After playing piano on tour for mega artists such as Rihanna and Jessie J, London-based multitalented artist Hannah V is on the cusp of releasing her debut EP, Version 2.0 (via RME/Pitched UP), in April. The classically trained songbird also possesses stunning production skills which are manifest through the EP title track, “Version 2.0.” Although largely R&B, the tune has a catchy loop of electro house sub bass. “Version 2.0” takes a shot at the shallowness of the entertainment industry (“They don’t want to get to know me/They just want to version 2.0 me until I look in the mirror/And don’t see the old me”) – but sans grudge, with an air of confidence and a smirk.
Based off of Hannah’s irrefutable charisma and array of talents – pianist, songwriter, singer, and producer – she’s an artist with the potential of having ubiquitous success. Having received support from key BBC Radio 1 presenters (MistaJam, Huw Stephens, Target) and recent signing to Sony Music, the Hannah V buzz is beginning.
Along with the premiere of the “Version 2.0” music video, Hannah V speaks to Life + Times about her road to solo artistry and the making of the video.
Life + Times: You played piano for Jason Derulo, Rihanna, Jessie J and so many other talented artists. How did those experiences enrich you as an artist?
Hannah V: It’s so inspiring being around people that are at the very top of their game. I’ve been privileged enough to work with some of the most successful in the world – people who I admire. So having a behind-the-scenes insight is something you just can’t buy. You learn what it really means to be the best and try your hardest to keep up! You’re on stage playing the records you listen to in your spare time. How amazing is that?
L+T: So, what was the deciding factor in your pursuit of a solo career versus sticking to behind-the-scenes?
HV: I came to a point in my career where I couldn’t ignore that little voice inside me saying “You’ve gotta do you, Hannah!” I’ve always produced and written records and wanted to take it more seriously. I loved playing a supporting role, but felt it was time to explore who I was as a producer. I knew this required total commitment, so I gave up playing for other artists. It was the scariest decision I’ve ever made! I went from working at the top to pretty much starting again at the beginning. But I’m loving it! I still can’t believe that my job now is to go into the studio everyday, roll up my sleeves, and try and get the sounds out of my head into a computer!
L+T: You lived in Berlin and London – two cities with major music scenes. How did those musical atmospheres affect you as a musician?
HV: I learnt my craft and found my love for music in Berlin. I went to an American high school with an unbelievable music department here (London) and was taking piano lessons, going to band camps and sneaking into jazz clubs. I was on a constant musical high! Then, I came to London and was blown away all over again – so many genres, talented producers, and artists. It was amazing! I didn’t even know where to start. The hunger and passion I sensed in the London music scene was intoxicating. And I loved that there were no rules here. I mean, where else can an Indian girl raised in Germany, make dance music and actually find an outlet?
L+T: Admirably, you write and produce your own music. You’ve dabbled in everything from house to DnB. What was your creative approach to your new EP?
HV: My creative approach to the EP was, ‘Screw the rules!’ I was at a point where I was sick of trying to force elusive hits. I went into the studio and just angrily started throwing parts into Logic. I didn’t care anymore. I stopped thinking: ‘Is this a big hook? Will they like it?’ and just wrote. And something happened – I can’t explain it, but I somehow got in touch with a different, darker me. In hindsight, this is some of the most intuitive music I’ve made. Crazy that, ey?
L+T: The video for “Version 2.0” has the vibe of an intense scene from a movie. Who is the director? Tell me about the making of this video.
HV: The video is cool, right? It was directed by ‘sblood, a new directing team. We sat down together and the guys came up with such great ideas! The concept of “nothing is what it seems” is shown in different scenarios.
L+T: “Version 2.0” features Ama Schreyer. Is that her vocals on the track? How did you both meet for the collaboration?
HV: Yeah! Her tone is amazing. We were introduced by a mutual friend a few years ago who said we should do a session together. We obviously became homies immediately and I called her for this track! It’s great that it came together the way that it did.
L+T: Ultimately, who is Hannah V?
HV: Man, I’m trying to work that out for myself every single day! I’m a sister, a daughter, a producer, a friend, a Christian, a wannabe chef, a TV series junkie, a music lover, an insomniac, and a lover of Jack Daniels.