Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Born With It


    My musical journey began on January 26th, 1993; the day that I took my very first breath. I was born into this world with a burning love for music. My first tape was Shania Twain and my first two CD's were Martina McBride followed by The Dixie Chicks. With other influences behind me like the Led Zeplin album my Father always cranked in the car as well as other greats such as The Steve Miller Band and The Doors, my love for music continued to grow deeper roots as I got older. 

    When I was 7 years old, I decided to let my family in on my secret. I told them "I have a concert for you!" I called them all in to the living room, sat them down, and proceeded to sing 5 songs by artists such as, Celine Dion, Martina McBride, Margaret Becker and The Dixie Chicks. Looking back on that day now, I must have sold them that night because my parents and family have been nothing but unconditionally supportive in my career ever since I professed my love of music to them. What I didn’t know then was that there was a long line of music on my Dads side of the family, the King Sisters were cousins of my Grandfather.  Music was in fact, in my blood.

    I grew up in a little town north of Seattle called Stanwood. With two amazing parents and one older brother, I had an exceptionally wonderful childhood. Music weaved in and out of other things that I loved when I was young such as sports, art, and teasing the neighbor boys; whether that was by singing really loud to annoy them or making up songs about them that they hated. I wrote my very first full song in 2001. I was just 7 years old and it was right after 9-11 had taken place. It was titled "Just a Little Girl." The song was about how hard it was being a little girl and seeing so many sad things happening in the world. It still touches me when I listen to it now 13 years later.

    Soon after I started writing, I picked up playing the guitar. I have always loved being on stage and singing to the audience. Since I first stepped on stage at the small age of 5, I have always loved the audience. I've always loved to see them smiling, having fun, and enjoying what I was sharing with them. The best way I can explain it is this; It's like when you bake a cake for someone. You have to put so much into it. You find the recipe, go to the grocery store, purchase the items, put time into perfecting the cake batter and measuring the ingredients just right, bake it for the precise amount of time, flip it out of the pan without breaking it, make the frosting, frost it, and then deliver it to the special recipient-And that is the best part- seeing the cake recipient take a bite of that cake. It's their reaction that is priceless; it makes you feel like all the time and energy you put into the cake was more than worth it-that you just made some ones day brighter. This is the feeling I get when I step on stage and deliver my songs to the audience; like I am giving them a piece of hand-made cake, personally from me and it is an overwhelming happy sensation to see their reaction when I deliver.

    I have grown up with a great family and have been blessed tremendously. A lot of people look at me and think "she has the perfect life".  And I really am truly thankful for how much God has put into my life. But, however, it has not always been as easy as it may seem. I can courageously say that I have never taken a drink of alcohol or done a drug. When I chose music, I knew that it wouldn't be worth it to make those kinds of decisions because I loved music so much (and was very lucky to have found such a passion at a young age!). It has been a tough choice to not choose peer pressure, as silly as that may sound. But, I have seen the devastation that can come alongside drugs and alcohol. My best friend from middle school is a recovering addict, my 23 year old cousin and her baby were killed by a drunk driver, as well as my brothers best friend. I could go on and on with the devastation that I have seen and how it has affected me. It takes a lot of determination and hard work to stay away from things that might seem like a good time at the moment. 

    My point in sharing these thoughts with you is this; just because you don't live a hard life, doesn't mean your life can't still be hard. I write in my songs what I have been through, and let me say it has been a lot. I want to make a difference in peoples lives through my music. I want to make your day, I want to give you your moneys worth out of the ticket you purchase when you come to my show. I want to give you great songs with great music behind them. I want to give my audience and fans music that will reach into their soul and make their heart soar, whether in love, in sadness, or in happiness. I want to pull out the emotions inside of us with the lyric and melody.

Love, Hannah 

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Special Story

    I met Tim Johnson in the Summer of 2008 in Dubios, Wyoming; I was 15 years old. I had been contacted via MySpace about a songwriters retreat called "Horse and Writer". The retreat included a seven day stay at the beautiful Lazy L&B Ranch in a quaint little cabin, spending the mornings working with Number One Hit songwriters, and spending the afternoons riding horses. Since I was a minor at the time my wonderful Mother attended with me. We decided to make a road trip of it. 

    On the road trip I had packed a box full of CD's; maybe 50 or so. And over the duration of our trip, I played through everyone trying to find my number one favorite song (ever!) to share with my mom. After a few days in the car, we arrived in Wyoming and I never did find that song to show her. 

