What is your name?
What is your genre of music?
Give us a little bio about you.
I’m a British singer-songwriter who was raised in France. I’m passionate about language and the impact of words. I started playing piano very young and then started singing in gospel and classical ensembles. I later discovered jazz and improvisation. That led me to create my own material, which is very much inspired by the blend of these styles. I love a strong riff, a good beat and bit of quirkiness.
What made you go into music?
When I was at Uni in Brighton, my housemates were all music lovers and that encouraged me to listen to more sounds and to compose more. I’d always enjoyed playing and singing but I had shied away from getting my own music out there. With a little encouragement from friends and family, I just felt I couldn’t keep my tunes to myself anymore and that it was time to share them.
Are you signed ?
No, not yet…
Tell us more about your new single “Solo”.
It’s about the jumbled feelings of love when you don’t quite know where the relationship’s heading. The anticipation and sometimes frustration combined with a feeling of serenity.
What was the writing process like?
I wrote it a few years back. I sat down at my old cheapo keyboard and started playing around with sounds. I stumbled on a nasty pizzicato sound, which actually ended up inspiring the strings riff that forms the musical basis of the whole song. From there I wrote the lyrics to the chorus and the rest came along a few months later.
What was the recording process like?
When you get to the stage of recording a song, I find it’s always an interesting challenge to try to get back to the emotional place where you were when you wrote it. As I wrote this song a few years ago, that challenge was particularly interesting. After a few attempts, I did a take that completely captured the raw emotions of the song, warts and all. I’m really happy with the end product.
You also released a music video, how did you come up with the idea of the visuals?
Well, it was a collaborative process. Talking to Estienne Rylle, who I worked with on the arrangements, and Noémie Daval, my graphic designer, we figured we had pretty much the same aesthetic vision for the song and that it could be fun to work on a simple video together. We wanted to portray something quite bare and delicate. Estienne directed it and Noémie did the “glitch” art work, which involves creating digital errors by corrupting the data. She’d been working on that technique for her own photo projects and was keen to try her hand at video. It was a great opportunity for all of us!
Will you be releasing an EP or album?
Yes, an album is on its, coming out this autumn I’ll be posting updates on hannahfeatherstone.com very soon!
If you are what can we expect?
It’s a 12-track album with an aesthetic that builds on the one I explored in “solo”. It’s centred on my piano and voice with subtle electro sounds by Estienne Rylle and a strong groove lead by David Allevard on the drums. The album deals with the question of what lies beyond words and beyond the representations we have of the world and people around us.
Do you have any gigs or tours coming up?
Yes, I’m actually about to start a series of gigs over the next few weeks!
If so where will you be heading?
To Holland, Germany and Belgium in August. And some more in France in the fall. I’m also planning a few gigs in the UK and Germany in the near future I’ll keep you posted online…
Do you play any instruments?
I play the piano, and I’d also count my loop station and my voice as instruments. I learnt the cello when I was a teenager but don’t ask me to play a tune now… I haven’t picked a cello up for a while, I would definitely need a little practice!
Who are you influences?
Bobby McFerrin, Fiona Apple, Camille, Bjork, Bach, Lauryn Hill. A pretty eclectic bunch!
How do you get inspiration to write songs?
It often comes when least expected. Sometimes as I walk along the street, sometimes as I’m in the metro, I get my Dictaphone out and sing discretely into it so no one can hear. Playing around on the piano is also good. I find that hitting notes you had no intention of hitting is a good way to get a nice melody happening.
Where do you see yourself now in 5 years?
I hope to be travelling and singing with various musicians and friends. Whether that’s in France or elsewhere is still a mystery, as long as I’m doing fun stuff I’ll be happy.
When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Going to venues and meeting people is also central to the Parisian lifestyle. I spend a lot of time with friends and other musicians, and that generally involves food and drink – it’s a great way to spend time with folks! But I’m also a bit of an introvert at times so finding a nice place to sit and ponder is important to me.
What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more in to the music scene?
Watching Katy Tunstall perform by herself on the French TV program Taratata! The fact that she could stand her own ground by herself on stage, with just a guitar and a loop pedal encouraged me to think of ways in which I could arrange my songs with dynamic live settings.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
You will always find people that are better than you but you’ll never find someone that’s you. Just share your uniqueness!
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
Don’t be swayed by attractive / tantalizing promises but stay true to your artistry and to yourself.
What quote or saying do you always stick by?
One step at a time!
Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
Les Buttes Chaumont. It’s a Park, North East of Paris, that I often go for a walk, a good read or just to watch the world go by.
You’re straight off tour:
1. Where do you go? To a bistro
2. Who do you see? Friends
3. What do you eat? Cheese and wine or a nice beer!
When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
My iPhone, a shoulder bag full of unnecessary stuff, a little cash for any spontaneous purchase, my metro pass, a pair of heeled boots
If you had to give your younger self advice, what would it be?
It’s worth taking risks once in a while!
Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?