She has been a singer for as long as she can remember and feels most at home when she is on stage, enthralling her audience with her vocals. Nothing seems to stop Hannah Elizabeth Mathews; in fact, during one of her shows, she even tripped on a monitor and fell flat on the floor!
Her foray into music started when she was a child. Describing her parents as her biggest influence, she says she started singing in her church choir in Kuwait. However, it was when she came to the City to pursue her high school studies that she decided to take her music career forward. Inspired by evergreen vocalists like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, she began to sing for a number of fests at school and other concerts. It was during her last internship at college that she had an epiphany to pursue a career in music. Hannah recalls, “I declined the job that I was offered because I knew that I would not be happy working at a corporate. My parents were proud as I was fulfilling a dream they couldn’t pursue in their days.” Currently, she is also a vocalist for the funk and pop band, ‘Clown with a Frown.’
A self-taught musician, she says, “Though training helps a singer understand the technicalities in music, self-learning has its advantages as well. A self-taught singer has a multitude of vocal options and techniques at their disposal. They are not straight-jacketed into one technique because they learn by watching videos and practising on their own. There is no water-tight compartment for them to sing in one style.” So singing a wide variety of genres such as pop, blues and jazz, she has made her mark in a number of gigs held in the hotspots of the City such as CounterCulture and ‘Wednesday Acoustic Nights’ at Church Street Social.
With the major growth of Electronic Dance Music (EDM) in Bengaluru, a range of highly synthesised sounds, loops and grooves are heard at every event. But Hannah believes that this doesn’t sideline other genres as they have their own beauty. “EDM has become popular for its fun vibe. However, other genres have their own place and different tonalities.”
A full-time musician, she says that she has a good network of friends who come in handy during shows and when contacting venues. However, there are a few challenges that Hannah, like other artistes, continues to face. “There are a number of challenges but the main one is the irregularity of payments. Venues take an artiste for granted and delay the payment, even if it’s a small amount. I believe that they have to stick to their word as it’s very hard for artistes to earn their bread and butter otherwise, especially if they don’t have another job to fall back on.” On a final note, she says that she will continue to stick to the music industry no matter what. “It’s a very dicey industry but I don’t want to regret not working hard, 10 years down the line. It does make me nervous at times but I follow my heart and sing. It’s all about taking the plunge.”