    I was a young songwriter at this point in my life and out of the handful of Hit songwriters that were leading this retreat I didn't really know anything they had written. About the second night there the Hit Songwriters did a writers round and each played one of their hits. When it was Tim Johnson's turn to play he picked up his guitar and started the intro to his song. When Tim started the first verse, tears immediately started welling up in my eyes. The lyrics sung, "She came home, 6 am." As soon as he started singing I realized that was the song I had been searching for for over two days to show my Mom. Tim Johnson was the songwriter of "I Let Her Lie." My favorite song of all time and I had no idea.

    Later on in the week, Tim asked me to play a song for him. I boldly decided to do my Dolly Parton cover of Jolene. He listened to it, was very nice, and then told me I sucked at the end. Little did I know at the time that this was what Tim considered constructive criticism! I felt a little defeated but Tim said it so nicely, as nicely as some one could say "you suck." He also said my song writing was "ok".

    By then end of the week I had made so many new friends and learned so much about songwriting and also riding horses. (Which that had been my first time.) At the beginning of the trip we all received little SEASAC notebooks. Before I left, Tim had snatched mine up and left a little note saying to keep in touch. 

    A month later I made my first trip to Nashville and of course called up Tim. Him, my Mom, and I met for lunch at Sushi-Yobi. I'm not sure exactly what happened that day at lunch, I am not sure what I did, I am not sure why it happened, and I don't think I ever will. However, by the end of our lunch meeting with Tim Johnson we had agreed to cut a record together. Six months later my album "Life's a Drama" was born.

    This very first song Tim and I cut was his song "Life's a Drama." The first day in the studio we were all shocked. Tim had originally said that I "sucked" but by the time we had finished cutting the song it was brilliant. The way Tim was able to give me perfect direction with my vocals, and the way we could work together in such harmony, (except when he said "stop using your Holiday Inn voice!!), it was like magic. 

    My twentieth birthday is in a week (Tim's is actually three days after; the Aquarius thing worked out!). Tim was in my life for almost five years. In a sense, I grew up with Tim in my life; the ages between 15 and 20 are crucial years. They were the perfect years for him to be there. Not only did he help shape me as an artist, fine tune my craft of songwriting, and teach me how to be smart in the music industry (and much much more), Tim taught me so much about life. He gave me advice about relationships, (made fun of my boyfriends who I ended up dumping- Tim you were always right!) about how important family is, and how to take time to enjoy this world amongst the busy lifestyle of this industry (or any industry for that matter).

    When Tim was diagnosed with cancer, I never had a doubt in my mind that he wouldn't make it through. In my mind we would always be creating music together, team Tim and Hannah-always. (Or as we called each other by our nick names, team T-Dawg and Monkey.) I never thought any differently and I don't think he did either.

    Tim passed away from cancer this past October. During the summer we were able to cut 6 songs for the new record. I am so proud of these songs and so was he. And I know he still is as he is looking down on me from heaven. I was right when I told myself that we will always be making music together because he will always be here with me, it just wasn't exactly the way I wanted.

    I miss Tim everyday I breathe, every note I sing, every lyric I write, every strum on my guitar I miss him. I always will. Never to be replaced. I truly believe Tim was such a huge part of who I am today, not only as an artist but as a person also. The memories that we share go on and on and I could tell stories of our adventure for hours. I could tell you about how much we both loved food, our scary subway moments in New York, when we went on a run in LA and he almost passed out from trying to beat me. The smiles and laughs we shared are countless.

    I am writing this because I wanted to share a little bit about Tim and I's story and also express how much this new music means to me. It would be correct to say that theses 6 songs are the last that Tim and I will ever get to create together but I know that that is not true.

    I love you Tim; always and forever will your spirit weave through the soul of my music. 

Love, Hannah

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Good Morning to my Fans

Good morning my dear Fans! 

I woke up this morning with an inspiration to write to all of you and give you an update. I also wanted to write to you and tell you how thankful I am for all of the support you have given to me and my music. This journey is not an easy one, it is a tough road that requires a lot of hard work and tough skin, but with such amazing people behind me, it has made it all worth it. I am not only talking about the amazing team I have behind me, but you, my amazing Fans. Your encouragement, your support, your excitement, your love of music, overwhelmingly touches my life and my career. I also want to make a point to say a special thank you to those who sent in photos for my video "Christmas with Jesus." Your touching photos and comments really consumed my heart with love and my eyes with tears. I was so honored to be able to use all of the photos that were so personal and special to you. I was joyed to be able to remember loved ones that were lost- to keep them alive in a way through music. The last photo on the video was my cousin and I. Her and her unborn baby passed away a few years back after being hit by a drunk driver. It was devastating and tragic- she was my biggest fan and she lives on in my life through my music. 
*Please don't drink and drive.*

 I cannot thank you enough for the support and encouragement that you have all given to me! Thank you, and thank you again and again! (: 

