EXCLUSIVE: JJ Hannon talks new music, Liam Payne and coping with the loss of his father

Carving his name into pop culture since a young age, 18-year-old JJ Hannon is a rising star with millions of followers online.

What’s more, it’s all just beginning. As the New York-born Irishman chats to CelebMix, he’s in between recording sessions in Germany, working on an upcoming solo EP.

“I’ve been a lot of places and one of the hardest but coolest things is breaking the language barrier”, JJ laughs. “With fans, sometimes they can only understand a simple hello or goodbye from me.”

Luckily, as a social media star whose name is known across the globe, help is never far away. “I often get greeted by many fans at airports. For instance, in Germany this week a group of girls showed me how to get to where the car was waiting for me and they often bring gifts from their country too!”

For those fans, some who have followed JJ’s journey even before his rise started gathering momentum with the 2017 Boys of Summer tour, exciting times are ahead. Years of the singer putting himself out in the public eye is set to culminate in 2019 as he readies the announcement of a worldwide recording deal with Sony.  But it’s not always been easy going.

“It was extremely hard being in the public eye so young. It’s a trial and error. You don’t know what exactly is the right thing to say and do. People can tell you to say this and that but it’s always up to you to make the correct choices.”

Years on from his first foray into the online world however, and that close contact with supporters is something that keeps JJ ticking. “I love speaking to people on social media. Twitter is my favourite! I see someone and know they’ve been tweeting for days and think, let’s respond to that person. I know that when I respond, it means so much to them.”

And as much as the coming months and years point to more exciting music and content than ever before, JJ is ready to speak out about causes close to his heart after a difficult opening to 2019.

“Unfortunately, my dad passed away this year. He struggled with addiction and the biggest thing he would want me to do and I want to do is help teenagers who are struggling with that so they have an amazing life.”

“When you’re 15 or 16-years-old and you start to struggle with addiction, you’re setting yourself up for a really tough life. If you can just nip it in the bud now, you’ll be fine, before trying to fix something that you can’t help.”

For a few years, JJ Hannon has been moving in the same circles as UK teen pop stars such as HRVY, RoadTrip and Max & Harvey. However, this year has also seen JJ afforded the chance to work with names such as Liam Payne on a Hugo Boss campaign.

“I got the chance to hang out with Liam in Miami when Hugo Boss invited me to come. Liam is a great guy and shared me on his Twitter and Instagram story which means so much to me.”

“He’s such a wonderful person and I really thank him. He told me it’s not about how many people are watching you, just make sure they are, and engage your audience. Just to be me.”

A confessed Directoner, JJ picks ‘Act My Age’ as a favourite track. “I know as I get older I won’t act my age and will always be a little kid”, he chuckles.

Hannon teases an upcoming single drop before the full EP project, as well as plans to hit the road in the U.K. after release. He leaves CelebMix with a teasing thought… “I always said 2020 sounds like a cool year to reunite with some of my favourite friends”. Exciting times for the young star.

Are you looking forward to new JJ Hannon music? Where would you want to see JJ on tour? Let us know @CelebMix on Twitter.

Written by Toby Bryant

Student journalist: music, sport, culture and just about anything in-between… Have worked for The Courier, NME, Daily Mirror, FourFourTwo & British Rowing, amongst others.
@toby_bryant_ on Instagram and Twitter.