Hannah Wants has built a career out of love, authenticity, and great music – a foundation that very much has been accepted with open arms by her global fan base. But in a constant quest for artistic freedom, this house icon has gone through a number of obstacles. More recently, her battle to physical well being. Undergoing a health scare, the future looked uncertain for a jarring minute; but with enough determination and never-ending support by her side, Hannah is back and better than ever and excited to push her brand, label, and music to newer heights. We’ve caught up with the legend herself to talk about her recent struggles, touring, and all things music!
You’ve overcome a threatening battle with grace and are now better nourished and stronger than ever. What are some of the key lessons you’ve learned in your wellness journey that have had the most positive impact on your wellbeing?
First and foremost to be aware… aware of your lifestyle choices, aware of what you’re putting into your body, aware of your work/life balance. I used to run on 100 and was chronically stressed for years because of the stress and pressure that to be honest I mainly placed on myself because I wanted to be the absolute biggest and best I could be unaware that it was a detriment to my health. What I realized when faced with cancer was that without good health (mind body and soul) I wouldn’t be able to live my dream or at worst case live at all. I re-evaluated my life and how I was living it and decided to make better choices moving forward which ultimately impacts on my wellbeing in the best possible way.
Has music helped you during the process of returning to full health/stamina?
DJ’ing / music definitely helped yeah. I actually worked (DJ’d) the same night I found out I had cancer, and the night after that. I remember times during the first few months post diagnosis crying or just feeling completely lost on the way to my gigs but getting behind the decks and playing to a crowd of people made me feel happier. No one knew what was actually going on behind the scenes and it provided me with some normality, it was good for me to still be out there doing what I loved to do despite my personal battle in terms of my health.
Embarking on a North American tour, can you elaborate on the concept for “What Hannah Wants” ?
The What Hannah Wants tour concept kinda speaks for itself, it’s what I want… Putting on a branded tour allows me to have more control over different aspects of the events, things like support line ups, production, venues, choosing longer set times etc and so it’s much more tailored tour and much more of a representation of me as an artist.
You must be very eager to get back to the states for such an extended tour. Any expectations you have going forward?
I’m extremely excited yeah, always excited to be back in U.S, especially in summer! No expectations, it’s better that way, put 100 in and go with an open mind. I’ve always been mega humbled by the support in America in the past and I’ m excited to keep growing here.
Fresh off your new single “Love Somebody,” being that it’s self released on your label Etiquette, what are some words of encouragement you pass on to those trying to do things their way and artists seeking creative freedom in this industry?
To just do you, follow your passion, don’t try to conform to trends or hype trains. The authentic you is the strongest tool you’ll ever have and I think if you’re looking for longevity in a career you love then you’ve gotta be real and true to yourself. Don’t look at or concentrate on other people, everyone is on a different path, concentrate on and put energy into your own game always. I’m also a big believer in you reap what you sow, you get out what you put in and so work hard and consistently and things will happen.
Your career is one of the most decorated we’ve seen in house music and it’s led you to building quite the resumé, what motivates to push further into your sound and creating records?
My passion for music and just life overall motivates me, I feel mega blessed to wake up every day and know I’m living my little DJ dream and that in itself is my motivation and inspiration. As for creating records I know the best is yet to come, that’s another huge motivation for me. It took a good few years to find my sound as a solo artist but as of late last year something just clicked and I believe I’m sitting on by far my strongest work to date, I’m hella excited for the future!
Take us back to your local music scene when you began to make noise with your career?
Gosh I remember these days like they were yesterday! My first ever paid gig was at a lil gay pub in Birmingham. I had to DJ on some really dodgy karaoke equipment and bend the pitch with buttons, got paid £40 for like four hours generally playing to no one but looking back I love that. When I started DJ;ing out more locally I’d generally get booked in Birmingham and the surrounding areas and Leeds, they were my main locations and my Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s would involve me driving myself round to 1-4 gigs per night for like £50-200 per gig! I absolutely loved it you know!
What were your expectations like back then and how different are they from what is now your reality?
I’ve been asked this before y’know and I actually don’t think I had any expectations. When I started DJ’ing I had only just started hitting the clubs under age and so I didn’t really know what was possible or out there to achieve. I didn’t have a DJ role model or DJ inspiration, I just knew I wanted to be a DJ and DJ’d because it was my passion. I didn’t really have a social life because I was so absorbed in music, my mates would be hanging out together and I’d be in bed tune searching until 3am and I was totally cool with that. My reality now however is just my dream life, I get to travel the world, DJ to crowds of people from different cities and countries, visit different places and work for myself which is something I always knew I would do.
As you continue to present yourself as a tastemaker in dance music, what are some goals you wish to accomplish whether its personal, with the label, or anything really?
My primary focus and goal is health, always health. Health is wealth and I know and understand that now. In a business sense I wanna grow as an artist and grow my record label Etiquette as much as possible, I’ve got so much more I wanna achieve as an artist. My goal as a DJ is to always level up my sets and for people to go home having had a good time, my goal as a producer is to keep improving and release some good shit! The industry and music scene is constantly evolving and so you’ve gotta keep moving and be at the top of your game to evolve with it.
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