INTERVIEW: Carlie Hanson On Working With M-Phazes & The Zayn Cover That Changed Everything

  • INTERVIEW: Carlie Hanson On Working With M-Phazes & The Zayn Cover That Changed Everything
    POSTED May 15 2019
    Carlie Hanson
    Photo by Leeor Wild

    Carlie Hanson is still a pretty unknown name to the alt-pop genre, but with Troye Sivan, Taylor Swift and Yungblud already fans of her work, she probably won't be for much longer.

    The 18-year-old Wisconsin native only just got signed to a major label and on June 7th will release her debut EP, Junk, though we're already in love with its lead single Back In My Arms. Unlike many artists who grow up in music industry families and quietly get ushered into the world, as cliche as it sounds, Carlie was just a Midwest girl with a dream working at McDonald's. Idolising the talent (and good timing) that got Justin Bieber scouted through his YouTube videos when he was so young, Carlie aspired to the same thing - but when it finally happened it happened all too fast. Her second single Only One was noticed immediately, even by Ms Swift who personally placed the song on a playlist of her favourite songs.

    This November she'll be touring with indie pop songwriting genius Lauv on his Australia/New Zealand tour, but before that rolls around, we got to know Carlie a little better. She's sweet, cheerful and sounds like a really fun girl to hang out with - it's MET Gala morning and she chirps that "her baby" Harry Styles' outfit was to die for. She and her band have just crossed the border into Canada for a show and she says she can't wait to bring her tour to this corner of the globe.

    So you’re pretty new to the music world, how did you get started? I read that Justin Bieber and Zayn had a lot to do with it. How are you feeling about everything happening so fast?

    98% of the time, it’s just pure excitement. This has been something that I’ve wanted to do since I was very young, ever since I was like three years old, my mum says I was constantly singing, making noise, banging on shit. Trying to be the centre of attention. When I got to be 10 or 11, I discovered Justin Bieber and went back and watched all his cover videos on YouTube. All I wanted to do was just copy him – learn all the songs that he knew and then all his songs. I tried to learn One Time on guitar – I just wanted to do everything he was doing because he obviously made it through his covers on YouTube and he was so young and talented, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. So yeah, it’s something I’ve always loved. I started writing my own songs, probably a bunch of shit that didn’t make sense, in maybe middle school. I would do town shows every now and then, my friends would come. When I got to high school, I kind of fell out of it a little bit? Just with high school and a job and whatever, but my friend played guitar really well and encouraged me to get back into it. Me and her started a YouTube channel and I got back into it. 

    How all of THIS started was a cover I posted on Instagram – one day in 2016, I was at the mall or something and I saw IHeart Radio was posting a contest or something. If you posted a cover of Zayn Malik’s song Pillowtalk, you could win tickets to see him in New York. I’m the biggest One Direction fan also, so I was like to my friend, ‘yo let’s go out to the car and record this cover really quick! I’m trying to win these fucking tickets baby!’ So we went out, recorded the cover, then two days later IHeart Radio reposted my cover on THEIR Instagram and they obviously had much more followers than I did so we were bugging out about it. Then these producers had seen the video, it went viral for a second. Long story short, me and my mum talked to them, they wanted to work with me and they were based in Canada. My mum has always been so supportive, and she said, ‘we need to talk with their manager!’ or whoever so we know they’re legit and it’s not a scam or whatever. So we did. We went to Canada, I got a passport, I took off time from school, she took off time from work. And that’s when I made my first handful of songs. From then on, we kept working together. They came to California later on, I also met a writer in a session named Dale Anthoni, he’s become my best friend, and he ended up introducing me to my manager now.

    But yeah, just through this video, I met such important people. Pretty much my whole team to this day, I’m still constantly working with these people which is so crazy. 

    How did that all feel when your Pillowtalk cover got noticed? 

    It's really mindblowing [how social media can change your life]. It’s funny that I was looking at Justin Bieber like, ‘I wanna get famous off a cover or blow up from something like that’ and it basically DID happen for me that same way. It’s SOOO unreal to me. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t post that cover.

    Did you focus on music in school much?

    In elementary school, I tried to get in with these boys and start a band with me, but it never turned out to be anything. We would hang out in my garage and not even do anything. I had a guitar and microphone but nothing ever happened. I joined the school band in the middle school and played clarinet for a little bit, but I was like, ‘helll no, this is not for me.’ Dropped that. I wasn’t really into choir, I didn’t like the songs we had to sing, it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pop.

    Other than that, other than music, I wasn’t really a fan of school. I went there and got everything done and wanted to leave – it’s not that I hated it, or I was a brat, I obviously had friends and we did our own thing, but it was never something I truly enjoyed.

