Hannah Jane Lewis is one rising pop star you need to have on your radar. Having moved from Surrey to Florida when she was just 14, her early influences include the all-stars of American pop – Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Gwen Stefani. Once settled, Hannah immersed herself totally in American life, living the dream as a cheerleader and eventually moving to New York, where she studied at the world-famous Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Now, she’s back in the UK, recording tune after sizzling pop tune. Her music is energetic, effervescent, irresistible – and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to chat to the star about it, and her journey in music so far…
How would you describe your sound to new listeners?
Well someone recently described it as ‘audible glitter’ which I loved! So maybe glittery quirky pop!
‘Raincheck’ is a pretty huge song. What made you decide to write it?
Ah thanks! Well I’m really inspired by words and phrases, and saw the word ‘Raincheck’ and knew I wanted to write a song about it. I brought the idea into a session with Nicole Blair and The Union and we moulded it into what it is. Sometimes I think girls get this rep of waiting around for guys to call etc., and I wanted to spin that on its head, and for the girl to be the more powerful one in the situation. A girl power vibe!
Who are your biggest influences in music right now?
Right now, I love Tove Styrke and her last two releases, I think she’s so great! I also really like Allie X, ‘Vintage’ is my jam. In general, I’m really inspired by all the girl boss pop babes, so I love Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepsen, Lorde and Julia Michaels for example.
How did you find it moving to the U.S at such a difficult mid-teen age?
It was a massive adjustment to be completely honest. I was moving from an all-girls boarding school in Ascot, where we weren’t allowed to wear makeup [and] didn’t see boys that much to a co-ed Floridian high school – so it was the biggest culture shock. At first it was super hard, I came for Sophomore year so everybody had already known each other for a year and already had their friendship groups. As time went on I kind of just put myself out there and threw myself into it all – once I did that it became a lot easier. I’m super thankful I had that experience at the age I did though because I think it toughened me up!
What were you like at school? We heard you were a cheerleader, which is our American dream…
[Laughs] Yes I was! I went to cheer camp and everything… I remember at that camp they put so much hairspray in my hair it nearly came out! [Laughs] But I had an amazing time at high school, I lapped up all of the cliché American high school experiences that I could. I lived in Florida so I’d go to the beach with my friends every weekend and it was just the dreamiest – I look back now and it literally feels like a different world.
What were the main differences growing up there versus your prior experiences in the UK?
I think the biggest for me is that there wasn’t as much pressure in school in America. They don’t do GCSEs or A levels, so there’s none of the constant revising that happens in the UK from such a young age. I was quite a stressy kid so I’m glad I swerved that! I also found that when you find something you love, they really encourage you to put everything you have into it. I used to run track at high school and they’d train us and expect the level of dedication of a professional. If you are good at something they expect you to own it, and there was no shame in that! I liked that and I think it made me more ambitious.
The most obvious one though was the weather – HOT AND SUNNY EVERY DAY.
What is your writing process like? Do you find it difficult at times?
It’s kind of always different! I’m constantly collecting ideas/words/concepts and I bring those into the sessions that I have – I like to go in semi prepared. Sometimes it starts with a melody and sometimes it’s a specific lyric, I just like to jam and throw a bunch of stuff out there until something starts to stick. But it’s different every time, which is why I love it so much. It gets difficult when I get too inside my head and overthink – I try not to do that!
If you could collaborate with any artist, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Well, ideally I’d love to go back to the ‘90s and be the sixth member of the Spice Girls. I think they were pretty significant in inspiring me to do what I do now, so collaborating with them would be the dream. OR Michael Jackson, I loved him a lot and I think he was the best performer in the world – so maybe him too.
What can we expect next from you? Any live shows?
Yep, I’ll announce a few shows soon. I’ve got my music video for ‘Raincheck’ that’s just come out (SO EXCITED), various remixes coming and other fun things!
And finally, it’s Friday night and you get handed the AUX cable in the Uber for one song. What are you putting on?
‘Too Little Too Late’ by Jojo because it’s a JAM.
Watch Hannah Jane Lewis’s video for ‘Raincheck’ below!
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