THIS is a bit of a hold-over interview...
but it has been nice finding out about Jamie Hannah and his music. He discusses his latest track, Sound of My Youth, and future plans working with Boy George; counting Dame Emma Thompson as a fan and which albums are important to him and which rising artist we need to watch.
I ask Hannah whether there are tour dates coming up and who he’d support on the road if he could choose anyone; how important it is being up on the stage and whether he ever gets chance to chill – he selects a really good track to end the interview with.
Hi, Jamie. How are you? How has your week been?
What a busy week I’ve had. My debut video premiered on Billboard in New York this week. What an amazing reaction I have had. I have also been busy preparing for my first tour. I am the support act for Heather Small on a nine-venue tour around England – so lots of rehearsals with the band, sorting out sessions on the local radio stations and arranging interviews with the press. There is so much to do!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
I am a classically trained Pop singer writing and performing my music. My music is Pop music with lots of Classical influences.
Sound of My Youth is your current single. Can you reveal its origins?
This song is about memories of first love that ended badly. I use the illusion of water and the feeling of drowning to try and explain how I felt about the break up.
You have famous fans including Boy George and Emma Thompson. How does that feel? Have you met them both?
I met Boy George through my producer, Benny D, as they are long-term friends. George and I then met for lunch and we took it from there. We have worked together writing a new song. He is a great mentor and very generous with his time and advice. My next single, House of Truth, is one he has written and we have collaborated on.
Emma is the mother of one of my very good friends. We have met many times and she is great fun and very supportive.
Might there be more material coming later in the year?
My next single is ready to go and I also have an E.P. of tracks on tape waiting to be released.
Do you think your sound has changed and evolved a lot since the earliest days?
Originally, I was a trained countertenor Opera singer. I still use those techniques to sing Pop music. I sing different types of music and my sound is still evolving.
When you were growing up, which artists/records did you hold dear?
I love all kinds of music: Popular, Music Theatre; Jazz, Classical. If I were to single out any one genre it would be the big pop divas such as Arianna Grande, Elton John and Freddie Mercury.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
So many amazing memories. Probably working with Boy George was a huge highlight. I was also part of a small group of singers that sang with Kylie Minogue at a series of her Christmas concerts at the Royal Albert Hall two years running. She is a superb performer and is really in touch with her audience. What an experience.
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Songbird – Eva Cassidy, Sweetener – Arianna Grande and Back to Black - Amy Winehouse. Stunning voices, amazing talents; all masters of their genres.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
I am touring this month supporting Heather Small. This is such an honour and I am hugely looking forward to it. I would love to do a big arena tour with someone like Rita Ora, Little Mix or Dido. That would be mega.
Are you planning any gigs in the coming months?
Yes. I have a tour with Heather Small around England until 26th April. In May/June, I will be promoting my new single with Boy George at a variety of gigs, festivals and other events.
How important is performing? Do you prefer it to life in the studio?
I love both. When I am performing, I am understanding and reacting to the audience itself. When I am in the studio, the band and I are working and combining to get down on track how I want my music to sound. Both are hugely satisfying.
Can you describe the feeling being on stage and feeling the music connect with the crowd?
I just love it. There is no better feeling than when you and your music connect to an audience.
IN THIS PHOTO: Freya Ridings
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I am always listening to lots of new artists but Freya Ridings really stands out to me.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Not at the moment! If I were to take time out it is to go to the gym or walk my dog…and meet up with friends for meals. I also love travelling and sunshine!
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).
Eva Cassidy – Autumn Leaves. My granddad was an amazing Jazz pianist and he played this. It always brings a lump to my throat
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