By Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief.
SURPRISE! This month, and hopefully in the months going forward, we will have TWO Beat Converses -- because they're just so cool. Ending this month strong is UK-based songstress extraordinaire Hannah Trigwell. I'm so excited to share her words with you!
Born and raised in Leeds, Hannah Trigwell has garnered more than 300,000 subscribers and over 35 million views on YouTube. She has received international acclaim for her covers and original music, with numerous top ten singles under her belt, as well as a number 1 single in Vietnam with her original song ‘Headrush’.
Hannah has performed in several sold-out UK tours, playing alongside the likes of Josh Kumra, Boyce Avenue, Jake Bugg, Alex Goot, Wretch 32, and Lawson. Her music has gained praise from the likes of Ed Sheeran (we're fangirling), Johnny Rzeznik (Goo-Goo-Dolls) (fangirling so hard), The Script (the fangirling is literally infinite), and many more.
Hannah is currently in the studio writing and recording for her next EP release. With that: Questions!
Peter LaBerge, Founder & Editor-in-Chief: Thanks so much for chatting with me! Since some of our readers may not be familiar with you and your music, could you give us a super-abridged autobiography to start out?
Hannah Trigwell, Musician: I am a 24 year-old singer-songwriter from the UK! I started out busking on the streets of my hometown (Leeds) before posting videos up on YouTube, which have now had a crazy 35 million views! I just recently returned home from my seventh UK tour, and I am spending early 2015 writing for my next EP.
PL: Any songs or artists you can’t stop listening to right now? What makes them so irresistible?
HT: I love Years & Years. I’m so obsessed with their latest single "King". The chorus is just so catchy, and the band’s energy on stage during live performances is infectious! I’ve also gone back to the first Ben Howard and Damien Rice albums again recently. I really appreciate those—every song is magic. I love harmonising acoustic guitars and emotive music, which is why those are two of my favourite albums!
PL: I’m curious (and I feel like a lot of other people are, as well)—how and why did you start recording covers and original music for YouTube? Do you have any advice for aspiring musicians whose followings are not as large as they’d like? What do you think it takes to become a well-regarded and well-known web-born musician?
HT: I started making videos to upload onto YouTube mainly because I saw other people do it, and thought, I could do that! Haha. I also couldn’t get many live gigs locally because I didn’t have a fanbase, so when the subscriber count and views started building up online, I was able to prove to promoters that I had people that could come to see me perform. It wasn’t overnight—like a lot of YouTubers, I have been uploading videos for years now. You have to persevere and be prepared to work hard if you want any kind of success—that includes music on YouTube! To be a well-regarded web-born musician, you just have to be real… it has to be about making great music; the rest should follow, but the aim should never be about numbers. People see through that.
PL: What’s the coolest place you’ve been able to visit because of music, and who’s the coolest person you’ve been able to work with?
HT: I played a small arena in Lisbon during a European tour and it absolutely blew my mind. I was really grateful for that opportunity!
The coolest person I’ve been able to work with... I’ve worked with some really successful producers and artists, but I feel really lucky to be able to work with my incredibly talented guitar player Will Dewsbury and keys player Ben Matravers everyday in the studio and on tour. So, those two!
PL: I’ve noticed that many prominent YouTube musicians work together in a variety of ways (for example, you and Boyce Avenue). How did this network arise, and what do you think you’ve gained from it?
HT: Boyce Avenue saw my videos on YouTube, and asked me to support them on tour, I toured with them three times and we worked on a few awesome cover collaborations! I learned a lot from them about touring and the music business, but mostly they helped me progress with my guitar and vocal technique. Working with others definitely helps you progress.
PL: Who’s the coolest person you haven’t (yet) worked with, but would love to work with? Why?
HT: I’d love to work with Passenger—to do a duet with him would be amazing. Or David Gray! I also really like Kygo—his remix of ‘I See Fire’ by Ed Sheeran is on repeat in my house.
PL: According to Facebook, you’ve just recently returned from a tour! Where, when, and how can we find you?
HT: Yes! I just got back from touring the UK, and now I’m going to be posting regularly vlogs and behind the scenes studio footage up onto my YouTube channel. So until the next tour, that is where you’ll find me!
PL: And finally—Do you have a favorite cover of yours on YouTube?
HT: I really enjoyed recording my Sam Smith ‘Stay With Me’ cover. I just reworked the song as an acoustic finger-tapping/harmonics piece, and then jammed it out a few times in my bedroom before recording. It felt natural, and I love how the video turned out.
Peter LaBerge is the author of the forthcoming chapbook Hook (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2015). His recent work is featured or forthcoming in Beloit Poetry Journal, Redivider, Copper Nickel, Best New Poets 2014, DIAGRAM, and Indiana Review, among others. He grew up in Connecticut, and now lives in Philadelphia, where he is a sophomore at the University of Pennsylvania and the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Adroit Journal. Learn more at www.peterlaberge.com.