Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Hannah Telle’s folky psych-rock enters gently into a new day with Waking Up To Tomorrow


By Kurt Beyers

Waking Up To Tomorrow, the 3rd LP from Hannah Telle, finds her embracing a spiritual folk expression as she delivers her songs with an unprecedented dose of mysticism and introspection. 

She sings of her catharsis and the pain she encountered along the way. She takes time to admire the beauty of her surroundings. “I’m really interested in making music that is therapeutic,” she said. “I make music first and foremost for myself, because it helps me handle my emotions and deal with events in my life that I don’t really know how to handle, whether they be really good, or really bad, or sad or whatever they might be.”

From “Kiss The Dew,” one of the album’s three singles:

Remedy self-righteousness and 

Ride into the dawn

Realize your hand is set to

Keep me as a pawn

The new album is the counterpoint to her previous project, Walking Away From The Dream. Both were produced by Riley Geare, a drummer known for his contributions to the music of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Caroline Rose.

While she contemplated letting go on Walking Away From The Dream, the new album brings forth a bright return, acknowledging the power and weight of music in her life. The writing and development of Waking Up To Tomorrow, along with her recent return to Los Angeles, has manifested a creative reawakening for Hannah whose expression fills this album.

The album is about hope, she said, about “realizing that old dreams that you thought were dead and gone actually have a chance to be revived.

“I was waking up to a new morning that was filled with endless possibilities. I had a profound and poignant new outlook on everything, and with that came new opportunities, and with those new opportunities came challenges,” she said.

Hannah grew up in the theater. Born and raised in North Carolina, she graduated high school from the North Carolina School of the Arts with a concentration in drama. She voiced the main character for the BAFTA-award winning video game series “Life Is Strange” and has had roles in television and movies.

She is bipolar, complicated by OCD and ADHD, “and I’ve constantly, ever since I was a child, been dealing with the ups and down of psychiatric medication and how difficult it is to live your life with that, not only to deal with the emotional repercussions, but also to deal with the physical repercussions, because these drugs are incredibly hard on your body.”

That, and the loss of people close to her, she said, has shaped her perspectives on life and on her writing.

“I just want to show as much love to everyone that I can, and that’s the overall arc of the record.”

Writing songs is her way of dealing with her own pain, a way of letting go of feelings and then moving on to new feelings and writing new songs.

“It’s something that I do to help myself deal, and I try to make the sounds as calming and helpful as possible to other people,” she said.

Her musical influences range from Jackson Browne, Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac and Laurel Canyon folk-rock of the ’60s and ’70s, to modern songwriters like Aimee Mann, Elliot Smith and Adam Granduciel of The War On Drugs. “Basically any music that gives you a feeling of intoxication,” she says.

Coming from her foundations in the theater, she got into making music by chance, learning to play guitar for a film role in 2012. She began writing songs and playing them in small venues in and around Los Angeles.

“I didn’t record anything because I couldn’t play to a click track, and I was really intimidated about recording. I just liked to play live. It was something I was doing that felt good.”

She started hanging out with students from USC and the California Institute of the Arts at a jazz bar called 1642 in Echo Park.

“…I met all these kids, all these amazing musicians that went to CalArts and USC, and they started teaching me music and becoming my mentors. One of them, Ben Schwab, ended up producing my record after teaching me guitar and how to arrange songs.”

Together with Ben, she wrote and recorded her first LP, Hollow Glow, in 2016.

Hannah has a fourth album in process, which she plans to release next summer. She’s working with producer Michael Rault, the Daptone-signed artist and touring guitarist with W.I.T.C.H and Pearl Charles. 

Hannah believes that the music like that of the ’60s and ’70s, “the golden era for me,” is coming back.

“It’s just really awesome to see how that classic rock sound has been remodeled and revamped with modern technology to become things like Tame Impala or Animal Collective, Altin Gun, or my personal favorite, Kikagaku Moyo. I want to work with more world-influenced sounds and really expand.”

Hang out with Hannah Telle on all platforms for new music, videos, and social posts.

Instagram: @hannahtelle

Twitter: @HannahTelle

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