    What music did you grow up listening to? 

    Actually, I probably got more into pop when I found Justin Bieber or like when Katy Perry put out Teenage Dream. So good. But before then, my mum and older sister were always playing rock all the time – we’d be listening to Evanescence, Third Eye Blind, Five Finger Death Punch… my first concert was a Disturbed concert. Nirvana was always playing in the house, they’ve also become one of my huge inspirations. Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers… but we also listened to like, Tracy Chapman and Counting Crows and Phil Collins. He had that one band called Genesis or something? Yeah, so I listened to a whole bunch of shit. We also played the Usher album and Justin Timberlake album all the time – it was just a VARIETY of different music being played around the house and on long drives. 

    Your debut EP Junk is out and you worked with Australian producer M Phazes on Back In My Arms and Cigarettes, what was it like working with him?

    I love him.  He is just… his brain is just, like, I don’t know what’s happening in there but it needs to keep happening. He’s just a maniac. His drums! And he just has good ideas. He’s a producer so he doesn’t do much with the writing process but when he does, he always throws in good ideas. He’s super good with grammar and making things easier to understand. He’s really really talented and I love everything he’s done with Ruel – I think all that shit is very, very good. I really can’t wait to do more stuff with him. I think Ruel’s gonna be huge.

    The best thing about your music I think is it’s relatability, Mood is so relatable, so is Back In My Arms. Is that a deliberate thing you do or do you write for yourself?

    It’s different actually. As of lately, there’s been nothing really… like, I’m on tour right now and we don’t really do anything other than get in the van and drive places, go play the show and then go to bed. So nothing crazy is really happening around me. This is the time where I like to make shit up and make up scenarios and not write about real life, but any time I’m going through a new relationship or a new whatever, I love to write about new experiences because there’s so much authenticity that can come from that. I also like to write about what my friends or family are going through – it’s not always about me. But yeah, I write from all different sorts of perspectives! I always like to switch it up.

    You’re gonna be touring Australia and New Zealand with Lauv later this year, are you excited? 

    I honestly don’t even know what to expect! All I think of when I think Australia is the kangaroos, and if I meet one, I will cry. But yeah I don’t know what to expect! But I know Lauv’s band will be very welcoming, very wild, I’m very excited to be opening for him. He is amazing. I’m so excited to do this tour. 

    131946

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Submitted by Site Factory admin on Wed, 15/05/2019 - 11:25


Carlie Hanson
Photo by Leeor Wild

Carlie Hanson is still a pretty unknown name to the alt-pop genre, but with Troye Sivan, Taylor Swift and Yungblud already fans of her work, she probably won't be for much longer.

The 18-year-old Wisconsin native only just got signed to a major label and on June 7th will release her debut EP, Junk, though we're already in love with its lead single Back In My Arms. Unlike many artists who grow up in music industry families and quietly get ushered into the world, as cliche as it sounds, Carlie was just a Midwest girl with a dream working at McDonald's. Idolising the talent (and good timing) that got Justin Bieber scouted through his YouTube videos when he was so young, Carlie aspired to the same thing - but when it finally happened it happened all too fast. Her second single Only One was noticed immediately, even by Ms Swift who personally placed the song on a playlist of her favourite songs.

This November she'll be touring with indie pop songwriting genius Lauv on his Australia/New Zealand tour, but before that rolls around, we got to know Carlie a little better. She's sweet, cheerful and sounds like a really fun girl to hang out with - it's MET Gala morning and she chirps that "her baby" Harry Styles' outfit was to die for. She and her band have just crossed the border into Canada for a show and she says she can't wait to bring her tour to this corner of the globe.

So you’re pretty new to the music world, how did you get started? I read that Justin Bieber and Zayn had a lot to do with it. How are you feeling about everything happening so fast?

98% of the time, it’s just pure excitement. This has been something that I’ve wanted to do since I was very young, ever since I was like three years old, my mum says I was constantly singing, making noise, banging on shit. Trying to be the centre of attention. When I got to be 10 or 11, I discovered Justin Bieber and went back and watched all his cover videos on YouTube. All I wanted to do was just copy him – learn all the songs that he knew and then all his songs. I tried to learn One Time on guitar – I just wanted to do everything he was doing because he obviously made it through his covers on YouTube and he was so young and talented, and that’s exactly what I wanted to do. So yeah, it’s something I’ve always loved. I started writing my own songs, probably a bunch of shit that didn’t make sense, in maybe middle school. I would do town shows every now and then, my friends would come. When I got to high school, I kind of fell out of it a little bit? Just with high school and a job and whatever, but my friend played guitar really well and encouraged me to get back into it. Me and her started a YouTube channel and I got back into it. 

