The kids are fine: Farrah Hanna – University of Virginia The Cavalier Daily | Directory Mayhem

Ahead of the release of two new singles, fourth-year college sophomore Farrah Hanna sat down with The Cavalier Daily to talk about her experiences recording music as an independent artist, her musical influences and her songwriting process.

Growing up in Egypt, Hanna received training on classical instruments, where she immediately fell in love with the cello. At the age of 11 her family moved to Virginia and she was finally able to learn to play. Over the next few years, Hanna would pick up the guitar, piano, and even the ukulele. She began to write short compositions, which later grew into something more.

“In the beginning it was just music,” said Hanna. “Then as I became a more conscious person, I guess in high school, I added words to a lot of my music.”

Throughout her musical career, Hanna has been inspired by many indie folk artists such as Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon and Adrianne Lenker. This genre particularly appeals to her because of its honesty and intimacy.

“I think there’s a special rawness and vulnerability to it that a lot of other genres of music don’t have,” Hanna said. “It’s a very intimate genre where you can bare your soul.”

For Hanna, the way women write and create folk music is extraordinary, especially when they are independent artists. She believes young women have a very special understanding of the world that allows their music to feel more intuitive. When she looks at male folk artists and their female counterparts, she finds that women’s lyrics are often more complex and inspiring.

“Maybe I’m biased, but I just feel like it’s almost like a sixth sense or something about how women are in touch with the world and their emotions, at least in the earlier stages of their lives, as men are,” Hanna said.

In recent years, Hanna released three singles on Spotify – “Everything is Different Now”, “What Kind of Man” and their latest release “Growing Up/Apart”. She claims that all of these songs were written through the same process. Once inspired, Hanna’s writing process is quick. Each song is written in a single sitting, and once she’s done with a song, Hanna assures that she never rewrites any part of it.

“It starts with the instrument, with the chord progression,” Hanna said. “And then the words are added in the same session, or I’ll never get back to it. It’s usually very much like a spout, like it’s coming all at once.”

Fourth-year student Elie Bashkow produced all three of Hanna’s aforementioned singles, and his musicianship can be heard in the guitar riffs and violin. Like Bashkow, Hanna is a very gifted musician herself. In her released songs she plays all the lead guitar parts as well as the keys. Her melodious, angelic voice accompanies these instruments – she speaks softly, yet her tone and lyrics have an intense emotional resonance.

The music video for her most recently released single, “Growing Up/Apart,” features some of Hanna’s friends getting carried away on the slow, sentimental ballad that describes the brutal process of growing up away from the people you once cared about. Although the idea of ​​the video was simple, Hanna felt that her illustrations allowed her friends to really connect with her song.

“We gave people crayons and printer paper, and that was all they had access to,” Hanna said. “So it’s a very childish environment or toolbox to be able to connect to something that you thought you’d have in your life forever, that you’ve walked away from or broken up with for whatever reason .”

After a few months of writer’s block, Hanna wrote two new songs in her usual way – quickly and without the need for extensive rewriting. To record these singles, Hanna traveled to New York to work with producer Ben Coleman. One of the songs is called “Signs” and the other “22”. They will be released as a double track single on Spotify on October 7th.

“I experimented a lot with the first three songs to see what I could get out of there, and now I feel like I’ve sort of got the hang of it,” Hanna said.

In fact, Hanna feels like she’s learned a lot since she started recording her music. Although initially intimidated by the highly technical recording language used in studios, Hanna quickly learned the terminology needed to realize her creative vision. This becomes particularly clear in their most recent release “Growing Up/Apart”.

“I felt like I already had an understanding of what it was supposed to sound like and I knew what terms to use to describe it,” Hanna said. “And so it was a really different process. Because of that, I feel like a much better product came out of it.”

In anticipation of the release of two of her singles, Hanna looks to her future as a musician. Hanna believes that she is only at the beginning of her musical career and hopes to follow it up in New York next year. Though most of her listeners can’t follow her all the way there, she hopes most will follow her on Spotify anyway.

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