Artist Spotlight: An Interview with Hannah Byers

Sophomore+Hannah+Byers+is+making+music+and+advocating+for+mental+health+awareness.%0ACredit%3A+Hannah+Byers

Sophomore Hannah Byers is making music and advocating for mental health awareness. Credit: Hannah Byers

Ella Siepel, Contributing Writer

Given the Huntington school district’s ample opportunities in the arts, it is no surprise that many young musicians flourish in the high school. One such artist is Hannah Byers, a sophomore who began her singing career during 2020 through the release of several songs on Spotify. Starting with the release of her debut song, Hardest Goodbye, Byers quickly grew as an artist. She soon became a verified artist on Spotify and amassed thousands of streams on her collective discography. 

Throughout her second year of high school, Hannah released four more songs after Hardest Goodbye. These songs, titled Do You Miss Me Yet?, Stay Away, Before You Fall Again, and Black Tears, created a better picture of Byers’ musical style as she grew into her own as an artist. 

Curious about this young musician’s journey and experience, I asked her some questions in order to learn about what made Hannah Byers the artist she is today. 

 

What inspired you to begin writing music? When did you first start writing and how did your musical journey progress from there?

I started creative writing when I was seven years old however when I turned thirteen, I started to develop pensive moods and more melancholic emotions.  In an attempt to distract myself from my shifted mindset, I began to focus on songwriting.  It started out as just vocal melodies that I would record on my iphone and share with my close friends.  When I began to become more confident in my voice, I shared it with more people.  One of my previous music teachers had suggested that I made a YouTube channel for my music.  This sparked the idea of uploading my music to other major platforms.  As my mental condition worsened, releasing a song changed from an idea to a goal.  Through working towards the release of my debut single, I was able to develop a feeling of belonging and purpose in this world.  Eighteen months after starting songwriting as a hobby, I began producing music to the major platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube and more.

 

What does your songwriting process usually look like? Is there a specific way in which you write all of your songs, or do you just see where each new one takes you?

My songwriting process varies each time.  All of my songs start out as thoughts or melodies that appear in my head throughout the day.  They are raw emotion, therefore never planned.  From there, I will layer instrument tracks to fit the mood of the song until the background noise is filled.  When it comes time to write the lyrics, I will take different approaches based on who or what I am writing the song for.  If I am working with a company or independently to raise mental health awareness, I will do research on the topic in order to convey the proper message.  If I intend to release the song, I will take the drafted lyrics and generalize them so a bigger audience could relate to it.  If I am simply writing a song to cope or distract myself I will write the first lines that come to mind.

 

How do you wish to incorporate music in your future? Would you ever consider a career in music, or is it more of a hobby to you?

Music is something I believe I will continue forever whether it’s producing my own songs, writing for a company or simply composing for my own amusement.  Ideally, I would pursue a career in music, but realistically the chances are slim.

 

What is the most important thing you’ve learned throughout becoming a songwriter and musician?

The most important thing I’ve learned through becoming a releasing music artist is that you have to remain true to yourself despite the potential backlash.  There are millions of musicians out there who compromise their true identity in order to comply with what they believe is the standard in the music industry.  In reality, companies and record labels want artists who are distinct and stand out from the rest.  Ever since elementary school I have been bullied for being over dramatic and too emotional, but now I have learned this is something I can use to my advantage.  For example, a mental health organization asked me to be one of their musicians because of how openly I express myself and what may appear to be my vulnerable side.  Having confidence in yourself will open new opportunities.

 

Do you have any musical influences that you’ve looked up to and taken inspiration from in your own compositions?

There are several musical influences that have had a major influence on the way I write.  I have always admired how raw and honest NF’s lyrics are.  He doesn’t filter his darker thoughts which enables the listener to connect to the song on a personal level.  I also adore Melanie Martinez’s use of symbolism in her works.  She can take a relatable issue and compare it to something you would have never seen the resemblance to.  I have a lot of unreleased songs that utilize symbolism and raw emotion.  As far as the style of music, Tate McRae is my favorite artist of all time.  Her whole image between her fashion sense and the way she represents herself really speak to me.

Check out Hannah’s Spotify at this link!