Sussex: Singer/songwriter Hannah White finally captures the sound she wants

Singer/songwriter Hannah White says she’s finally captured the sound she wants on her new album About Time which came out on May 22.

Hannah White
Hannah White

She is touring to mark its release including a date at Elderflower Fields on May 28, as part of a wild weekend family festival, packed full of music, sports, nature and the arts, all set in the heart of the beautiful Sussex countryside (May 27-30, Pippingford Park Manor, Nutley, Uckfield).

For Hannah it is album number four. The first one came out in 2016, the next in 2018 and the third in 2020: “I seem to be doing them every two years!” But what a horrendous past two years these have been, says Hannah: “We were just about to go out on tour across the UK and also Norway and another tour for the autumn. There were three tours that didn't happen. Norway went first and then the UK was pulled and then as things went on, it was clear the autumn UK tour wasn't happening either. It was really sad. The previous album had been with a Norwegian band and prior to the pandemic I had been travelling a lot in Europe. It was all really easy and brilliant and exciting and then obviously we couldn't do it anymore.”

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And no, she didn't start seeing it as a chance to take stock: “It was just grim. The financial impact was horrendous. It was how I was paying rent for the foreseeable future and that was really distressing but there was also the emotional impact. I really did have a depression. I am somebody that is writing almost daily. I'm always creating and I just couldn't do it. For me music isn't just about making a sound. It is about making a human connection, about sharing something. It has got to be reciprocal otherwise it is just meaningless. I did end up releasing couple of songs towards the end of last year and it was brilliant to be working with musicians again. We couldn't work together in the same room but we did find a way through technology. Obviously it definitely wasn't the same but we did manage to keep going. I wrote a few songs towards the end of last year and my juices just started flowing again.

“On the new album there are ten songs, most of them songs I have written in the last 18 months or maybe two years... it is difficult to remember. My songs are always really personal. I sing about my own experience. The things I share in my music are deeply personal. But this one is different. With the other three albums I had been working with producers at the time and this is the first album which I have done self-produced. I was really anxious but I was determined to do it. I had in my head the sound that I wanted to create but I have never caught it in my past albums and I find them a bit difficult to listen to because they're not really the sound that I wanted, but with this one I've been putting together and creating the sounds that I want to hear. I feel satisfied that this is me at last. We play live and people will love that and then they pick up a CD and then they would think it was just not quite the same as what they heard live. I am a songwriter and I really want to create my sound and my moment that will connect with someone and I think that's what we have done with this.”