Energetic and sensationally melodic British alt-rock/ pop-country star Hannah Clive after requesting that we “Remember to Breathe” during her newest hit single, has agreed to get intimate and personal.
Having great success with airplay and interviews on the BBC, winning Artist of the Year for Canada’s Starlight Music Chronicles, and successfully managing the band (I AM) WARFACE, Hannah is preparing for more including collaborations and festivals.
A song temptress, Hannah is a passionate, captivating and compelling artist who lends support to all indie artists, and hope for them to support one another…..
What was your inspiration for tackling the music industry?
Ha! Ha…”Tackling”…I like that word, most subject appropriate! Music and performing are like a bug, you can’t shake it off…so you feel the fear and do it anyway! Regardless of anything else, it’s like a disease so really I had no choice.
I know that your dad was a really big factor, what influences did you get from him growing up?
In short…everything. My dad taught me pretty much everything I needed for a good grounding in The Business. Everything else I learnt by myself along the way. He taught me above all be professional, to look after and appreciate ‘the bottoms on seats’ because they put you where you are; that ‘the show must go on’ and how ‘Doctor Spotlight’ will always sort you out no matter how ill you feel! Oh and he taught me about the importance of billing – by that I mean of course when the poster goes up for the show and where you are (or aren’t ) on it!
Who writes your songs and what inspires them?
I write my material and sometimes I write with others. That’s not to say I wouldn’t sing someone else’s material – if it’s a good song it’s a good song and we singers are always after those – the right one can make a career and become synonymous with you as a performer – just think Etta James ‘I Just Wanna Make Love to You’ or Sinatra and ‘My Way’.
Do you think music has the power to change the world and if so which of your songs fits the description?
I do believe that music can have a powerful influence over people and help contribute to effecting change. Historically it’s always done so. Music is the universal language cutting across all cultures, languages and borders. Music is and always has been at the very heart of man in terms of a form of communication. I’m betting that when man was first drawing on the walls in the cave he was humming a tune!
One only has to look at say the sixties, the Zeitgeist back then, the civil rights movement, Vietnam, the French student riots, the cold war and then look at the music written at that time to see the echoes of one in the other. Music often provides the voice to those that go unheard…and that’s as true now as it ever was..to coin a phrase: ‘There’s something happening here, what it is ain’t exactly clear…’
In terms of my own song fitting that description – given the prominence of Woman’s Rights and Equality, possibly ‘Fire’- lets call it my Mrs. Robinson. Its a song of passion, from an woman in her thirties discovering herself, in what is a for once actually rewarding sexual situation. It isn’t blatant or gratuitously done but it is important from a female perspective because there’s seemingly very few songs out there that speak of that experience for women and by a woman. Every single woman that has listened to that over a certain age nods and smiles and the younger ones sit there and go …”If only, still waiting!” And the fellas – well they just go weak at the knees. Call me Mrs. Robinson.. 😉
Who were your musical influences growing up?
I listened to everything growing up. My Dad had an incredible vinyl collection as did my Mum. So it ranged from Frank Sinatra and all the great singers, through to Simon and Garfunkel, Earth, Wind and Fire, The Beatles, …then I went off and explored the musical lexicon further. I listened to a lot of film scores – the Warner Brothers scores of the thirties, forties, and fifties, musicals… John Barry. And of course I grew up in the late seventies and eighties. I personally love blues and when I get to actually sing that I’m never more happy – often surprises people that one but might explain why Ray Charles used me on his record. He could hear that influence, the feel. never sing a song unless you mean it my dad always taught me – the audience will know!
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give baby Hannah?
Oh my gosh – where d’you wanna start! A lot of the issues I’ve faced are rooted in being a female in a man’s industry. You have to work twice as hard, fend off three times as much and even then you might not get heard cuz you don’t look right, you’re the wrong age (back in the nineties anything over 25 was a no-no). It’s better now, things are improving because as artists we have more control over being heard and how that happens. The advice I’d give to a younger Hannah would have been: “Ditch that bloke sooner…feel genuinely confident in yourself” but frankly, I’m not sure I would have listened…sometimes you gotta travel the road because it’s the mistakes that teach you.
Tell us a little about the band you manage.
Funny that I am still trying to adjust to that title. I manage the brilliant British electro-rock outfit IAMWARFACE. The band principle Matt Warneford spent about a year and a half trying to convince me because I am at heart an artist, like him. I view Management as crossing to the ‘dark side’ and indeed did actually cross myself several times when he asked me. But in the end I simply couldn’t refuse because I saw what they had, how it needed guidance and nudging in the right places because as a piece of art – it simply had to stand. It was too good not to and in my view fully deserves to be part of music history. It seems I’m not wrong and the right people are watching. Matt and I are like an old-skool music co-operative really. Rather like the new-wavers in film back in France in the 60’s. We work in tandem. I help him, he helps me. We are a family that has full-faith in what the other is doing and can see how one helps the other – a music scene if you will. Traditionally when the arts are up against it, we turn to one another – bit like the scene that led to Woodstock. Great Art like water, will always find a way.
Are you currently involved in any new projects ?
I am working on music collaborations with Matt of IAMWARFACE. He is producing/remixing a couple of my tracks, we’re writing together as well and he’s helping me with a video and will be in it. Like I said we are a musical and artistic co-operative. We recognized long ago that working together and supporting each other online – as indeed it first started – was the way forward. All a very natural progression really.
What do you believe is the event that changed the trajectory of your life if any?
Moving to Ireland and being bullied mercilessly at school for three years changed my life forever. I sought solace in music and creativity and it gave me the impetus to ‘show them’ . Music and performance was always my firstlove but the bullying renewed my purpose to do that.
What would you say to your fans and followers if anything ?
First of all thank you! Super, massive, supernova Thank You for believing in me and buying my music. Secondly, be kind to each other online and off. Manners cost nothing and mean everything and in today’s troubled world I feel that it’s very easy to throw aside your personal code of conduct in a ‘fuck it’ or YOLO moment (you only live once). If anything – in what is seemingly such a cut throat, throw-away, plasticized world – I think the one thing that does stand out, is if you keep your word and it means something. Do what it says on the tin….and thankfully my followers do and I love them for it. Many’s the time a kind word from them has kept me going and for that I am truly humbled. Thank you for being my light when it gets dark.
Follow on Twitter @hannahclive