As musicians, we all make our own path. That is one of the things that makes music so great. All these journeys create a wide variety of music for us to enjoy. At only 20 years old, Hannah Smart has already figured a lot of this out. Her unique style is extremely relatable.
She has her debut album The Reason Why I Don’t Believe in Love releasing on December 23rd (TODAY!). We caught up with Hannah Smart to see how she got where she is and where she is headed. Enjoy the interview here:
What first drew you to creating music?
I grew up listening to classic rock artists like the Beatles, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin, and I also took music lessons from a young age, so I had a solid theoretical background. When I was a teenager and started playing the guitar, I discovered that not only could I play covers of songs I really liked, but I could also create my own stuff and use it as an outlet for self-expression.
I understand you play a right-handed guitar upside down. How did that happen?
I taught myself the guitar and I guess it was some combination of the fact that I’m left-handed and that’s the natural way for me to play and my somewhat stubborn idea that I could learn the instrument without any instruction whatsoever. I knew I was playing “wrong” soon after beginning, but at that point, it was too late to change, and I didn’t really want to.
How would you describe the unique Hannah Smart sound?
Raw and authentic. For someone who has had as much musical training as I have, my sound comes across as pretty untrained and unrefined, but that’s part of the aesthetic I’m going for.
Which artists have influenced your musical development most?
The Beatles have influenced my melodies and chord progressions more than any other artist. Stylistically, I’ve taken influence primarily from 90s alternative bands like Radiohead and Nirvana. Lyrically, I’ve been most influenced by Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd. However, in addition to popular sources, I draw heavily from classical sources such as composers John Williams, Chopín, and Liszt.
How does a song develop for you?
Usually, my best songs write themselves. Whenever I have a feeling that I can’t articulate verbally, I try to express that feeling musically instead. Generally, I write the chords, melody, and lyrics, in that order, but there are a few exceptions—in “Destination Forever” and “You’re On Your Own,” for example, the lyrics came before anything else.
We hear your debut album The Reason Why I Don’t Believe in Love is ready for release. Tell us about the process of writing and recording it?
The album is a compilation of songs that I’ve written over the past six years. For the nine originals, I tried to select songs that fit the album’s overall theme of disillusionment and isolation. Even the three cover songs included on the album follow that theme. I recorded the album using recording equipment at my college. It was the first time I’d produced anything serious, so the experience really was a learning process, but it was an enjoyable one.
What is next for Hannah Smart?
These next couple months, I’m going to mostly be working on promoting the album and hopefully landing some gigs. I’d like to think another album is in my future because I have a lot of songs that haven’t been able to share with others yet.
What advice would you give to other singer-songwriters pursuing their passion?
Don’t compromise yourself. Lots of people think they need to change themselves to garner a bigger audience, but you’ll be far more memorable and successful if you just stick to doing what you love.
Keep up with Hannah Smart on her WEBSITE and socials