1883 Magazine

Introducing the latest British pop gem Hannah Jane Lewis. Knowing from a young age she wanted to become a singer she started pursuing her dream by joining choirs and musicals at school. Moving to the United States as a teenager she quickly fell in love with the pop legends such as Britney Spears and Spice Girls – artists that have evidently influenced her sound. 

Following her single Raincheck released late last year - a truly quirky and bright song which even had remixes from the likes of Fickle Friends, Embody and KC Lights - we sat down with the enthusiastic songstress and talked all things pop, American high school, studying at Tisch School Of Arts and new track Aftershock out now.

How would you describe yourself to those who have never heard of you? 

I make glittery, quirky, big pop. I used to live in America and always used to look up to all the big American female pop stars – with big choruses and crazy imagery. So that’s kind of how I would explain the stuff I am doing. 

What made you decide to get into music in the first place?

I haven’t actually considered anything else. When I was young I was really into dancing and singing and theatre. I was in all the school choirs and plays and my brother and sister did the same thing so it was kind of natural for me. My brother and my sister are actors as well so we kind of all ended up doing creative things. I would say I have always known that this is what I wanted to do and never had a plan b. My parents had never done it, my Dad is a car dealer - we are the first generation. But they were really supportive and are the best help ever, I am really thankful for that. 

Do you take influence from particular artists or is there someone you look up to? 

Yes, I look up to people like Britney Spears, she was one of the biggest influences when I was younger - I absolutely loved her. Also the Spice Girls, and people like Gwen Stefani. I also love Katy Perry and all the big pop ladies. Now I really like Tove Lo and all those artists. 

You dropped Raincheck last year, which was a big success – how did the idea for the song and video come about? 

With the song, I had the word Raincheck written down in my notes so I wanted to write a track based around that. I used it as a starting point for the sessions I had with one of my friends Nicole Blair and the production duo The Union. We talked about what this word might mean, everybody thinks girls are waiting for boys to call which isn’t true a lot of the time, so I wanted to make it powerful for girls and all about making guys wait, and keeping them on their toes. That is kind of how it came around. In general I always keep my cards close to my chest when I first meet someone. It’s about how you act when you meet someone.

With the video, I worked with this amazing girl. When I met her we discussed ideas and she told me about having animation with glitter and I was like ’this is amazing’. It was my dream to be covered in glitter, and she got exactly what I was trying to create. She was amazing and the video was so much fun. It was the best day ever, I was covered in glitter and the rest was created with the green screen. That was my first time doing that. Getting the glitter off was a nightmare, it took me about 10 showers.

You were described as the UK’s Carly Rae Jepsen, how do you feel about that comparison? 

I love her! So that is great to hear. Obviously I wanna be the first version of myself but I absolutely love her. Her last album was one of my favourites. She unabashedly does pop and goes for it. Her love song was so pop. And it’s not apologetic, which is what I do as well. So the comparison kinda makes sense then. 

So you moved to the United States when you were 14, how different was it from growing up in the UK?

It was so different. Before I moved I was at an all-girls boarding school in Ascot and then once in the US I went to a co-ed high school with incredible where everyone spent the weekends at the beach. I had the best time ever. It was hard at first as it was such a drastic change but eventually I got used to it, made great friends and threw myself into the whole experience. I became a cheerleader, went to prom and all that. It was super fun. Sometimes I look back and feel like it was a different life time. 

And how did the experience at Tisch School Of The Arts shape you as an artist?

A lot. I always knew I wanted to do it but didn’t know how. So musical theatre seemed more realistic as an option. It was super hard though, definitely not easy to do it which made me realise it wasn’t something I wanted to do and so I put everything into being a recording artist. But it laid so many great foundations, for performing and such. We spent the whole day singing, every form of dance. New York was such a great place to be creative. Everyone is so ambitious, that’s when I figured out I couldn’t waste any time. 

What was the main reason of coming back to the UK again? Did you find it more difficult to break out as an artist over there? 

During my time in New York my family was living in Florida but decided to move back to England. After I graduated I missed my family and England and didn’t know how to do this without the support of my family so I thought it was time to go back. I don’t regret my decision. I couldn’t do all this with out their support. 

Finally what are your plans for this year?

I have my next single ‘Aftershock’ out today . I love it, I wrote it with one of my friends. It’s a song about when you break up with someone and are positive about being over them but you see them with someone new and makes you feel weird. It is about the feeling of aftershock. I also have a gig at London’s Hoxton Kitchen on the 23rd February. Lots more music to release too.

Hannah’s track ’Aftershock’ is out now via this link
For her latest info head to www.facebook.com/HJLOFFICIAL

Interview Antonia Künzel

Photography Yoshi Kono

Hair and make up Chantelle Phillips

Location Nine Lives, London

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