British Asian music artist Hana Irene merges Bollywood and TikTok favorites to create Lockdown EP
For many of us, the lockdown related to COVID-19 has proven to be a surprisingly productive and inspiring time. That was certainly the case for Hana Irene, 22, a London-based music artist of Kashmiri origin, who could probably show us how she used her time – to finally sit down, plan and create her own music.
Like everyone else, the arrival of the pandemic was a huge shock to the system, but it also provided a new opportunity to experiment with new sounds and genres. Writing an EP from her bedroom using an iPad and microphone, Hana has done it all – independently producing, writing and self-financing her own music.
Merging storytelling is ‘part of her DNA’ and Hana cites how her mixed heritage and upbringing made her understand how cultures can blend together and that universal themes like love, sadness, longing, longing and hope are expressed in both to tell a story. Bollywood’s continuing influence has also shaped his creative output. She tells me:
When I was little my grandmother used to have on all the classic Indian movies like “Hero” and “Laila Majnu” which were all dramatic love stories which also placed great importance on the music and dance to move the story forward and highlight the character’s love, pain or anger.
The track “A False Story of Love”, from her debut EP “for the night drive”, which was essentially a club style song, with sitar sounds included, which pays homage to the influence of Indian cinema and s’ inspired by a particular icon. singer:
One artist I couldn’t get out of my head was Lata Mangeshkar – I just fell in love with her voice. When I was a little older, my mother showed me the 1960 film “Mughal-E-Azam”, which features a song called “Mohabbat Ki Jhooti Kahani Pe Roy” which explores the idea of a false story of love.
Beyond the inspirations of childhood transmitted by her Nani, Hana’s western musical cues are taken from summer lockdown evenings while listening to The Beatles, Lana Del Ray, and Hozier. The EP strives to capture the vibe of summer romance among flowers, accompanied by vintage portable radios on picnic blankets.
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Yet his music also pays homage to the most addictive habits that have emerged in Lock life; referencing her musical artists Benee, girl in red and Surf Mesa, all of which have grown in popularity via the TikTok social media app:
Without the lockdown, I wouldn’t have downloaded TikTok or had all this time to get inspired and want to try something new musically.
Social media is of course becoming an increasingly important aspect of our lives, especially for a freelance artist who relies on sharing her work. Hana says she’s lucky to have followers who support her tremendously, who support her and her music, as does the music community on Twitter:
The pandemic helped in a strange way – more and more people were online every day and had time to listen to things.
Making music in her bedroom, on her iPad, Hana explains that she creates the music and the base before writing the lyrics; try out drum kits, guitar, and a range of new sounds to capture the indie vibe of his work:
Once the music was done, I then sorted out the timing and the songwriting came naturally. It might take me an hour or two to write the song.
Hana grew up writing poetry, so flow and rhyme seem second nature to her. She sends her final project to a musician friend for the final finishes (all currently conducted virtually). Constantly experimenting with sound and genre, his musical mood changes depending on the season and the weather.
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Prior to “Days In The Sun” in December 2019, Hana released “for the night drive” alongside two singles (all available on Spotify). This earlier music was inspired by artists like The Weeknd and Alina Baraz, adopting a more alternative R&B soundscape that is more melancholy to suit winter days, versus the upbeat, lighter tones of its locking tunes. summer. Hana still has great aspirations for her music:
I would like my music to be on a Spotify Editorial Playlist or on the BBC [Music] Present because I want to expand my audience and connect with people. I’m also looking to do some collaborations with other artists around me (many come from my time at university or friends of friends who are on the same path as me in this regard). Ultimately, I wish I could make a living making music and performing live one day – just to become more confident with that – and understand how that side of things works logistically.
After graduating, Hana started working for an investment management firm, combining her business acumen and creativity with marketing and SEO. But she also enjoys blogging and writing about music on her website (when she’s not exploring London or watching Netflix) and dreams of writing a novel or screenplay someday.
Hana feels lucky to have been supported and encouraged by her family to follow a creative path and wants other brunette girls to experience the same:
My mom is probably my biggest fan (what a cliché!). She would always tell me to follow my dreams and carry on no matter what and take us to see concerts live and show us classic movies and cult movies, so that we are constantly growing inspired by new forms of creativity; whether with art, music, cinema or theater.
My family is also incredibly supportive. My grandparents ask for my music to be played to them on the speakers and my cousins always share my music on their social media and get their friends involved as well which is wonderful. Overall this has been very positive and I am very grateful to all of my friends and family who have kind words to say about my projects.
Hana understands that not all South Asian homes are as united as hers and is open to other artists looking to discuss and support (the DM on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook):
I can only imagine how many potential talents there are and yet we are never allowed to witness it. My own house was unconventional for a brunette girl, I guess. My sister and I grew up in a single parent family, so there was also a massive emphasis on feminine energy and independence as a woman, which I think shaped me as a person considerably.
For now, Hana is working on a full album, which she hopes to release next year, with a new song coming out very soon. Her advice for other brunette girls who want to go creative is fearlessness, learning from your mistakes, networking, and being smart with your money.
Not everyone will support you, like your job, or help you, but there will also be people who will like it and give you the best feedback, which will encourage you to keep going.