HANNIE (ft. Carys Selvey)
The track, 5 Years, is available via:
8th March, 2019
THIS time out...
I will be exploring HANNIE and their new single, 5 Years. I know the song has been out for a few weeks now and, going forward, I am only really going to look at songs that are new and upcoming. The trouble is that you get sent requests and they sort of pile up. I only have time to do one review a week from the public so it is inevitable that some get left a bit and become a bit older. That said, 5 Years is not that old and still fresh in the minds of many. I will chat about the song soon but, before then, I wanted to address HANNIE and how artists come together – or can do – in the modern age; duos/production duos and why there are marketing opportunities from HANNIE; getting a bit more online in the way of information to give the public a greater insight into artists; songs that do not have a bitter aftertaste or anxiety; a little about Pop in general and its flexibility – I will end by looking at where HANNIE are headed. I was looking at the story of HANNIE and how they found one another. I have interviewed Hannah Koppenburg and Annie Wagstaff before and they strike me as very bonded and sisterly. One would think they have been friends since childhood and sort of worked their way into music. Actually, they met over Instagram after they uploaded cover versions. Maybe it is not as romantic as a band advertising in a music magazine or there being this chance meeting somewhere that bonds them all together. Technology has provided us the chance to take music anywhere and, in many ways, it has made it easier for people to find one another. One might say the fact artists do form because of social media and the Internet lacks a certain charm, connection and human touch. There is something in that but how likely is it, nowadays, that every band/duo comes together that way? There are artists who meet in public and form friendships but I think the Internet provides a new world.
In the case of HANNIE, the girls got to see one another’s work and were able to see, before meeting actually, whether their music would mesh and they’d be a good fit. Maybe they could have met in a different situation or by chance but the fact Koppenburg is from Germany and Wagstaff is from England means that their paths might not have otherwise intersected. That is what I mean I talk about the Internet and this universe. How many great combinations and sounds have been forged because of the networking opportunities and platforms we have in the modern time? It is great that we have these mediums where artists can communicate and collaborate without having to navigate continents and space. Many might state that there is a lack of organic charge and a business-like approach to things but, as mentioned, there are plenty of bands that are formed in the old-school way. HANNIE have this natural understanding and bond and I do wonder if they would have found one another were it not for Instagram. The duo have amassed an impressive following and caught the idea of various brands and outlets. I do love what they are doing now and how far they have come. I am interested when it comes to artists and how they find one another. Not only is the Internet great for sharing music and reaching new audiences but it is invaluable when it comes to joining people together. I do think music is as broad as it is because we have sites like Instagram and Twitter so artists can collaborate more readily and have those options. I do love the networking opportunities out there and the fact artists from all over the world can easily find one another and create music. HANNIE do have a natural friendship but, again, would they be where they are now were it not for them uploading videos to Instagram?! I shall move on and look at duos in general.
When it comes to HANNIE, they are a production duo who works with other singers. I do love duos in general and the fact they are quite underrated. I think solo artists get most of the attention and they seem to be dominating music right now. Bands are still there and creating good work but they do not hold the same sway as they once did. I have always gravitated towards duos because they can often project the same energy as bands and seem to have greater nimbleness. I do feel solo artists can be a bit limited and lack a certain something. As REWS show, duos can definitely pummel and have the same strength as a full band. Most of the duos I come across work with Pop and Electro sounds but, in the case of HANNIE, they mix in different sensations and sides. I do think that duos will make a real charge and get more attention as the years go on. I feel duos are particularly strong and appealing because of that central relationship. Think about the way HANNIE connect and the quality of their music. You know there is that sense of trust and admiration at the core of everything they do. Bands can and do have that but there is something different about duos. It is a tighter unit and, in many ways, they do not have anywhere to hide. At a time when so many producers out there are men and I do wonder if women are ignored in that respect, HANNIE are inspiration and proof that some of the best sounds are being made by women. That might sound a little patronising but I know how many great female producers there are but I do think the market is more set up for men. HANNIE are quite rare in a sense and will lead to some change. I do think most duos out there have others produce their work and usually lead all the tracks. HANNIE are different in the sense they often use guests to voice their songs and the girls themselves produce.
