Carlie Hanson might just be eighteen years old, but she has had quite the rapid rise in the music world. After being announced as tour support for Troye Sivan’s The Bloom tour and receiving endorsements from none other than Taylor Swift herself, Hanson has already racked up nearly 50 million streams on Spotify with her first four singles. It’s safe to say that she’s come a long way from working at McDonald’s in her hometown in Wisconsin.
For years, Hanson knew that she had a passion for music. She remembers singing around the house from a young age, but it’s Justin Bieber who really gave her the push she needed to pursue music for real. After hearing Justin Bieber on the radio, Hanson then proceeded to watch all of his YouTube videos, which gave her a huge amount of inspiration. She then started performing in talent shows and posting her own covers on YouTube, until her first big break came in 2016.
Less than two years ago, Hanson posted a cover of “Pillowtalk” on Instagram in hopes of winning a contest to see Zayn Malik in concert. Sadly, despite being a complete Directioner, she didn’t end up winning the tickets, but the cover definitely led to even better things. iHeartRadioended up reposting her contest submission and soon after, she received a message from a Canadian producer inviting her to come join his team for some sessions. She credits those producers with really helping discover her sound and leading her to meet the rest of her team.
Hanson describes her sound as a combination of her inspirations, from Justin Bieber to SoundCloud rap, all coming together to create a sort of “urban pop.” Her other inspirations include nirvana, One Direction, and rappers like Lil Skies.
With her recent single “Mood” that came out just a few months ago, Hanson also gave us some insight into her songwriting process. She is constantly writing random ideas in her notebook or in the notes on her phone to keep track of everything, whether she’s at home or on the road. Other writers usually join her in sessions, though, so most of the work is collaborative and always changing depending on what’s going on in her life.
One of her favorite songs she’s written so far is called “Hazel,” about one of her friends back home who started getting into drugs and hanging out with the wrong people. Hanson describes the song as “a letter to her saying ‘I love you’ and I don’t want you to be doing this,” and loves how personal it is.
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