Hannah Renton is a Brighton-based singer and songwriter. For the third instalment of our lockdown ‘Women & Creativity’ series, we caught up with Hannah who came to Copperdollar Studios in 2017 to shoot a music video in The Hayloft. She tells us how she’s been continuing to play music despite the lockdown restrictions.
Hello! Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your music.
Hi! I’m Hannah, a local Brighton singer and songwriter. For a living I perform cover song gigs at local bars, which I absolutely love! During this lockdown I’ve been itching to get back gigging again. My main passion though is to write and perform my own original songs. My tracks are all electronic dance, feel-good pop songs 🙂
What have you been up to since your time shooting in Copperdollar Studios three years ago?
Since shooting in Copperdollar Studios (which are great by the way!), I’ve worked with some incredible producers, released a few of my original songs and I’ve filmed some fab music videos. One video we filmed was actually shot on a yacht near Brighton Marina on a typical freezing cold day, but we all whacked on the fake tan and smiles and I’m super happy with the outcome! This video was for a song of mine called ‘Won’t Let You Down’.
Can you recall a ‘turning point’ moment where you realised you wanted to be an artist?
I always enjoyed singing and wanted to be a singer, but I think I took it more seriously after getting a place to study at The BRIT School in London. I studied here for two years and the place really is amazing. Being surrounded by so many like minded and talented people as well as brilliant tutors and facilities, was such a motivation to succeed.
How has the lockdown changed your creative process — have you been inspired to write new music? What do you miss most about pre-lockdown life?
Well I really miss gigging! Not only because it’s my income, but because there’s nothing quite like singing to and boogieing around with a room full of happy people!I’ve been writing songs during lockdown, but I guess the biggest change for me is performing live gigs from home. Prior to lockdown, I hadn’t ever performed a Facebook live before and I’ve done loads from home recently. From this, I was invited to perform a Facebook live on Brighton Palace Pier during the sunset hours which was just magical. I also performed a Facebook live for a Turkish media company to share in Cyprus which was cool! So yes, still keeping busy as I have no idea when I will be able to gig in venues again.
The live music scene in Brighton and across the UK is suffering amidst the lockdown restrictions. How can we help venues, artists and bands get back on their feet after the pandemic?
Venues often struggle for an entertainment budget at the best of times. It’s so important that people come out and enjoy live gigs in their local venues, so when everything re-opens and people feel it is safe enough for them to go out, it will massively help musicians and venues if people can show their support. In the meantime though, if you would like to support musicians, watching their videos, streaming their songs and even just liking their social media posts really helps.
You have been hosting live streams of your shows on Facebook — how has this experience been for you? Do you miss performing to an audience?
These Facebook lives have been great at keeping connected with venue managers and followers. Lockdown can be pretty lonely so it’s really nice to have a sing-song and try to cheer everyone up. It’s been good fun!
How would you encourage others to start singing, play an instrument or simply be creative during the lockdown?
Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill. I doubt and hope that in our lifetimes we will never experience anything like this again, so with the time that we now have, it’s definitely worth doing something cool with it. When I sing or play guitar, hours can pass without me noticing, so even if you want to waste a few hours to make lockdown finish earlier, music is a great way of doing that.