Grace Carter: You were raised in Berlin. How has this influenced your music?
Hannah V: I am South Indian, was raised in Berlin, and went to an American school here. So, my upbringing was multi-cultural to say the least! I was constantly surrounded by people from a multitude of backgrounds and have always been fascinated by this. I think you can hear the mish-mash of my upbringing in my music; you never quite know what you are going to get with a Hannah V production!
GC: What would you say the key differences are between German and British produced music?
HV: What I love about British music is that it really is a melting pot of sounds and scenes. There is no place more culturally vibrant than London - in my opinion - and no-one here raises an eyebrow that an Indian girl from Berlin with a weird accent does dance music! What I love about German music is the domestic scene. I love hearing word play and clever rhyming tricks in German. It’s just a completely different beast!
GC: Which musicians inspired you growing up and why? Who should we be keeping an eye on these days?
HV: I was inspired by so many musicians growing up... I fell in love with jazz as a teenager and could not get enough of Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, etc. My favourite artists in the UK currently are Andreya Triana, JP Cooper, Alani Gibbons, Kwabs… they all have voices that just immediately grab you! I also love the whole LA-based Soulection scene - currently cannot get enough of the SPZRKT & Sango EP – ‘The Hours Spent Loving You’!
GC: You are a classically trained pianist. What made you make the leap from this type of music to what you are making nowadays?
HV: I was classically trained on the piano as a kid, but quit as a teenager and focussed only on jazz. After moving to London and working with the production crew Bugz in the Attic, my ears really opened up to broken beat, jazz funk and dance music. I’ve always loved hard beats, so before I knew it, I was throwing all of these influences into a pot and my sound slowly developed.
GC: Does any of this training still influence your sound?
HV: Yes, definitely! I am in love with the sound of the piano - my appreciation for the instrument definitely stems from my classical days. I try and feature the piano in all of my tunes.
GC: You've worked with some impressive and notable names in your career already. Who stands out to you most - and why - in terms of having taught you some key lessons in what you do?
HV: Working with artists like Rihanna and Jessie J really showed me how hard you have to work to get to the top and how much harder you have to work to stay there! Music is a constantly evolving beast - you have to live and breathe it 24-7!
GC: What does "music" mean to you?
HV: Wow - how do I answer this? Okay, let me give it a bash. Music for me means - Freedom. Peace. Love. God. Hope. Life. Everything.
GC: Can you talk me through your track ‘It Ain't Right’. What inspired it and what do the lyrics mean?
HV: As with so many songs, this track was inspired through a real life unhealthy situation. It is quite a dark subject - the lyrics talk about being addicted to someone/something, yet not trying to fight it anymore. It is that feeling of surrendering to your craving - even though you know deep down it is only going to lead to heartache and pain.
GC: Where do you get your song-writing inspiration from?
HV: I get inspiration from everywhere! My own experiences, hearing my family and friends talk, reading a great book, eating some amazing food - inspiration can be found in the strangest of places, so I try and keep my eyes open and my instincts tuned in at all times!
GC: What is next for you and where do you hope to be in three years time?
HV: I want to continue collaborating with amazing artists and I want to continue honing my sound. I love producing and writing so much, so hopefully I will be doing more of the same in three years. I really miss the road and performing, so I want to take my own show out live at some point. Apart from that, I’m all good - as long as I can pay my rent and get to and from the studio, I am happy! Oh, and throw in a nice steak from Gaucho once in a while and we’re winning!!!
To hear more of Hannah V, head over to: soundcloud.com/hannahvofficial
Words: Grace Carter