PHOTO CREDIT: Arielle Shear
Maybe I am wrong but I do not see many duos like that at all. I mentioned how HANNIE have collaborated with brands and among their credits is Nasty Girl and River Island. I am writing a piece later today that looks at artists going into fashion. There have been mixed fortunes for Beyoncé and Liam Gallagher this week but, despite it being tough for retailers and brands, musicians are still involved with fashion and keen to launch their own labels. I think there is something in there for HANNIE. It is clear that they are happy to join alongside brands and promote them but I do wonder whether they have considered launching their own wears. I think there is a HANNIE brand awaiting that could include clothing and audio equipment. They are great producers but they also have a real flair when it comes to style. One looks at them and you can easily imagine them launching their own fashion brand or a bigger label. Maybe they want to focus on the music for now but I can imagine them branching out and conquering the market soon enough. Not only could they establish their own brand but they could use that to inspire women in music and those thinking of becoming producers. There are so many different sides to HANNIE’s music and I think there is a huge audience out there for them. I am sure they have their own ideas and plans but we shall see where they head. Purists will state that artists need to focus on music but the modern climate means artists are going into other areas and focusing on fashion, technology and business. There is nothing wrong with that and I feel that they can act as ambassadors and inspirational figures. I do think, in a good way, HANNIE are quite marketable and could definitely succeed if they wanted to embrace their own fashion label or step in other directions.
HANNIE have been worked hard for a long time now and are growing with each release. I am curious whether they will put out an album in 2019 and what their plans are. I will touch on that in the conclusion but, as I hinted, they could go beyond music and get a HANNIE-style revolution happening. It is clear they have a big future but I do wonder where they came from and what music inspires them. It is the nature of modern music and P.R. campaigns that not too much is ever revealed about an artist. Maybe people figure that too much can be a bad thing and the music will fill in a lot of the gaps. I often bemoan the lack of photos some artists have and I do like to see a good biography. I know HANNIE met over Instagram and shared videos with each other but it would be good to know how Hannah Koppenburg and Annie Wagstaff started life. Every artist has a musical upbringing in the sense they were exposed to sounds and different artists. It would be interesting to discover how both of their lives started in that respect and how they came into music. I can get a bit from the music but there is a lot to be said for having a bit more information on the page. Most of the time, emails and pitches contain streaming figures and which outlets have supported the music of that artist. This is important as we can see how they are growing and popular they are but I want to know more about the human(s) behind the music and fewer statistics. It is good having some context when you approach artists – for journalists like me, it means I have something to write about and different angles. Carys Selvey is the singer on their latest track, 5 Years, and brings something fresh to HANNIE’s music. I like the fact the duo work with different artists and can get unique sounds with each release.
If they had a bit more information on the page, it would add to the music and give a bit more depth. It is a minor complaint but HANNIE, I am sure, have a lot to say, and there are few interviews online available. I am eager to know where they each come from – in a musical sense – and what motivates them. It is a competitive industry, music, so artists needs to think about their biographies and things like photos. There are some good photos online already but I wonder whether there will be some new shoots with HANNIE. This will all add to their portfolio and mean they can reach more people. The music itself is great and varied so they do not have to worry too much about the production/music side of things. To get that additional boost and reach new audiences, let’s get some HANNIE information and some interviews online with Hannah Koppenburg and Annie Wagstaff. I am excited to see where the duo can go and whether they will be touring in 2019. There is a lot to love about them and their music definitely has a special edge to it. I feel a lot of Pop artists can be a bit limited with their sounds and are not willing to experiment and look in other directions. I have seen duos split up because of this and the fact their music sounds very similar to other stuff out there. HANNIE are always mobile so I do not think they will have any danger when it comes to success and longevity. Maybe a bit more online would help them but I actually think they are doing really well at the moment. It is clear that the music media is responding to what they are throwing out and there is no real end to what they can do. 5 Years is their sixth release and, with every move they make, they step somewhere fresh. There are not many duos/bands that can claim that so I do hope that HANNIE have a very long and prosperous future.
