all our equipment and ends up looking like a roadie rather than an artist!
I feel guilty making you type some replies! Has that diagnosis, in a sense, made you more determined, or are you a bit more selective regarding what you write?
More determined, definitely. I try to use my physical pain to drive me forwards, even though it is tough at times. I would say I am probably more selective regarding the shows I do because travel is hard on my body. In terms of writing, I think I have a new perspective, but I’m not sure I’d say I was selective regarding what I actually write.
Many commentators and media sources have complemented your arresting vocals and beautiful songwriting. Did it take a lot of experimentation to get to where you are now?
I would say time, rather than experimentation. I’ve learnt my craft by doing it over the past ten years or so; I’ve learned how to be on stage by regularly getting up on stage and learned how to write (hopefully) good songs by getting my head down and writing.
Who would you count as influenced regarding your own songwriting?
My early influences were artists such as Counting Crows, Ryan Adams; Ray LaMontagne - and I continue to listen to them today. Some of my favourite current artists include Christine and the Queens, John Smith and Foy Vance.
PHOTO CREDIT: Simone Lezzi
How important is Stefano Della Casa with regards your music and progress? When did you two meet one another?
Paramount, I would say!
We met through a mutual contact when he was first moving to London and just started jamming together - and it went from there really. It’s possible we met years prior to that though because, when I lived in Italy, I regularly passed through the train station he was working in at the time! Over the past five or so years, we’ve been working very closely; all the songs on the album have been written together and I definitely wouldn’t be the artist I am without his input and presence.
Italy is where you spend a lot of time and split your time. Is it a great country to play and create in?
Yes. I’ve been in love with Italy ever since I went there just after my A-levels and decided to change my degree course to include Italian. I lived there for a year as part of my degree and that year was so important to the choices I have made and the direction I have taken. I love spending time there, whether it’s to write, perform or just be.
Can we see you tour this year? What gigs do you have coming along?
Yes! Lots of festivals coming up over the summer. We have an album launch party on 21st June at The Nave on Bishopsgate in London and we’re also making our way north as far as Preston (Winedown, 14th June) and to Wales (Blue Sky Cafe, Bangor on 15th June). You can find more dates at my website.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
I’m looking forward to putting the new record out, getting on the road and meeting new people. I hope we reach some new ears with this music!
Have you got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
I would say one of the highlights was performing live on Radio 2 on Dermot O’Leary’s show. He had played a previous single of mine, Hurricanes, on his ‘Some Mother’s Do Indie’ feature the previous week and it went down so well that they invited us into the studio for a live session the following week.
I also feel very privileged to have travelled with my music - not only to Italy but also twice to the U.S. (with funding from PRS Foundation and thanks to a successful PledgeMusic campaign) and Germany.
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
Play live as much as you can, write as often as you can; see it as a journey rather than a destination.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Ha! Occasionally! Yoga and swimming - and the moment to try and keep my body moving…
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
Sara Bareilles – Satellite Call. LOVE this
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