Hanne Leland is one of the hottest songwriters around right now. The Norweigan born singer/songwriter has been making her mark over the past couple of years, carving out her career as a pop star and has surpassed over a million streams on Spotify!
Having toured with the likes of All Saints and worked with iconic producers such as Jim Eliot and Red Triangle, Hanne is no stranger to music and talent.
To coincide with the release of her new single ‘Underdogs’, we got to speak to the talented musician earlier in the week about the release, her songwriting, and her 2019 plans.
Hi Hanne, first things first – how are you? What have you been up to lately?
Hi there, I’m great, thank you! I just released my new single “Underdogs”, the music video is out as well. I also released a Christmas-ish song, it’s a cover of Joni Mitchell’s “River”. Other than that I’m rehearsing for my next tour while trying to stay healthy and get enough sleep :)
Tell us about your most recent single, ‘Underdogs’ – it’s empowering. What was your inspiration behind the song?
I’ve always seen myself as the underdog, so finding the title for the song was quite easy, and I started writing from that. I wrote the chorus first, and the song actually started out as a piano ballad. I wanted to write a song for all my fellow underdogs out there. The feedback has been amazing, so I guess it’s something a lot of people can relate to.
How was it working with producer Hight, who has also worked with the likes of Lily Allen and John Newman?
It was great- he is incredibly talented. I’ve done a few more songs with him recently, which will be released in 2019.
The music video has just been released – tell us about your vision for that?
I wanted to make a colourful, fun and positive video featuring lots of different people. I wanted to show that us underdogs are everywhere, we’re in all ages, from all kinds of backgrounds, etc.
Your past releases such as ‘Queen’ and ‘Keep on Movin’ have also been upbeat and empowering. Do you find writing inspirational tracks has become somewhat expected from you or does it just happen organically?
I love anthems and have always been a sucker for those “big sounding” songs. However, I’ve never felt any pressure to make anything else than what I want to make. I always write songs from my own experiences, so what I’m going through determines what I’ll write about.
I love releasing ballads and more stripped songs, but I also adore high-energy bops, so I really just write and release what I feel like, as long as it’s authentic and great.
‘Stay’ provides a slight departure in sound as it is more slow and raw – do you have a preference over your style of sound or do you enjoy mixing it up?
I love a strong, clear melody, which sounds great even without any production. That’s why I always write my songs as piano ballads at first, to make sure the melody is strong enough on its own. Whether the song ends up as a raw, acoustic ballad, or as a track with loads of production on it, I don’t really care. What’s important to me, is that the production adds to the song and fits it. So I guess the answer is yes, I really enjoy mixing it up and trying out different stuff.
You’ve been described to be quite outspoken on issues of feminism. Do you have a particular message you aim to convey in your music and just in general?
I always aim to have a message in my music. Music is so powerful, and as a songwriter and artist, I feel like it’s my responsibility to bring something to the table, to speak up, and write about things that matter. I’m an advocate for feminism because even though we have come far in many countries, we’re still not where we need to be. A lot of people are scared of using the word “feminist”, but it’s really simple: if you believe in equal opportunities for men and women; you’re a feminist.
How did you get into music? Has it always been in your life?
I can’t remember not doing music. I started singing when I was really young, and I remember thinking “this is what I need to do with my life”. I’ve felt this sense of purpose ever since. I never really had a plan B, I still don’t. I started writing my own songs and poems when I was like 9 or 10, and have just kept going.
Tell us about your upcoming UK tour in 2019. Any new places that you haven’t played before? Any surprises you can tell us?
I’m so excited to open for Gavin James in January! I love his music and have been a fangirl since 2016. I’ve played all the cities before, but it’s been a while since my last UK tour, so I’m really excited to come back. I’ll be playing a few brand new songs that haven’t been released yet, so I’m really excited about that too. Glasgow, Birmingham, Manchester, and London GET READY AND GET YOUR TICKETS! :)
What else does 2019 involve? Any New Year resolutions?
I have a lot of new songs coming out. I’m releasing so much music in 2019, my head is spinning just thinking about it, hehe. Really excited though! My goal is just to keep releasing music, play more shows, and grow as an artist and as a person. I’m not really one for New Year resolutions. I’m trying to work on myself all year through.
Thank you, Hanne Leland, for taking the time out to answer our questions, we’re loving “Underdogs” and can’t wait to hear the new music you plan to release in 2019.
Check out Hannes’ new single ‘Underdogs’ out now and look forward to new releases in 2019!