“It’s Not RnB, it’s Sassy Music” - the Hannah Rae Beale Story
“First off, Arlo is a complete bae, I wouldn’t put him in the same ‘genre’ as Nick from ‘New Girl.’”
Michigan-raised, Nashville-based Singer Songwriter Hannah Rae Beale is quick to come to the defense of her musical collaborator. I shared with her my first response to seeing Arlo in their music video, “Love So Wild,” which was “wow, Nick from ‘New Girl’ bleached his hair.’
I definitely wasn’t wondering where Zooey Deschanel was, though, because Hannah and Arlo have terrific chemistry on the microphone and the iPhone screen. The duo sings the part of a couple who are struggling through the ups and downs of a tumultuous relationship. Their feelings are punctuated by quick tambourine hits and percussive claps that chop your ears in between atmospheric synthesizers and wispy layered vocals.
It is a song ready for the radio, a song that was actually created the first time the two met in person. “I saw Arlo through Instagram and reached out to him, we met the first time and out came our latest single in just a few hours!”
“It was ‘love so wild,’” quipped Hannah, when referencing the instant connection the two possessed musically, “I didn’t necessarily ‘choose’ Arlo for ‘Love So Wild,’ but rather we chose each other!’”
They weave such a compelling narrative together in the song that I had to ask her if she had experienced a love so incredible yet so frustrating. “Yes I have, but I didn’t really understand what it was until it was dead and gone.”
“The problem with these types of relationships is that you can’t spot a smudge on your rose colored glasses until you actually take them off of your face,” she continued, as she describes her experiences in life you can tell that she isn’t the type of artist who sings songs written by others or writes stories based on other people’s life experiences.
“If you’re hearing it in my song - it happened,” Hannah confirmed, “Not a single part of it is fabricated for the ‘sparkle effect.’”
Her honesty goes one step further than many writers, even stating that “I often take direct lines from conversations I’ve had and incorporate them into what I’m writing, I want there to be no mistaking what or who it’s about when it’s heard.”
Such explicit honesty is one of the things about Hannah Rae Beale that really connects her to her fans, who have started calling themselves “Hans” or “Hanizers.” When reflecting on her fans, Hannah merely replies “I hope people who like my music just call themselves ‘awake.’”
Awake to what?
Well, awake to who they truly are as a person.
“People like to label me as a feminist because I like to raise awareness around the treatment of women, but in reality I’m just advocating that every single human follow their truths and speak them clearly to the universe, so they may receive whatever it is they are hoping to…if you spend your time lying to yourself and others, how will the universe ever know what to give you back?”
Or more simply put, “love yourself, honor yourself, and always speak your truths - but damn it if he pisses you off, toss him out because ain’t nobody got time for that.”
The above quote definitely channels the attitude behind her early 2018 single “Monster,” a cynical ode to ‘that ex’ that everyone has in their life. You know what I’m talking about. When it was released, Hannah told her fans to “tag your ex or better yet share it on their wall.”
Having already garnered half a million views on social media in a few months, “Monster” seems to be a smash hit, becoming the new anthem for you to sing while telling that no longer special scrub to “quit f****** with me cause I’m trying to get over you.”
Powerful words, but who hasn’t felt that while going through heartbreak?
Except for the expletives that would have to be bleeped, “Monster” is another solid Hannah Rae Beale track that is ready for radio, with lush layers of vocals and synthesizer once again being propelled by punchy percussion. The bluesy guitar gives the song a touch of grit, and the occasional marching drum roll thrown into the mix to add to the texture of the track.
Hannah’s songwriting style has been labeled many genres, most commonly RnB. But please don’t say the “g” word around her, “I hate when people comment on a specific genre as if it’s the only thing that defines a musician. People love to label things because they like to be able to anticipate, but if there is anything to be said about the arts, it’s that there are no rules!”
So what do we call Hannah’s brand of errr, vocals attached to musical notes combined to form a song?
“SASS” is the magic word, according to the artist.
“The word sass to me, means being unapologetically who you are, being frank and open about your feelings always - even when others don’t want to hear what you have to say.”
“Sassy” is a genre of music that can’t be tied down to a particular style or feeling. Sassy music is whatever mood the artist is in, it is whatever type of genre is needed to express your personal truth at that exact moment. It uses whatever instruments are required to capture your emotions properly, whether it be a live band or a synthesizer attached to a computer.
Or as Hannah breaks it down, “People listen to music for three reasons, they are in hate, in love or want to drink. I’m probably oversimplifying it, but you can attribute my ‘sassy’ songs to the mood that provoked me to write them. I write as an outlet, therefore my songs reflect that side of me.”
After recording two EPs, the “Dirt” and “Hold Tight” EPs, respectively, Hannah spent seven years learning the ins and outs of the music industry, wandering from Michigan to LA after she graduated, then eventually setting down in Nashville. “I did choose LA first, but I love them both in different ways. I definitely find it easier to write in Nashville because I’m not so worried about making rent,” Hannah chuckles.
She has performed in such illustrious venues as the House of Blues and the Viper Room in LA, and Nashville’s own Opry Mills, just to name a few places. She has shared the stage with many musicians, including prolific songwriter Mat Kearney. On the stage, in the recording booths, and during each business meeting, Hannah has amassed a hard-earned education, one of the most important tenets of her philosophy towards the business being “it’s really important to figure out who you want to work with and associate with your career.”
The difference between her early EPs and her current singles are night and day, and when asked she replied, “I always had this style in me, it just took me awhile to know my place in the production process…I’m finally in control of my sound and totally confident in dabbling in whatever I’m feeling at the moment.”
Another lesson, she added, was “not everyone will like every song you put out, but that can’t really affect you as an artist because each song means something to you and that’s good enough, right?”
Speaking of meaning, what do those three magic words, “live”, “laugh”, and “love” mean to our Singer Songwriter?
Live: Be completely and unapologetically you.
Laugh: My girls - god, I love them.
Love: Honest, open and patient. Unending. It has no alternative agenda.
So what is next for Hannah Rae Beale?
If you visit her webpage (www.hannahraebeale.com), you can see she a picture of Hannah and another artist, both looking away from each other, with the phrase “Life After Love” scrolling vertically between both of the artists.
“Life After Love” is an upcoming single, a brand new collaboration that “is so very personal to me,” says Hannah. It is a duet that will have a “pop/country” flavor to it, “I actually really dig the tone of it. I think it’s going to throw some people for a loop because I never like to give people exactly what they are expecting.”
Hannah will continue to go beyond the labels businessmen have given music to make sure they can market it properly to the various demographics who have been told to like each category. She hopes that her listeners continue to ignore the “g” word and that they “continue to be intrigued purely because they never know what I’m gonna try out next.”
She also hopes that music lovers everywhere stay tuned for another single called “Forget You” that she is really excited about because she gets to revisit her RnB/Pop/Electronic stylings.
In the meantime, readers can catch up on all things Hannah Ray Beale by checking out her aforementioned website (www.hannahraebeale.com) and following her on the one and only Facebook and Instagram.
One of her posts last week had me in stitches, stating “I slept with a bag of pretzels last night, how’s your life going?”
Don’t forget to check out her music videos for “Love So Wild” and “Monster” on YouTube, and those singles and more can be streamed on Spotify.
Social media, ain’t it GREAT?!
Written By Charles Bridgers IV for Live Laugh Love Nashville