Interview with Eliza Hanson!

A wise woman once said, who I met virtually, “… your early 20’s is like a secret second puberty that no one prepared you for.” This statement packs a wallop that would send the most confident twentysomething to their knees. These words were uttered (gracefully typed) by Eliza Hanson, an up and coming musician and realist from Milwaukee. Hanson’s EP, “Any Day Now,” delivers an existential tale of human emotions and dilemmas we all experience, but very few of us face head on. We all suffer through isolation, doubt, and even loathing of ourselves. We must ask: can I uncover a blue sky in the storm of my troubles? Can happiness exist without sadness? Am I my own worst enemy? Eliza Hanson does not shy away these inquires of self-reflection.

 

  1. How long have you been songwriting and what made you start?

Answer: I started song writing at around 17. Before I picked up a guitar I dedicated most of my free time to Speed Skating. I skated competitively for years, but I eventually got to the level where I had to choose between planning for college or bypassing the college route and committing my life to skating at an Olympic Level. Obviously you can tell which path my 16-year-old self chose, but after quitting I realized I needed an outlet to fill the space that skating left. I ended up getting really into the guitar and songwriting kind of just came from that. I felt like I finally had a tool that allowed me to express what I couldn’t in plain words. It was kind of a purge to write songs, and it still is.

  1. On your Facebook page, you describe yourself as a folk musician who “makes tunes for sad song lovers.” Why did you choose to describe yourself that way?

Answer: Now a day it seems everyone is striving to make music you can just bop your head to, with a beer in hand, surrounded by friends, when life is good. But I’ll always be a lover of all things sad and with how saturated the Internet is today I want the people who are up alone at 2am, with a glass of whiskey to hopefully take a listen. I think it’s the heart wrenching, despondent moments that make you realize when your life is going well. So I guess I choose to describe myself that way because I believe in sad songs and what they can do for people.

  1. You seem to have a lot of pride for your hometown. How has the Milwaukee music scene shaped you as an artist?

Answer: Well I am kind of new to the scene, or at least it feels like it. It’s kind of overwhelming trying to crack into that headlining “Milwaukee Music” circle. But I am chipping away! I love Milwaukee and I think the city has a lot of outlets for independent artists to be heard, as well as a lot of people who appreciate local music and will support local artists.

  1. You just released your EP, “Any Day Now” which consists of six very powerful and emotional songs. Themes in the album are reflections of painful memories, inner desires, and waiting for the future. These themes appear to tell of a larger story of being in a state of limbo. How does your work reflect you as a person and artist?

Answer: Well ‘Any Day Now’ was a wake up call to myself. I have an awful tendency to put things into the “someday” category without actually following through with the work to make “someday” happen. I think this leads to the themes that you mentioned. When you’re in between chapters of your life the past seems to have that warm golden glow and the future seems ominous. This whole album is kind of going between the two.

 

  1. It’s always difficult to start out as a musician, writer, or any other type of creative profession. Yet, you managed to successfully release your first EP and be featured on radio stations, such as 91.7 The Edge. Can you tell me about any road blocks you have experienced and how you overcame them?

Answer: I’m very blessed that I haven’t had to suffer through any major roadblocks yet. Beginners luck maybe? The biggest barrier I face most of the time is myself and self generated negativity. But I’m starting to believe if you work hard and put that out into the universe, that energy will come back to you.

 

  1. You are only 22 years old and you are already gaining a local following. Many twenty-somethings, and even thirty-somethings, experience a type of quarter-life crisis. How do you think your album relates to the struggles young people go through?

Answer: You always hear older people reminiscing about how these years were the best years of their life and I think that haunts a lot of young people because they don’t feel they relate. I think especially now we are experiencing something completely different than the generations preceding us with this boom in social media. When you can pull a device from your pocket and within 10 minutes find a 100 peoples “high light reels” that definitely is anxiety inducing. There wasn’t this constant comparing to strangers.
I just think being in your early 20’s is like a secret second puberty that no one prepared you for.

  1. “Pawn Song” instantly caught my attention; can you offer some background to what went into writing it?

Answer: I’m so glad you liked it! That song took the longest to write on the album, around 2 years. It’s about being in a toxic relationship that you know is unhealthy for you but for some reason you just can’t pull yourself away from it. A lot of self-doubt comes from that, feeling powerless and hating yourself for being so weak. But it’s also about realizing that person has too much control over you and finding the strength to take it back.

  1. You released “Caged Bird” as a single on iTunes before releasing the EP. Would you say this song resonates with you the most?

Answer: I thought it captured the mood of the album the best. It’s the most authentic to how I felt about life when the majority of the album was written, and I wanted people that are going through the same feelings to hear it and feel less alone.

  1. “Tonawanda” is the last track and the most upbeat on “Any Day Now.” Did you intend for this song to act as the silver lining of the EP?

Answer: I did! The song is about my Elementary School and the love I had for that time in my life. It’s also one of the first songs I ever wrote so it was special to be able to feature it on my first record.

  1. I love the album cover! Why did you choose a drawing of a cabin in the woods at night? What is the significance?

Answer: Thank you! My good friend Logan Peters created the artwork and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out! The cabin is based off of my grandma’s cabin in Three Lakes, Wisconsin. My family has gone up there every summer since I can remember. Again, bringing back that theme of innocence and the glow of being a kid and the nostalgia for that time.

  1. Is there anything else you think your listeners should know about you? Or, do you have a parting message?

Answer: Thank you for all the support and love! If I can make an impact on even just one person then it makes this all worth it.

 

  • Jon B