Before reviewing 5 Years, I wanted to look at music and general and whether it is too reliant on negativity. Maybe artists are not deliberately trying to be moody and depressing but there are few out there that project anything other than anxiety and a bitter taste. Even if songs have an upbeat melody, the lyrics can be quite cutting and have that sour edge. It is not the case that every artist operates this way but I am hearing fewer and fewer cheery songs and artists who just want people to have fun or let go. I do get that artists want to project something serious and they cannot waste the opportunity they have. A lot of songs revolve around personal issues and problems. It is great to connect with people and write songs that are relatable and familiar. Aside from that, we all need somewhere to escape to. If all music is quite negative or anxious then that has quite a problematic effect on people. HANNIE are on the other end of the spectrum and keen to give as much light and life as they can. 5 Years is about living in the now and not really worrying about the past. We can all get a bit tense when it comes to expectations and we put pressure on ourselves unfairly. Rather than letting that feeling win out, let’s let life take us where it wants and see what happens. That sense of liberation and ease goes into the song – more artists should follow this example. It is great that there are acts like HANNIE that can take a more positive approach to music and create songs that make you smile. We need to embrace positive aspects because, right now, there is not a lot of positivity about. Music needs to be honest and real but it also needs to give everyone the chance to relax and find something nourishing. I go back in time when I want to experience something joyful and do worry modern artists have an inability to be forward-looking and bright. I shall leave things here because I am keen to explore 5 Years and a new venture for HANNIE.
One gets some funky clicks and twang from the opening of 5 Years. One might expect electronics and buzz but, instead, you get something quite smooth and slinky. Carys Selvey is on the microphone and talks about forgetting what was said yesterday and focusing on the future. I guess there have been cross words and some problems but that is not something she wants to focus on. There are little buzzes that come through and electricity that gives the song a bit more energy and passion. Combining with something more causal and cool, the song keeps growing and reveals new layers. HANNIE provide the texture and backing whilst the heroine reveals pains that have come before and some angered words that might have been said in haste. I do feel like there are many artists that focus on love and relationships and document them in a very negative and samey manner. Rather than dwelling on the rough aspects and getting hung up on the bad times, HANNIE and Carys Selvey are looking at moving forward and not letting that rule things. There is this positive aspect that is more about forgiveness and ignoring minor problems rather than letting stress and anger dominate. The chorus has a summer-time feel and boasts a pretty big beat. The song might be more suited to the shores of BBC Radio 1 but the reason I took it on – I am not a fan of BBC Radio 1 – is that there is more depth and potential to be found. I think a station like BBC Radio 6 Music could play the song because 5 Years is not pure Pop and does seem to have more to it. You come into the chorus not knowing what is going to happen but you get struck by the swagger and sway. The heroine wants any cross words to be set aside as, in five years, they are not going to be remembered.
PHOTO CREDIT: Arielle Shear
So many other artists will look at an argument and make that the focus. There will be this invariable and stressful argument and it gets a bit tired. HANNIE and Selvey have created a song that asks what is the point of harbouring ill feelings and focusing on something minor. I can get behind that sentiment and feel that a lot of other artists need to follow this lead. The chorus for 5 Years is pretty emphatic and sounds like it is perfect for beach parties. I have not heard that many Pop songs that have a positive skin and a real natural sound to them. A lot of times, the production is too polished and the vocal sounds machine-processed and drained of personality. On this occasion, HANNIE treat the music with respect and allow the vocal to shine. It is pretty high in the mix and not subjected to trickery and technological intrusion. Of course, there is a bit of shine to be found but it does not dominate. Our heroine does not want to think that things are over and she knows everything is within reach. It seems like this relationship has provided challenges but she is not going to call it quits. They need to focus on the here and now and look at what lies ahead. The heroine is young and not going to let things get on top of her. When the chorus returns, it is already in the head and familiar. The fact there are vocals layered and nice little touches here and there makes it more appealing and stronger than a lot of material in the Pop market. Selvey does not want consequences and to think about problems: there are possibilities in front of them and they can let the silly little things slide. In many ways, there is this urge to make silly mistakes and be young while they can. Nothing as big as arguing and exploding but being a bit reckless and foolish when the mood calls for it. I do think many people ignore life and do not have enough fun. 5 Years is a great song for releasing energy and embracing positivity. Selvey gives the song a real sense of passion and excitement that will bring in those not usually enamoured of Pop. It seems that 5 Years is about these young lovers who could get buried by responsibility or focus on bad things but need to live their life and be free. I do think more artists should follow this lead and write songs that lift the mood and look away from the strains and perils of relationships.
