It was back in February that I first wrote about Hannah Jane Lewis, when I reviewed her debut EP, and after a year that saw gigs and tours of various kinds, Hannah is back with her new single: First Time Feeling. With this new single we get those glorious vocals that we have become used to with Hannah, that ooze emotion as she bares her soul. It’s a song, that with the help especially of the guitars, builds perfectly to an upbeat chorus, and proves once again that Hannah’s ability to produce well written and catchy songs is as strong as ever.
Ahead of the song’s launch I caught up with Hannah, and here’s what she had to say:
So tell us what you have been up to since we last chatted in June, and particularly the schools tour you embarked on.
Hello! Well since June I guess I’ve been working behind the scenes on everything that is about to kick off in January. So I focused on writing and eventually took my best songs into the studio and recorded my new EP ‘Run With Me’.
I’ve also been concentrating on building my fan base. As you mentioned above I embarked on a schools tour. I’ve always been into public speaking and can be pretty hot headed with the subjects I believe in so this seemed like a perfect fit for me. I’ve basically been travelling to lots of different secondary schools talking about either drugs/alcohol abuse or cyber bullying and online safety. I pair this with performing my music, which I’ve found makes these lovely kids want to listen to the speech more. It has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life and has inspired me more than I can say.
In the latter half of the year I’ve focused on cyber bullying which is something that I strongly believe in. I spend a lot of my life (probably way too much) on social media and have seen people be brutal to each other over social media. I myself have been a victim of it, and people really close to me have been too so it’s something that
I am becoming increasingly passionate about. The response I have had from these kids since I’ve been to their schools has been so eye opening, this is something that is happening to so many of them and often their parents and teachers are unaware. Now that I’ve become involved in this I feel like I can’t back away now, so in 2015 I am going to continue these tours and get more involved with helping these kids out!
Back in June when you played at The Borderline, supporting Jill & Kate, you debuted a song which is now to be released as your next single. First Time Feeling – what’s the story behind this song?
Ah well this is a song that is really personal to me. I wrote ‘First Time Feeling’ about my experience with first love. I’d wanted to write a song about that subject for so long, it’s something that I think is so significant – at least to me. So if you listen to the lyrics it’s basically a story about looking back on the way that first love felt. Its probably one of my most autobiographical songs (which is a little scary!) but it’s something that I think a lot of people can relate to. It’s the idea that no matter where you are in life, even if you are married or have
moved on, you always have a special place for your first love.
The video for First Time Feeling is released on Thursday – what can we expect from that and are you feeling nervous, excited, both!?
Oh god I am literally SO excited! Definitely a bit nervous too though, as I mentioned before it’s a really personal song so that makes it a bit scarier but still very exciting. I had the best experience filming this video; it has turned out exactly how I had imagined when I was writing this song. I asked my friend Shaun Reynolds (songwriter/producer who I did the ‘Shake It Off’ cover with) if he could help me out and he decided to get involved and bring in his friend Tommy Reynolds who is an amazing videographer/photographer. Tommy filmed it with the help of Shaun and then Shaun edited it. I wanted to recreate all of those ‘first time feelings’ when you meet someone new, so the video is focused around that. Dino Fetscher (he’s about to be in the new E4 TV show ‘Banana’ so look out for that) plays my love interest and my lovely band feature in it too. It was filmed in Brighton, the weather was UNREAL and we basically just did fun things all day. So I can’t wait for everyone to see!
This is the first song of an upcoming second EP – how do you feel you and your music have changed between EP releases?
I have learnt so much in the space of the year between these two releases, so I would say that is the biggest change. When I released my first EP I really didn’t know much about the music industry at all and hadn’t been living back in the UK for long. I was very wide eyed and bushy tailed (which I think I will always be to a degree) but now I feel a lot more prepared and in control. This year has had its ups and downs and I’ve learnt a lot of lessons that I feel all contributed to a more mature sound in this new EP. I also co-wrote with Leo Clarke and Jamie Jarvis on three out of the five songs, that is something I hadn’t done before. I still write the lyrics by myself but I’ve loved collaborating on the music side of things. With that I’ve become very much open to a lot of different musical styles which I think shows here.
Is your new music made with the same band you were with at The Borderline and also at Country 2 Country 2013?
Yes it is! I get asked the question all the time of how I found my band and I literally feel so lucky that that all fell into place. As most people know my sister is my backing singer, we’ve been singing together since we were little so it’s amazing to have her in the band and on the new EP. The rest of the boys in the band are all my best friends, play on the EP and at all of my gigs. So it is a family affair 🙂
Speaking of The Borderline, that’s the location of your EP launch on January 17th, where you are headlining. How does that feel, and how will it compare supporting to headlining?
I’m really excited about that too. The Borderline is one of my favourite venues and I couldn’t think of a more perfect place to launch my EP. I can’t wait to headline it, which was always a goal of mine so it feels great to be doing it. I loved supporting Jill and Kate there and can’t wait to go back.
You have Dexeter and Jess Roberts supporting you that night – why those two acts?
Well I’m friends with both of them and I think they’re great. I love Dexeter’s sound, Deeanne has the dreamiest voice and they are so supportive I thought they’d be perfect. Sadly Jess Roberts can’t support anymore for personal reasons but I’m in the process of sorting someone else out to take that spot. Never fear though, Jess and I may or may not do a duet so she’ll still be there.
We’ve seen indication that you may have a tour in your plans for the future – is there anything more you can tell us about that now?
That is something I am working on right now! Lots of my fans live outside of London in the Home Counties and are quite young so I’m hoping to do some all ages shows that I will announce soon! I want to play out this new music as much as I can though so keep your eyes peeled 🙂
Is Country 2 Country 2015 something you have applied for and when do you find out if you have been successful?
Yes I have applied for it! I’m not entirely sure when everyone will find out but fingers crossed!
Single, video, EP, tour – what else is on the horizon for Hannah Jane Lewis?
Hmmm well! So yes the video comes out, then the EP and then I will be doing a little tour and playing gigs as much as I can. I’ve already started writing new music for my next EP so that’s something I’m always thinking about. I’m collaborating more as well which I really enjoy. As I mentioned above it’s a goal of mine to become more involved with anti cyber- bullying this year, so I’ll continue to do school tours and other things concerning that. And if you haven’t seen I put up my first vlog on YouTube a couple of weeks ago, that’s something I am going to do more of! You will see a lot more of my face on YouTube this year!
Is there anything you would like to say to your fans before the release of your new music?
Absolutely! I literally can’t thank them enough for being so supportive. As some of you may know, every single thing you see posted on my Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram etc is entirely run by me. I’ve got no label, PR Company, agency or management – it is purely DIY music. It would mean so much to me if everyone could get behind my music and see where we can take it. And for those of you who want to be singer/songwriters and don’t see how you can do it by yourself, I promise you that you can! That is probably the most important lesson I have learnt in 2014!
Hannah’s EP launch is on January 17th at The Borderline and you buy tickets here for just £5. That’s not a typo – tickets are just five pounds! See you there.