THE NEW STAR IS BORN: Jamie Hannah "Sound of My Youth"

March 20, 2019 5:55 PM

Yes, darlings, it's official! The UK has a new music superstar, and his name is Jamie Hannah.

He's got dreamy lyrics, catchy vocals and a spiky hair-do that makes teens girls (and a-hem, cultural reporters) swoon. His streetwear v. Adam Ant style sets him apart from the madding crowds. And it doesn't hurt that he was discovered and endorsed by the Archbishop of Britpop, Boy George. Yes, darlings, it's official. The UK has a new music superstar, and his name is Jamie Hannah. He put aside the recording and performing for a split second, and made time to mix it up with TWELV.
 
 

--------JAMIE HANNAH INTERVIEW---------- 

 

We've seen Instagram pics of a very young Jamie Hannah with a mic in his hand. How did you get your start as a singer?

My family say when I was a toddler I could always be found when we played “hide and seek” as I would be sitting behind the curtains or sofa singing loudly – I didn’t realize I could be heard!  We never had bedtime stories when I went to sleep, allegedly I insisted on bedtime “songs”. However, not so many nursery rhymes for me - I learned an eclectic mix of music depending on who put me to bed.  From my Dad I learned a repertoire of The Beatles, The Hollies and The Kinks. My Mum loved musicals and songs from Stevie Wonder, Frankie Valli and Neil Sedaka. My Nana sang me Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Matt Monro and Doris Day! ... Later I was involved with everything musical at school – bands, orchestra, barber shop group, musicals and choirs as well as solos.  I won the school “X Factor” competition when I was 12 by singing my version of Michael Jackson’s song Ben.  Being a singer was a “no brainer”.  I decided I wanted to be a singer/ songwriter to create my own music. When I left school I went to the Royal College of Music to study classical vocals as a countertenor.

 

It sounds like music is a big part of your family background. 

My grandfather was an incredible musician, he could hear a piece of music and be able to play it immediately on the piano.  He knew all the great jazz musicians in Scotland and loved to jam with them. There were lots of other professional musicians in the family going back – a cellist, a jazz pianist and an opera singer. My sister sings and plays the clarinet and my Mum plays the piano.  Music was always part of background to everything that went on in our family life. Car journeys were full of noise as we sang our hearts out as we drove along!

Do you also play instruments and produce in addition to singing and writing songs?

I play the jazz saxophone, double bass and piano. I also dabble somewhat on the guitar - definitely not Jimi Hendrix yet. Baby steps, eh? I have been learning how to produce with Benny D at Powerstudio in London for the last year or so.  I love being able to create and be able to hold all the creative strings myself when it comes to editing.  It is great seeing my ideas come to fruition at the end of a project. I am very hands-on with designing and editing my videos too.

 

What was your inspiration for Sound of My Youth?

Sound of My Youth was inspired by memories of a previous relationship - my first relationship.  Although many years on, those lyrics capture being submerged by the sense of emotion and a loss of a first love – almost suffocating and being unable to breathe as you’re drowning in overwhelming emotion. Such memories still continue to flood my mind, but I’m in control of them now.

 

Do you always write your own songs? 

I love making melodies and adding harmonies. I think that’s my classical roots manifesting.  I’ll be on the train and a little hook will come to me from the screeching of the breaks on the track. Ideas jump out at me at the most awkward times, then I’ll have to get my phone and record them before I forget them! The song is always king, collaborating with other creative people is truly amazing as it brings another dimension and thought process to the track.  A few of my favourite songs have been co-writes with friends. Sound of My Youth was!

 

Who were your musical idols growing up? 

Growing up, I'd listen to lots of types of music. Obviously the songs I learned from my family have a huge place in my heart. And then there's Tracy Chapman, Elton John, the list is endless. One minute of the day you could find me listening to the Jungle Book Soundtrack and then I’d be listening to Ombra Mai Fu (an aria from Handel’s opera Xerxes) or one of Ariana Grande’s new bangers.

 

How did you become convinced that you could have a career in music?

I wish it was that easy. Music is a tough business but I have got a lot of people who believe in me and support me.  I suppose it was when I started to get recognition for solos in choir performances when I was younger. I loved how I could take the audience on a journey. I was part of a small backing group at three of Kylie Minogue’s Christmas shows at the Royal Albert Hall. It was surreal being on stage alongside such an iconic performer. I always knew I wanted to give it a good go!

 

How did you link up with Boy George‬? ‬

The connection came through my producer. We send a few tracks back and forth. He liked them and we started working on some of his tracks together, sending stems of my vocals across, and receiving some of his and BVs from across the pond. It was very surreal. He is a generous mentor, full of good advice, not only on the music side but with lots of styling ideas. It was only a few weeks ago we were in the studio in London together working on something new – a Dusty Springfield kinda vibe!

 

Ooh! Tell us more!

It’s all a secret for now. My mouth is sealed! However the video is set to be very cool, filmed over in New York.

 

We love the way you have been building your following with live shows in London, but we are a touch jealous. When are you coming to sing for us in New York, L.A. and Tokyo?

Plans for New York in early summer and L.A. later on in the year… I'll get my ticket to Tokyo now!

 

In addition to your unique sound, you are have also become a fashion icon. How did you develop your sense of style? Who are your fashion heroes?

Fashion icon…hmm. Not heard that one before, but thank you! It’s been relatively organic to be honest.  Just pick out what I like when I walk into a store, you know? I attended London Fashion Week recently and loved Rockystar’s new collection and Malan Breton’s unique showcase at the House of St Barnabas. I have also recently been sponsored by Superdry to wear their clothing, with my music being promoted on their website in a couple of weeks time.  

 

JAMIE HANNAH INSTERGRAM 

INTERVIEW BY KAREN FRAGALA-SMITH

EDITOR SOPHIA PENG

 

 

 

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