By Aaron Wagner
The first time I heard “Pretty Girl” from Hannah May I thought “Damn, this is catchy.” And then I listened to it a second time. And a third. And again and again. It’s so catchy that it’s bound to be one of the songs that you want to listen to over and over again.
While the song is catchy and Hannah is flawless with her vocals, it’s the meaning of the song that truly stands out. Being able to combine an important message with a cool production, while singing with the emotion and vulnerable feelings behind it can be hard to do. But Hannah May did it on “Pretty Girl.”
We caught up with her to chat about the making of her latest release.
What was the inspiration behind writing the song?
“I definitely faced insecurities about the way I looked growing up in music and felt as though I had to look a certain way to make it, which is what drew the inspiration for the song. I really wanted to express the way I felt about this because it isn’t talked about enough and I know I’m not the only one who experiences this. A lot of judgement in the world comes from face value and many people are overlooked or undervalued because of their appearance.”
“The song is my experience with not being the ‘Pretty Girl’ but what I’m really wanting to say is that our talents, abilities and the way we treat people are far more important than the way we look.”
Was it a quick write or were there a few rounds of changes and updates made?
“I had actually had a small part of the song for a couple years but hadn’t worked out what to do with it until more recently. It was definitely one that took a bit longer to fine tune and I changed the lyrics a lot over the course of writing it. I think I just wanted to get it right because the message meant so much to me.”
The song is so infectious when it comes to the production. What was the experience like working with Matt Fell and Matt Bartlem to produce the song?
“Thanks! We actually had to do this part virtually due to COVID- 19 which was slightly more challenging not being in the studio but the producer Matt Fell was really talented and knew exactly what I wanted despite the distance between us. I sent a demo with just guitar and vocals and he managed to build an amazing track around it. I recorded the vocals with Matt Bartlem (in the Gold Coast) and he was great to work with!”
What was your reaction to the first time you heard the finished song?
“Matt and I kept in contact throughout the production process so that we were both clear with where the track was going but when I received the final mix, I was so happy and had goosebumps listening to it. Nothing beats hearing your song come to life through production!”
In the press release, you included the following line: “I am acknowledging that I am a musician. Not a model. Not an influencer or a dancer or a comedian. I am a musician and that is enough” What has that realization meant to you and how has it affected you as an artist?
“For such a long time I focussed so much on how I looked and wasted many years worrying about my image because I thought that was an important part in becoming a successful artist. I personally experienced some toxic situations in my career that had me constantly concerned and focussed on the way I looked but the most important thing I realized is to be genuine and be yourself because that shines through at the end of the day and that is what people can relate to.”
Anything else you want listeners and fans to know about the song?
Don’t forget to see people for who they really are and see yourself for who you really are. Being genuine and on and off screen in this world is a rare and powerful thing.