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Q&A: On The Line with HANNI & 'Undermine'

Photo: Michelle Pitiris

Rising-star HANNI says goodbye to bad relationships with the release of indie-pop hit ‘Undermine’ – her first single since signing with Dew Process. The extremely well-produced synth and beats paired with HANNI’s powerful vocals have us slapping that repeat (1) on spotify. That artist has been on the up-and-up since debut mellow jam ‘Golden Eyes’ which has amassed over 4 million streams on Spotify since its 2020 release.

“I wrote Undermine on my first solo work trip to Sydney. I got in the studio with Thomas Porter and Hannah Brewer on a cold rainy day. Before leaving Brisbane I had had a huge fight with my partner of a year, and we had had no communication the whole week I was away. This really took a toll on me, so we wrote about it,” HANNI shares.

“This film was my acting debut, and I was starring opposite my best friend Marco who was acting as my boyfriend. The two of us together is generally not very serious, but we really needed to be, so there was a lot of BTS of us in fits of laughter. The hardest scene was the fight in the car. On the day Marco and I were listening to music and screaming out the lyrics, then the cinematographer Aidan Rice would signal he was rolling, and we would then switch into fight mode."

This is HANNI’s sixth single – just a sample of what this young artist is capable. We reached out to HANNI to answer some of our questions about her music and experience in the industry, and here’s what she had to say…

What is your writing process? Does it differ depending on the song or is it usually the same time or place that you feel the most creatively liberated to write.

My writing process normally involves me being annoyed, angry, upset or processing something that is happening in my life. I generally do most of my creative work when I’m alone in my studio late at night. In saying that though, I love creating with pretty much anyone.

Like in the case of ‘Undermine’ this was created with Charlie (AKA Thomas Porter) and Hannah Brewer while I was on my first solo writing trip in Sydney. This was my first time working with them and they asked me what I wanted to write about, and I only had one thing on my mind. I had a falling out with my partner at the time just before I left, and we didn't speak for the whole time I was away. I was in the middle of processing how I felt about the relationship and that was the inspiration for ‘Undermine’. Writing for me is a way of expressing things that I sometimes just can’t say.

We really loved the vid for Undermine - Can you tell us about that experience and what it was like acting with your friend Love, Marco?

Filming the ‘Undermine’ music video was so much fun, everyone was just wonderful to work with and so creative. The filming was completed in two days, one to create the storyline and the other to create the signing/performance scenes. All and all it was an amazing experience and I enjoyed learning a lot.

It was great to work with Love, Marco. We have been best friends since we met at Music Industry College in high school back in 2018. We have been creating music together for years, Marco was the co-writer and producer of my first single ‘Wired’, but this video was our first time acting together. Thank goodness Marco has acting experience as it made up for my lack of! It was strange having to do a lot of the scenes because they were either love or fighting scenes and both scenarios are just not our relationship. Marco and I together are always fun, full of laughter and lots of singing but this video required us to be serious which was super hard. The team however did a great job of controlling our excessive energy and managed to make the scene look legit. I’m extremely proud of the end result and grateful that Marco agreed to play this role for me. Couldn’t have done it without him!

Do you have any plans to play more shows? What’s your dream venue to play at/artist to play with?

I do have a number of shows planned in the coming weeks here in Brisbane.

On the 24th of March I will be opening for JOY at Wooly Mammoth. I have been a huge fan of JOY’s music for years. Like me, she graduated from Music Industry College (MIC). I'm not sure if she will remember, but she did a mentoring session with me at MIC. This was at a time where I didn't know I wanted to do music as a career, so this gig will hold a special place in my heart – a full circle moment. And I know our MIC principal Brett Wood along with others from our MIC family will be there to support us both.

On the 26th of March I’m playing at Fortitude Music Hall. This is a flood relief event, and all proceeds will go towards those affected from the recent events. There are some incredible acts playing this event, this will be a highlight in my career as Fortitude Music Hall is on my list of venues I dream of playing. But to be asked to participate in such an event is a true honour and it feels wonderful to be able to give back to those that have lost so much.

On the 18th of May, I’ll be opening for George Alice at Blackbear. This event got cancelled earlier this year because of COVID, so it is going to be great to finally get to play. George and I have been in contact since just before Unearthed High, my mum had brought her song ‘Circles’ to my attention, and at the time we were both getting played on Triple J as possible finalists for Unearthed High. I dropped her a message to say how much I loved ‘Circles’, and she responded with the same about ‘Wired’, which was the start of our friendship. George Alice obviously went on to win Unearthed High and it has been incredible to watch her navigate this industry at such a young age and continue to grow. I am so grateful that of all the people she could have asked to support her she picked me. I’m looking forward to hanging out and having a drink or two.

Can I just say that what I love about both JOY and George Alice is the way they support others in the industry, that they take the time to send messages of encouragement and support of achievements. I think this is truly special xxxx

My dream venues are The Hollywood Bowl and Madison Square Garden but the number one place I want to play would have to be at Coachella. One day I would love to host/play a lineup with all my best friends at a huge venue! If you're asking from an idol view, I would have to say just any artist I look up to would be sick (which I guess I’m lucky enough to already be doing). Some that come to mind would be Billie Eilish, Holly Humberstone, Tate Macrae, blackbear, Carlie Hanson and Gracie Abrams.

You’ve already been recognised by fans all over the world – it kicked off with the QMA School Award for your debut – what big piece of advice would you give aspiring young musicians? What would you tell your 2020 self?

JUST DO IT! Don't have a plan B!!! If you have a plan B, you will never fully commit to following your dreams. I think it's important to not make excuses and not to compare yourself to other people or their success. Everybody has a different journey and if you spend time focusing on the right things that will get you to where you need to be. I also think setting goals and making some of them big is good so you have things to work towards.

What would I say to my 2020 self…? I think I would say things are going to get interesting and keep pushing through as there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The experience you will have, the good, the bad and the ugly will result in incredible music. That you are going to find your tribe. That your perfect partner is just around the corner, and you will find them when you least expect it in the most inexplicable way. That you're going to be happier than you ever thought possible. That all your dreams are going to come true just keep being you.

Are there any aspects of your music you feel would be different now if it weren’t for the interruption of the pandemic?

Most definitely there are aspects of my music that would be different. The pandemic really put everything on hold for me. I had so many goals that were not achievable because of all the lockdowns, for example I can’t count the number of gigs I was meant to play that got cancelled. 2020 was a year that I was going to focus on doing a lot of performing to improve that skill and grow my audience. I also didn’t release as much music as I had planned, it was like I have been in a holding pattern for two years. A lot of my audience is overseas, and I have been dying to travel but again that has not been achievable during this time. As I only finished school in 2019 and started focusing full time on my Music career in 2020 my time couldn’t have been more off, so I do think that my career could have looked a lot different had we not had a pandemic. But what I’m grateful for is that in this time I had to learn new skills and I established my incredible team, so there are no excuses for what is to come. My latest release has been nothing but positive and well received so I think all the hard work over the last few years is finally going to pay off and I'm excited about what comes next.

Thank you to HANNI for answering all of our questions! We look forward to what the next few years have in store for her.

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