UK-based up-and-comer HANA2K is a force to be reckoned with at just nineteen years old; her passion for music lead her to write, sing and produce her own, picking up holistic tips and influences along the way towards developing her own unique style. She began playing the piano at age four and her voice as an artist emerged from there, learning melodic language as a natural tool for true self-expression. Now, as a full-blown, badass recording artist, her repertoire is a solid collection of seemingly effortless pop tunes that capture HANA’s passion for performance, insistent individuality and creativity in all forms. Her most recent release, “Daydreaming” is a testament to her dead-good instincts for songwriting, capturing the relatable concept of productive vs. unproductive daydreaming.

We had the chance to speak with HANA2K about the benefits of playing the piano for songwriting, the self-directed music video for “Daydreaming” and what’s next in her career.

Hi Hana! How did you first get into music?

I’m not sure how. There is always music in every aspect of my life: listening, performing, discussing and debating it, then I just write songs. Maybe by listening to music for twelve hours every day you kind of pick it up, or maybe it’s just an urge that you get, like wanting to run or dance… I’ve never thought about it like this before.

What was the process like for you, developing yourself as an artist?

Developing myself as an artist is constant. It’s a journey and a lot of the time you end up down the wrong road, but you need to go there to know it’s not the right road for you. I’ve had time to experiment and try stuff out, and that’s really important to me, especially when there’s pressure on you to create and release music. There’s still a lot of pressure to get millions of streams, but if you start creating music for the purpose of getting streams it kills the creativity right there and then!

What drew you towards learning the piano?

I’ve been playing the piano since I was four years old so I don’t really know any different, but I think I started to really enjoy playing the piano around the age of twelve when I discovered the idea of recreating covers with different chords structures, and then taking those chords and changing them to evolved into new ideas. Gradually the piano became my go-to for writing songs.

Do you think learning that skill has helped you in your career?

Yes for sure. Playing the piano and guitar are skills that are almost a must for any songwriter; it’s like a language, by learning it you can use it to communicate ideas.

Who are some musical influences from early on?

I suppose I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to music and who created it. I get obsessed with  production credits, so writing-wise, it’s gotta be Max Martin. Performance-wise I’m heavily influenced by female artists from the 2000s such as Britney, Christina and Gwen Stefani! It feels like a golden era to me of female-driven pop!

You are self-produced, right? Awesome, cuz we need more female producers! How did that start and what does the process look like for you?

I kind of learned production as I went along. When you do a studio session, there is a lot of time hanging around in between writing and recording vocals, where you’re just there watching the engineer do his thing. You pick up a lot. I once watched this producer create a whole drum beat out of a bunch of live samples – it took him hours… I think he could have just used a drum machine!

Learning to produce and record music is more of a necessity than anything, as you just have to catalogue your songs and ideas. It’s easier this way, and also if you want to share an idea with someone it’s easier than making strange noises and describing what you have in mind.

Your latest single is called “Daydreaming”. Can you explain the story behind it?

It’s about liking someone so much that you think about them all day. You never make a move, you just dream about the perfect date, because you know the dream is so perfect, why would you want to spoil it! I waste so much time imaging situations, this song is about what goes on inside my head a lot of the time.

What about the music video? What were your inspirations to accompany the song?

For me, music videos are so important as it allows people to understand your concept visually – it’s what’s inside my head when I write the song, so being able to create the video and self-direct it is amazing. In the video I’m stuck in the same loop with the same boy until I make the first move and break the cycle. I always make moodboards from photos I find and then I create the narrative. Working this way is really fulfilling and fun!

What inspires you as a creative person?

Inspiration comes from a situation that I’m in. It’s the catalyst for my ideas. I like working with other artists, going to different cities, it’s so cool to be exposed to lots of stuff, but then travel home on the bus or train for hours and digest what you’ve heard and seen. Then the next day it kind of comes back out, reconfigured, but fresh, and it seems to all make sense, I feel calm and happy at this point and most of the time there’s a song also as an outcome to the process!

Any advice for fellow creatives or just women in general?

I’m not sure if I’m experienced enough to give advice, but just to be as authentic as you can and understand that you can never stop developing your craft. It’s a journey for sure, and I don’t think there is an end destination, so I try hard to enjoy the process as much as I can.

Finally, what’s next for you?

I just performed at BBC Introducing Live, and next week I’m doing a live session on BBC Radio Wales, then I play Off The Record Festival in Manchester. Early in the new year I release another single, with a mixtape to follow of all the songs with the addition of a few live songs, some new versions of current songs, experimental music ideas and some videos.

Thanks, Hana!