Hana, Truly

Hana, Truly

Following a whirlwind world tour with collaborator and best friend Grimes, the "Clay" singer is hard at work on her first album, due later this year. Here, she takes a breather in L.A. to discuss the experiences that have shaped her—and where she's headed next

Following a whirlwind world tour with collaborator and best friend Grimes, the "Clay" singer is hard at work on her first album, due later this year. Here, she takes a breather in L.A. to discuss the experiences that have shaped her—and where she's headed next

Text: William Defebaugh

You recently finished at world tour with Grimes. How was it?

HANA Oh my god, it was so amazing—a total whirlwind. I got to go all over the world to these places I've only dreamed of going: Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand. I was just on cloud nine that I got to explore the world and play shows in all of these places…. And getting to do it with one of my best friends was just the cherry on top!

How did you and Claire first meet?

H We met through my boyfriend, BloodPop [Michael Diamond]; they’ve been best friends for six or seven years. Once I started dating Mike, I met Claire not much longer after that—she was in L.A., and we were fast friends. We are pretty similar, and we have the same interests. We like fantasy movies and music. We all just kind of get along.

You just played a show with Christine and the Queens, too.

H Yes, I opened for her on Wednesday. I am so inspired after seeing her. She is amazing, and so special, to put it lightly. Getting to see her two nights in a row, I was pinching myself thinking, how did I get so lucky?!

It’s such a pleasure to watch this younger generation of female artist empower one another.

H Those two nights, I just felt so lifted up by the women surrounding me. It really is magical to be a part of. Claire and her dancers are incredible—they choreograph a lot of the show themselves. It feels good to support each other. I don’t think I would feel as good about my project if Claire, and Megan of Purity Ring, hadn’t been so nurturing of me when I was first starting it. I think supporting your friends and just lifting each other up is so important. It really is a nice time to be an artist right now.

Tell me about the inspiration behind your recent EP, HANA.

H It is really a rebirth project. I made all of the songs in such a different way than my previous music. It's all very new, and about overcoming fear and bad relationships or getting to a point where you are proud of yourself. A lot of it is about this mentally abusive relationship that I was in for five years that I shouldn’t have been in. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have these songs if it weren’t for that relationship. So it's kind of my way of dealing with what happened, but at the same time at the end now I have these songs that I am really proud of.

You’ve definitely had a metamorphosis since you were doing coffee house acoustic shows. Was it the relationship that really pushed you to change?

H Yes. I got out of this relationship and I had been doing the same things over and over again. I was very fragmented. I was just going around to campuses and playing in cafeterias at night, and I think when I got out of that relationship I started really reflecting on what I was doing and I got into this pattern and it was comfortable. I was making money, which made it hard to stop because I felt really lucky that I could pay my bills doing what I love, but it just wasn’t fulfilling my art in any way. I was playing the same songs over every night and I wasn’t really making any music that I was excited about. I was so young and naïve, and I though that was as good as it was ever going to get. But I realized that wasn’t true. After that experience, I decided that I would never stop learning, and never stop getting better. I think that’s really where this project was really born. Once it started then the music started pouring out of me. I wrote “Underwater,” and soon after that came “White.” Those first five songs came so quickly, and I think that this speaks to the fact that I put myself in the right place at the right time for the art to come out of me.

Are you working on the first full-length album right now?

H Yeah, I am hard at work at home. It's nice to get back in front of my computer and back to work on music after touring for so long. Three of the songs that I’ve done are unfinished demos, so being able to do them live gives me a lot of different ideas for where they need to go or what needs to change. I’m not really sure if they will be in he album, but right now I am just focusing on making the best art that I can.

What can we expect from the album that’s different from the EP?

H I think the EP turned out pretty mellow, so right now I am working on some more upbeat tracks with a different groove. I don’t want people to think that I only make slow music because I do make more upbeat songs as well. I think it's all in the same vibe, but at the same time I want there to be more energy as well.

Have you been working on any new videos?

H The next one will be for “White.” It's still in the early stages of pulling it together, which we are doing quite quickly. I think it was one of the first that I made for this project after “Avalanche,” so it's really special to me. The video for “Clay,” was another one we pulled together quickly. Loraine Nicholson was the director and she absolutely killed it. We filmed it the night before I left for my tour—I had a 7 a.m. flight to South Korea—and I was in this inflatable pool for like 12 hours, until 4 in the morning. It was so surreal, just being in this water freezing and turning into a human raisin. I'll always have the best memories of that shoot.

What do you hope your fans and listeners take away from your music?

H I hope they feel empowered, and I hope it makes them feel some sense of self. I think some of the best moments I've had over the last 6 months are reading some letters from girls who say that “Clay” and “Avalanche” made them feel like they could get out of these abusive relationships they were in, or that they could be a more powerful woman. If my music can make people feel happy and feel like there is a light at the tunnel, and the light is inside of them… That is the most rewarding thing that I could ever read or hear about my music. That is something I didn’t really realize when I was making this project. I was just trying to deal with all of the emotions that I was having... When I realized that it was affecting people the way that it has, that blew me away.

Tickets for HANA's show on June 17 at Mercury Lounge in NYC are on sale now. To download her EP, HANA, click here.

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