How all of THIS started was a cover I posted on Instagram – one day in 2016, I was at the mall or something and I saw IHeart Radio was posting a contest or something. If you posted a cover of Zayn Malik’s song Pillowtalk, you could win tickets to see him in New York. I’m the biggest One Direction fan also, so I was like to my friend, ‘yo let’s go out to the car and record this cover really quick! I’m trying to win these fucking tickets baby!’ So we went out, recorded the cover, then two days later IHeart Radio reposted my cover on THEIR Instagram and they obviously had much more followers than I did so we were bugging out about it. Then these producers had seen the video, it went viral for a second. Long story short, me and my mum talked to them, they wanted to work with me and they were based in Canada. My mum has always been so supportive, and she said, ‘we need to talk with their manager!’ or whoever so we know they’re legit and it’s not a scam or whatever. So we did. We went to Canada, I got a passport, I took off time from school, she took off time from work. And that’s when I made my first handful of songs. From then on, we kept working together. They came to California later on, I also met a writer in a session named Dale Anthoni, he’s become my best friend, and he ended up introducing me to my manager now.

But yeah, just through this video, I met such important people. Pretty much my whole team to this day, I’m still constantly working with these people which is so crazy. 

How did that all feel when your Pillowtalk cover got noticed? 

It's really mindblowing [how social media can change your life]. It’s funny that I was looking at Justin Bieber like, ‘I wanna get famous off a cover or blow up from something like that’ and it basically DID happen for me that same way. It’s SOOO unreal to me. I don’t know where I’d be if I didn’t post that cover.

Did you focus on music in school much?

In elementary school, I tried to get in with these boys and start a band with me, but it never turned out to be anything. We would hang out in my garage and not even do anything. I had a guitar and microphone but nothing ever happened. I joined the school band in the middle school and played clarinet for a little bit, but I was like, ‘helll no, this is not for me.’ Dropped that. I wasn’t really into choir, I didn’t like the songs we had to sing, it wasn’t fun. It wasn’t pop.

Other than that, other than music, I wasn’t really a fan of school. I went there and got everything done and wanted to leave – it’s not that I hated it, or I was a brat, I obviously had friends and we did our own thing, but it was never something I truly enjoyed.

What music did you grow up listening to? 

Actually, I probably got more into pop when I found Justin Bieber or like when Katy Perry put out Teenage Dream. So good. But before then, my mum and older sister were always playing rock all the time – we’d be listening to Evanescence, Third Eye Blind, Five Finger Death Punch… my first concert was a Disturbed concert. Nirvana was always playing in the house, they’ve also become one of my huge inspirations. Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers… but we also listened to like, Tracy Chapman and Counting Crows and Phil Collins. He had that one band called Genesis or something? Yeah, so I listened to a whole bunch of shit. We also played the Usher album and Justin Timberlake album all the time – it was just a VARIETY of different music being played around the house and on long drives. 

Your debut EP Junk is out and you worked with Australian producer M Phazes on Back In My Arms and Cigarettes, what was it like working with him?

I love him.  He is just… his brain is just, like, I don’t know what’s happening in there but it needs to keep happening. He’s just a maniac. His drums! And he just has good ideas. He’s a producer so he doesn’t do much with the writing process but when he does, he always throws in good ideas. He’s super good with grammar and making things easier to understand. He’s really really talented and I love everything he’s done with Ruel – I think all that shit is very, very good. I really can’t wait to do more stuff with him. I think Ruel’s gonna be huge.

The best thing about your music I think is it’s relatability, Mood is so relatable, so is Back In My Arms. Is that a deliberate thing you do or do you write for yourself?

It’s different actually. As of lately, there’s been nothing really… like, I’m on tour right now and we don’t really do anything other than get in the van and drive places, go play the show and then go to bed. So nothing crazy is really happening around me. This is the time where I like to make shit up and make up scenarios and not write about real life, but any time I’m going through a new relationship or a new whatever, I love to write about new experiences because there’s so much authenticity that can come from that. I also like to write about what my friends or family are going through – it’s not always about me. But yeah, I write from all different sorts of perspectives! I always like to switch it up.

You’re gonna be touring Australia and New Zealand with Lauv later this year, are you excited? 

I honestly don’t even know what to expect! All I think of when I think Australia is the kangaroos, and if I meet one, I will cry. But yeah I don’t know what to expect! But I know Lauv’s band will be very welcoming, very wild, I’m very excited to be opening for him. He is amazing. I’m so excited to do this tour. 

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