It has been a busy past couple of years for Hannah Koppenburg and Annie Wagstaff. With Carys Selvey, they have created something great with 5 Years. The duo has been keeping busy but I wonder whether there are going to be more tour dates in the future. They have some great music under their belts so it is understandable people will want to catch them on the road. HANNIE is a solid and exciting unit and one that, I feel, could be around for years to come. I did ask whether they will release an album this year and that might be something to ponder. There is definitely a lot of energy and creativity in the camp and I would be interested to see what a HANNIE album contains. Clearly, Koppenburg and Wagstaff have a lot of affection for one another and you get this translated into fantastic music. I do love what they are doing and the fact there are not many others like them. I speculated they might think about a fashion brand or going into business and having their own label. The girls have been backed by brands before and are no stranger to that side of the market. Maybe that is all ahead of them and I know they want to concentrate on the music right now. This year is fairly new so I am sure it is too early to say whether they will tour abroad and how far they will go. Every release means new fans come on-board and there is this feeling that HANNIE are on the cusp of being pretty big. So many artists, as I said, deal with negativity and it is nice to hear music that genuinely puts you in a better mood. I think there is a lot of potential when it comes to HANNIE’s music and 2019 will be a very important year. Their material is getting stronger and I like the artists they collaborate with.
At the moment, HANNIE are playing around London and making a name for themselves in the capital. They have their own label, HANNIE Music, and have aspirations when it comes to international markets. I do feel like they could be a big hit in countries like America and I wonder whether that is part of their plans going forward. HANNIE are pretty ambitious and they have a great relationship with their fans. They are fairly new to Twitter and not tweeted much but I think they need to consider upping their game there. Instagram is important but there are so many opportunities on Twitter. They could gain such a huge following there and get so many chances from putting out a little more. It need not be anything too much; maybe some new updates or interviews. I think Twitter is essential and HANNIE can get their music spread to new nations if they use Twitter a bit more. It is a minor quibble but, apart from that, they hardly need my advice. They are doing really well and taking every chance to get their music to the people. I genuinely think duos like HANNIE can inspire the next generation and they are setting a great example. There are not many production duos around but HANNIE are much more than that. It seems there is this whole HANNIE universe that has its band of followers and name. I am not sure whether they have a nickname for their fans but, when you look at social media, you can tell that Hannah Koppenburg and Annie Wagstaff have a great bond with their supporters. It is wonderful to see and I do hope that there are many more years in the tank for HANNIE. It is the energy and passion they put into every song that amazes me and how busy the music is. May artists are content to throw out the minimum and not really look at other possibilities. There is a curiosity when it comes to HANNIE. Already, HANNIE have played around the world but I know there are nations they want to tick off the list and will want to explore. Australia seems like a natural territory for them and I do wonder whether they have considered playing there. I shall leave my predictions and urges aside and just encourage people to check out HANNIE. Their previous music was great but, with Carys Selvey, they have created something brilliant with 5 Years. It is a fantastic song that gets into the blood and really makes you feel better. This is what we want and should encourage. It seems there is no end in sight for HANNIE’s great music and, if anything, they are just getting started. If you need a boost and kick to get you out of the door then you really need to listen to what…
HANNIE are producing right now.