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BGS 5+5: Hannah Connolly

Mar 25, 2024

BGS 5+5: Hannah Connolly

Artist: Hannah Connolly
Hometown: Los Angeles, California (via Eau Claire, Wisconsin)
Latest Album: Shadowboxing
Personal nicknames (or rejected band names): Han, Hannah Banana, Hannah Montana, Hanny

How often do you hide behind a character in a song or use “you” when it’s actually “me?”

Most of the songs I’ve written and recorded so far have been very autobiographical and written from a first-person perspective. I often write songs as a way of processing my life and experiences. With my latest album, Shadowboxing, that was still very much the case, with the exception of the title track.

“Shadowboxing” was the first time I recorded and released an original song that felt like it may have been meant for someone else. I don’t think I was hiding behind a character necessarily, but it was the first time I felt a character surface within a song. It made me excited to lean further into that way of writing. I imagine my next record will draw more heavily on the concept of zooming out and drawing inspiration from the stories around me, rather than within me.

What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?

One of my favorite shows to date was in Dublin, Ireland last fall. I was opening for my partner’s band, Young the Giant, and the crowd of over five hundred was the largest audience I’d played in front of in a while. I was a little nervous to be playing a more stripped down format opening for a rock band, but the second I stepped out on stage the crowd made me feel comfortable, supported, and excited. Looking out at that audience, being at peace in the moment and within my music was a feeling I’d dreamt of for a long time. To experience it in reality was surreal. That is a memory I am going to hold onto for a long time.

What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?

I first knew that I wanted to be a touring musician when I was a teenager and joined a pop punk band out of high school. We recorded an EP and self-booked a tour of the East Coast. Driving across the country in a van with friends, seeing new cities, and meeting new people was a highlight of my life up until that point. The minute we got home I wanted to go out and do it again. I’ve been chasing that feeling ever since and I feel so lucky to have returned to touring this year with my second album.

Which artist has influenced you the most – and how?

There are a lot of artists who have influenced me over the years, a lot of them being strong women with a clear message and powerful stage presence.

For me that list includes Dolly Parton, Brandi Carlile, Tracy Chapman, Sheryl Crow, Stevie Nicks, Ani DiFranco, Hayley Williams, and Shania Twain, among others.

Watching these women move through the world was an inspiration to me both as a musician and a person. I hope to pay forward the same kind of positive impact they had on me, in whatever capacity that may be.

If you had to write a mission statement for your career, what would it be?

One thing I’ve recently started to realize about my mission is that I want to show up as my full self, powerfully and unapologetically, so that others feel comfortable doing the same.

I spent a lot of my life wrestling self-doubt and fearing the judgment of others. Watching some of my favorite artists take ownership of their art and story helped model for me how I could do that for myself in my own way.

As an artist I aim to be free enough in my expression that others can feel more comfortable showing up as themselves as well. It’s a constant learning process and I find new ways that this goal challenges me everyday, but I am really proud of the ways I’ve been able to grow in recent months with this in mind.

Photo Credit: Cody Ackors

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BGS 5+5: Hannah Connolly
BGS 5+5: Hannah Connolly