Ethan Hanson is an upcoming musician and singer-songwriter with an upbeat pop-rock sound. When we first came across Ethan’s music we were really keen to interview him so that we could share his music, experiences and interests with you. Despite his increasingly hectic schedule we were delighted when he agreed. Read the full in-depth interview below where Ethan discusses, amongst other things, what music he enjoys listening to, what he’s currently working on and what he’s hoping to achieve over the next 12 months.
Q: If you could use a tagline of less than 20 words to describe your music and who you are what would it be?
I’m a hard working young aspiring musician who’s pop – rock sound is definitive, universal, and colored with diverse musical stylings.
Q: What is your musical background?
I come from a musical family. My mother was an active folk singer / songwriter for many years through the Carolina’s. There were many musicians and songwriters in and around my household frequently, and it became a natural path for me. At a young age I wrote poetry which eventually morphed into songs when I started singing at 12. I was taken in by some very talented musicians and was taught guitar lessons for two years, then I started teaching lessons for a short amount of time. I spent many years honing my guitar playing as well as singing, doing hundreds and hundreds of shows. I love playing funk to jazz to rock to blues. I am a versatile guitar player first, a heartfelt singer songwriter second.
Q: Is there anyone you would like to collaborate or gig with?
There are many many artists I would be honored to work with, from many different backgrounds. To name just a few, Jason Mraz, John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Cee Lo Green, John Legend, Sara Bareilles, Jennifer Nettles, Common, Andre 3000.
Q: What songs are on your ipod at the moment?
Michael Franti – Skin On The Drum
Radiohead – 15 Step
Steve Vai – Tender Surrender
The Avett Brothers – The Perfect Space
Satisfied – Cee Lo Green
Third Eye Blind – Narcolepsy
Q: What is your creative process for creating a track?
For me there is no definite process by which a song is created. It can start a number of ways. The first step, consciously or unconsciously, is an emotion felt that needs to be expressed. The expression could start with a melody, with or without lyrics, that just starts playing on my internal radio, i.e. my head. It could be a guitar lick or a simple progression. Sometimes the whole song comes out at once. Sometimes it can take years for a song to come together, sometimes minutes. There is a definite ‘industry standard’ format that is usually followed for the song to be played on radio, and that can add to the challenge of presenting a complete thought or expression.
Q: What’s more important, melody or lyrics?
That’s a tough call. I say depending on your perspective, and the genre or style, they are equally important. You can have a great catchy melody over a tight track that gets much success, simply because the melody is imprinted in the listener’s brain as soon as they hear the song. However, what’s the message? Although many listeners don’t catch on to lyrics, what are you saying to the people? Does it represent you as you intend? Every artist, whether coming from a ‘hit factory’ where subject matter and melody are usually preconceived based on the industry, or indy music where there is much more freedom (the only requirement is ‘nonconformist’) , will have unique goals in their intended message or ‘vibe’.
On the other hand, you can have the most insightful, deep, statement-making lyrics in the world, but if you can’t effectively communicate them through your melody, it may as well be a poem. There is a definite marriage between melody and lyrics that makes ‘timeless’ songs that will always lyrically relate to the listener through the test of time and people will always want to sing the song because the melody truly resonates with the lyrics, as well as the listener.
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
I’m from good old Fayetteville NC. (shout out to J Cole!) Also know as Da Ville or Fayettenam, it’s either a giant town or a midget city. It can’t seem to decide. Being from Da Ville, there isn’t much of a ‘going out’ scene, besides bars and clubs, which are mostly meat markets for GI’s. Theres a couple good music venues, theaters and bowling alleys. From my observation and experience, people in Fayetteville tend to make closer personal friendships with each other. Its not a small town, its not a big city. Its somewhere in the middle. So the main resource for fun is your friends.
We do a lot of hanging out and partying, which is why I’ve been slowly weening myself off of that town, besides my select close friends and family. Its a great place to meet talented, friendly, down to earth people, and then talk about what you wish you could do, because of the lack of outlets. It’s a good place to be when I’m done with my work and I want to go home to decompress and chill.
Q: What are you currently working on?
I am now finished with all of the tracking for my new soon to be released full length album. I’m in the process of mixing and mastering. I have teamed up with the great Jeff Juliano (John Mayer, Dave Matthews, Train, Jason Mraz) to mix the bulk of the record, and it sounds phenomenal. I am also finalizing my full concept of the artwork and visual aspect of the physical album as I prepare to release it early 2012. I just released my first music video for my song “Georgia”, which you can watch online at www.ethanhansonmusic.com, and have started working on my next music video for my single “Real Love” which will be available online as well in the short weeks to come. I’m also doing an instrumental acoustic side project with great friend, Native American flautist and percussionist Jonathan Ward, which I’m very excited about.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I have had some really awesome experiences the past few years. But just today (Dec 5, 2011) I did an awesome interview / performance with radio personality Larry London on Voice Of America’s show Border Crossings here in Washington DC. This program reaches a worldwide audience of about 141 million. No pressure, right? Especially when I have to be able sing to the world at 10am with no coffee. I did my best to be relaxed and just have a nice conversation with Larry and I had a great time. All the folks at the station were down to earth and chill, and they gave me great feedback, as I wiped the sweat off my brow. Mission accomplished!
Q: What are you hoping to achieve over the next 12 months?
In 2012, I hope to survive the end of time, predicted by the Mayan calendar. If that works out, I plan on launching a 25 city radio tour all along the East Coast, starting in January at the time my full album is released. I plan on attending many seminars and conferences all over the country from NY to LA. I will be performing constantly, interviewing constantly, and will be on the never-ending road. I hope to land a gig opening for an established act’s tour, and growing my fan base exponentially. I would love to do some collaborations with some great artists. I will be hitting all media outlets hard, radio, internet, social networking, public performance. I will be introducing myself to the world, so to speak, and hopefully eat some good food and have some great laughs in the process.
Editor’s Note: Ethan Hanson moulds effective songwriting and lyrical muse with a heartfelt commercial sound. Make sure you tell your friends you found him first.
If you’d like to contact Ethan Hanson or check out some more of his material just follow the links below:
Website link: http://ethanhansonmusic.com/