I have been speaking with Hannah Scott...
about her new single, Walk a Wire, and what its story is. She discusses her album, Pieces of the Night (2018), and whether she has a favourite song from the set; the sort of artists/albums that influence her and whether there are plans for gigs this year.
I wanted to know whether the stage is somewhere she loves to be and what advice she’d give to artists coming through; how she spends time away from music and an approaching act to look out for – Scott picks a cool song to end the interview with.
Hi, Hannah. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi, Sam. I’m good, thanks! Busy week as I’ve just released my new single, Walk a Wire!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourself, please?
My name’s Hannah Scott. I’m a contemporary Folk artist based in London. I work closely with writer/producer Stefano Della Casa and, together, we write and release music with a story, often about the human condition and human connection.
Walk a Wire is your new single. Is there a story behind the song?
Yes. This is inspired by a friend of mine with a disability who closed herself away for fear of rejection. It invites her to open up and take a risk.
Your album, Pieces of the Night, came out last year. Are there particular themes that united the songs?
As I introduced myself above, I guess.
Lots of its songs tell stories around being human. Is there a track from the album that stands as a personal favourite?
It changes! But I'd probably have to say Boy in the Frame at the moment because it's so personal. We wrote it about my soon to be ninety-eight-year old grandmother losing her seventeen-year-old brother when she was just ten. It's a song which really seems to hit audiences and people often tell me it's made them cry - and they share stories about people they know having lost people lifetimes ago.
Do songs come naturally to you or is there a set process? Everyone is different and I am interested knowing how your music forms.
Sometimes they can take months, even years, to complete and others just fall out in the space of a few hours! It really depends! Stefano and I often write the music first and then I take the song away and write the lyrics. Sometimes I already have an idea for a topic or a particular phrase and we begin there, but mostly the music is complete before the lyrics are little more than a phrase or idea.
How important were your early music discoveries regarding your passion for music and how you write now?
So, so important. I started writing in my mid-teens and this was the time I also started exploring new artists and music beyond what I heard on the radio. Some of these I still adore today and their music continues to inspire me; an example of this is Counting Crows.
Do you have a standout memory from your time in music so far?
Probably opening for Madeleine Peyroux at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh last November to an audience of two-thousand. It was an incredible experience in an amazing venue and one which I will carry with me forever!
Which three albums mean the most to you would you say (and why)?
Counting Crows - This Desert Life
Alanis Morissette – MTV Unplugged
Sara Bareilles - The Blessed Unrest
Counting Crows were the accompaniment to my mid-teens through to my earl-twenties, both my life and my early songwriting. This Desert Life was the first album I bought and features my favourite C.C. song, Mrs. Potter’s Lullaby.
Alanis Morissette is one of my favourite writers and performers. She’s a lyrical genius and I just love the sound and rawness of her Unplugged album.
Sara Bareilles’ album was one I discovered a couple of years ago at a time when my music consumption had changed, probably due to the ‘Spotify effect’. I realised I’d stopped listening to full albums and becoming totally absorbed by them. This album reminded me how wonderful that feeling is and we mustn’t let it go!
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
Probably Counting Crows. My rider would have a bottle of champagne and some chocolate on it but, apart from that, it would be healthy with juice and veggie food and fruit. Touring often means you have to eat on the go so it’s often unhealthy and quick. It would be nice to do the opposite!
What are your other plans regarding gigs/touring?
I’ve got lots of festivals and shows coming up over the summer and am constantly booking gigs; even starting booking for 2020!
Is the stage somewhere you feel at your most alive?
Absolutely. And with the audience chatting after a show. The stage is definitely the place I’m most open and most myself!
Is there any advice you’d give to upcoming artists?
Play live as much as you can, write as much as you can (my early songs were rubbish - you need to put the time in before you can write good ones!) and don’t expect your next release to be ‘the one’ - it’s a gradual journey and I’m not sure you ever ‘arrive’!
Are there any new artists you recommend we check out?
I’ve played a couple of times with Folk-Rock band Merry Hell. They are fantastic and write brilliant, touching songs.
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
My partner is a garden designer and we’ve just taken on an allotment - I love spending time there and getting my hands dirty! It’s such a good activity for being in the moment and I’m looking forward to eating fruit and vegetables which we’ve grown!
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).
How about Bury Me Naked by Merry Hell? This has become a favourite in my family!
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