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VOTI - voices of the industry

Then // Now // Where To Hannah V – 

A pioneer in a new generation of entrepreneurial female producer/songwriters, Hannah V has worked with some of the world’s most in demand major label artists including Stormzy, TOBi and JP Cooper. 
After producing and co-writing tracks for JP Cooper’s Top 10 album Raised Under Grey Skies (Island Records) in 2017, Hannah scored her first Gold certified album and now continues to regularly produce tracks for JP Cooper – including his 2020 Too Close – Live Acoustic EP, recorded at Abbey Road Studios.
Other writing and production credits include five-time GRAMMY-winning Lalah Hathaway, Yola, Misha B, Shystie and MOBO nominated artist Andreya Triana. Hannah was appointed to the Ivors Academy Songwriting Committee in 2020, as well as their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Group.
Alongside her undeniable skills as a songwriter and producer Hannah has balanced a stunning performance career. Her performances included playing stadiums and arena tours with Rihanna, Jessie J, Eminem, Lalah Hathaway, Jason Derulo, Taio Cruz and Anastasia. Hannah is regularly commissioned by top global brands for her tracks. Her single ‘It Ain’t Right’ became the soundtrack to Rimmel’s global campaign The Only One, and her track ‘Gold’ with Andreya Triana receives regular commissions, most recently in major campaigns for Michelob Gold and Nissan. She has also been involved in brand and writing campaigns for companies as diverse as the BBC, Max Factor, Adidas and international coffee brand Julius Meinl. 
Hannah V is a global brand ambassador for Yamaha, Focusrite, Arturia and Native Instruments.

THEN

Keyboard is obviously your primary instrument. What inspired you to start learning?

I started piano lessons aged 5 in India. I continued lessons when I moved back to Berlin a few years later. I went to a school with a great music department and played in church as well – so I was always surrounded by music!

What was your time like at the Royal Academy?

I met some of the best musicians I know there – so that aspect of it was incredibly inspiring. But the Academy at that time did not really cater to young musicians wanting to branch out into fields other than purely jazz – so it definitely took me a second to find my path after I graduated.

Music production can encompass the entire lifecycle of a piece of music. How did you first get into producing?

I toured with the Broken Beat Collective ‘Bugz in The Attic’ for a few years. They were a group of very talented producers, who took me under their wings. I watched them produce on tour buses, asked a lot of questions and started experimenting myself – that was my real introduction into the production world.

It’s often noted that production is quite a male dominated side of the music industry. How have you found your experience with this?

It’s definitely a male dominated industry – less than 2% of producers in pop are female. It’s an unfortunate reality of the industry and I have to work twice as hard to be heard. But ultimately I believe that my music will speak for itself, so I just keep my head down and crack on w the job!

What are your favourite moments or experiences in your career so far?

There have been many amazing moments in my production career! I will never tire of hearing my music on radio – currently a song I produced for artist Lavish K called ‘Yo Sho’ is getting a lot of airplay – and it never gets old!!

Getting my first top 10 and Gold Record were also big moments in my career.

I’ve also had the pleasure of producing in the legendary Studio 2 of Abbey Road Studios this year – a definite highlight of my career.

How would you describe one of your typical sessions? A day in the (pre-covid) life of Hannah V…

My sessions vary a lot from artist to artist, project to project. A usual writing session starts with the artist and me in my studio. We catch up, then figure out what type of tune we want to make. I then start programming ideas or jamming out on the piano – with the artist humming melodies on top. Fast forward to the end of the day and we have a full song, more or less fully vocally! It really is a special and magical process.

NOW

We have all been hugely affected in some way by the disruption this year, but the capacity to create and evolve within chaos is in a creator’s very being.. How has your working life changed since Covid?

I think producers have been very fortunate to be honest. We are used to working alone and from anywhere – all I need is my computer and my keyboard for a lot of my work! I connected with my artists here, in Germany and in the US who are comfortable recording demos at home; we continued working on projects – sending parts back and forth.

I of course missed being in the studio with singers and musicians and it’s been great having ‘IRL’ sessions again!

But overall, my work continued more or less as usual – for that I am very grateful.

How have you found the last 9 months musically? Have there been any barriers in creative projects?

I found the last 9 months a bit of a musical rollercoaster!! I actually loved the beginning of lockdown – it was nice to have some time for myself to reflect and reassess my life. Of course, like the rest of the world, I’ve had my ups and downs, and I have definitely taken time off when needed.

If you have done remote sessions, how have you found them in comparison to working in person?

I find doing remote sessions with people I know great! There is already an understanding there and roles have already been defined.

Being together in a room of course has a totally different vibe – but lockdown has opened up a lot of new possibilities. Zooming in for an hour to two with artists in LA for example is not something I had done before – and I will definitely continue doing these sessions!

Has the change in pace and environment encouraged any positive changes in your working life?

Absolutely! I have realised that I don’t have to be in the studio 5 days a week. I’m now cutting it down to 4 days and doing 1 day from home. I am also now trying to stick to more reasonable hours – during lockdown I saw the sunsets every day and realised how rare that was, as I was always in the studio until late! Little changes make a big difference.

WHERE TO

What have you got lined up for the near future as a songwriter/producer?

More music, more sessions, more releases, more traveling! I’ve really missed not being to be able to create internationally – so I am looking forward to writing trips again.

How do you feel about the future of the music industry in 2021, 2022?

I feel positive about the the music industry. We will always need art and expression – that’s something that become really clear to me in Lockdown – I relied heavily on my favourite records to get me through tough times.

As live music has been paused, do you think there will be an influx of creators gaining more interest in production?

Definitely – I think people have tried to become more self sufficient which is great to see. I am always encouraging my singers to learn the basics of productions, so they can at least cut their own demos – and I seeing so much of this happening.

Have recent experiences influenced your perspective of what you would like to do next within your career in music?

Not really. I’ve always had quite a holistic approach to my job – none of us knows what the future holds or where our paths will take us. God only knows what’s next! So, I’m just trying to enjoy the moments I am in.


 

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