Alt-Pop maverick’s first time in Manila a hit
Alternative Pop maverick Carlie Hanson had a successful first time visit to Manila appearing in two well-received shows at the “Warner Night: A Junket Full of Dreams” showcase with Filipino artist Quest, and as one of the foreign headliners of this year’s Nickelodeon SlimeFest at the SM Mall of Asia Concert Grounds.
The artist had an impressive release of her debut EP “Junk” in June under Warner Records unveiling music spun from wise-beyond-her-years stories on lost love. Through a cigarette-burned croon, the 19-year-old turns suburban discord into confessional pop with songs like “Back In My Arms.” The track is Hanson’s second and most recent original to appear on Taylor Swift’s playlist on Apple Music.
Earning more than 6.2 million cumulative streams since its release in late April, Back In My Arms recently topped Spotify’s Out Now playlist, with a second track from the EP, “WYA,” coming in at No. 8. WYA has also appeared on 28 New Music Friday playlists worldwide on Spotify.
Now “Junk,” the EP’s title, describes where this record started and definitely not where it ends.
“These songs mean so much to me and have so much meaning to them, but I didn’t want the title of my EP to be something so thought out. I wanted it to be simple,” Hanson explains on her bio. “Really, each of these songs started out as a quick stupid melody I came up with in the shower, or while I was high, and I just threw in my voice memos! Sometimes I’ll think of a concept and just quickly jot it down in my notebook.”
In 2017, Hanson traded her gig at a Midwestern McDonalds drive-thru for a life in Los Angeles, where she quietly infiltrated the music mainstream. A series of independent singles clocked nearly 70 million streams as she earned praises from CR Fashion Book, Nylon, L’Officiel, Relix, Hillydilly, and more. The buzz secured her a supporting spot on tours with Troye Sivan and Yungblud, and ultimately led to a record deal with Warner Records.
Music Geek was part of the roundtable interview with this promising young artist before thanks to Eme Abarracoso of Warner Music Philippines. The excerpts follow.
How do you find your first visit to Manila so far?
I don’t have any idea what to expect to be honest. I’ve never seen anything like this city in my life. I live in LA now but I’m from Wisconsin so it’s just a whole different world. People here are really sweet and the city has been fascinating. There’s just so much traffic and trees everywhere. It’s really cool.
Tell us more about getting discovered covering Zayn songs.
That was like 2016. I was hanging out with my friend and we were on Instagram. Randomly, I saw this “I Heart Radio” contest where they covered his songs for tickets to see him in concert. I obviously freaked out because I’m a huge One Direction fan. I went to my friend’s car really quick and I posted this cover and within a few days “I Heart Radio” reposted the cover on their account. They had a lot of followers and I didn’t. This producer ended up seeing it. Long story short, I worked with them and made my first few songs with them. But I didn’t end up winning the contest which is weird. That’s all the reason I’m here right now.
Any dream collaborations?
Justin Bieber is definitely one. Post Malone and The 1975.
Can you remember the time you wrote any of your singles?
I vividly remember writing my song “Hazel” because I was nervous to go to that session that day and I knew I wanted to talk about that — what was going on. It’s a song about one of my best friends going through a difficult time. It was weird at first because it was so hard for me to talk about that especially in front of writers and producers. I remember writing that one because it was such a personal thing for me.
What do you want the audience to take away from your songs? What is it that you are trying to say?
Anyone who listens to my music, I just want them to feel something and some kind of emotion. I just want people to relate to it somehow.
Do you have a songwriting process?
It depends on the mood I’m in. Sometimes I have an idea, like a voice memo on my phone, and I want to bring that up and have people listen to it. Or I have a songwriting concept idea that I’ll bring right in. Or sometimes I have no idea what’s going on in a writing session. Something like the riff, something off the guitar or piano and the song would just come out naturally.
What’s been the most challenging part of your career so far?
I think waiting or being patient is definitely a challenge for me. I thought putting out my first single, like automatically, it would just blow up. Like everyone was gonna hear and everyone would be like, “Oh my God!” There definitely is a process which is fun. I’ve learned to live with that. Just like stupid insecurities, things like that.
How do you get through the insecurities?
I’m never gonna give up. I just keep going. I keep putting out better songs and what I think is better music. Hopefully that would grasp more audiences.
Have you always wanted to be a performer ever since you were young?
Oh yeah! Ever since I was able to talk. I just wanted to make people laugh, be in front of the crowd and make people happy.
Who was your inspiration?
Definitely Justin Bieber. I remember hearing his voice on the radio and I went on YouTube and watched all his videos. I became instantly obsessed. He can play guitar. He can play drums. He can sing. He can dance. I just wanted to be like he was and mimic everything he did. He was definitely he main reason why I wanted to become a performer.
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PHOTOS BY JUDE NG