I have been working on some really exciting and cool projects since the new year has started! Most of which I am not able to announce yet, but the time will come! I have some awesome shows and opportunities that I am ecstatic to share with you all over the up coming weeks and months! I have a photo shoot this Thursday with the lovely Eleanor Petry and will post some behind the scenes photos if I can. (; It is also my birthday on Thursday and I am very excited to get to celebrate it with my family! ( and my dogs of course, because you all know how much I just adore them! (: ) I will be heading to Nashville again soon to write and record and also will be doing some traveling to other states (I can't spill which ones yet) over the next few months. I have been writing a lot of songs lately here at home. I posted a piece of one online awhile back and it was super fun and cool getting everyones feed back! I can't wait to share all of my new songs with you. I am including a lot of them into my live shows. My band is doing absolutely terrific! They are like my second family. They sound phenomenal! I am so thankful for each of them and the fantastic talent that they have. I am blessed! Thank you for all of the support that you have given them also, I couldn't make the music possible with out them. 

I am very excited to share more updates with you soon! So stay tuned (: 

-Hannah Michelle 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Tortellini Soup

 Tortellini Soup

It has been another snowy day stuck at home. It was nearing dinner time when the question started to rise, "Hannah, what is for dinner???" So into the refrigerator I went, and there I found some very useful ingredients to make a pot of soup on this cold winter day!

1 package of Olivieri Rainbow Tortellini
3 celery stalks chopped
1 white onion sliced
1 large carrot chopped
36 oz canned chopped tomatoes
36 oz of water (I just use the tomato jar/cans as my measuring cup)
1 can chicken stock
1 can tomato paste
4 large cloves of garlic
1 heaping spoonful of dried basil
3 dashes of salt
5 cranks (grinds) of pepper
1 heaping spoonful of dried oregano 
4 dashes of garlic powder
4 tbs parsly 

1. Put all of the ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil (stirring occasionally.) 
2. When it comes to a boil, turn to low and put a lid on it.
3. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, or the longest amount of time that your stomach will allow you to wait.
4. Serve and enjoy!
For a bit of extra goodness, I sprinkle mine with parmesan cheese!

X0X0 Hannah Michelle 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hannah Michelles' Dump Chili

Dump Chili

I thought it was appropriate to name my chili "Dump Chili" because, well, I really just dump a bunch of yummy ingredients into a big pot! (:

1 tbs. olive oil 
1 package of ground turkey meat (or beef)
1 large yellow onion- chopped
4 cloves of garlic- minced
36 oz. canned chopped tomatoes 
1 1/2 heaping spoonfuls of chili powder
1 spoonful unsweetened cocoa powder (for color, I promise it won't taste like chocolate!)
A few dashes of Cumin 
1 small can green chilies 
1 medium jar of your favorite salsa ( I would not suggest using any kind of salsa with fruit such as pineapple or mango.)
2 cans of black beans (or any beans of your choice)

1. Heat your large pot to medium high and add olive oil. Then add chopped onion, minced garlic and your ground meat. Cook until the meat is done. 
2. Start dumping! Combine all of the ingredients that are left on the list, adjusting the dry ingredients to taste. Stick a lid on it and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every once in awhile.
4. Serve! I like to sprinkle cheese on top of mine. 

Hope you all enjoy this recipe! (: 
Let me know what you think by commenting below! 

X0X0- Hannah Michelle 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Being Cheap for the Holidays

Every year the holiday season seems to fly by, and come January, I always find myself wishing I would have had more time to enjoy the transition of fall into winter. This year, I knew I had to make a change; I didn't want history to repeat it's self and leave me feeling like I had bad holiday mojo. 

As I thought of different ways to soak up the holiday spirit, one thing came to mind that I instantly thought should do the trick! I thought, "hmm where is the place that I spend most of my time?" Thats easy-my room! I relax, read, listen to music, write, play guitar and just take time to chill out in my room every day and have some me time. So maybe if I decorated my own personal space for the seasons this year, that I would absorb all of the features of the holidays. So off I went to decorate.

You may be thinking, it costs money to decorate! And I actually thought the same thing before I went. This is where I fell in love with The Dollar Store. As you can see in the picture above, on my little shelf above my dresser, there is two glass candy jars. Those were both only a dollar! I got into my art box and pulled out some brown ribbon and tied a bow around each one and then found some little sparkly pumpkins and acorns to fill them with. 

If you look at the top left of the photo, you see my square shelf with two tall glass candle holders. Also only one dollar a piece! Then I just grabbed a little more ribbon and tied a bow around those too. After, I went downstairs and found some little candles that fit perfect! 

The three porcelain pumpkins on my dresses were also only A DOLLAR a piece! I am getting too excited writing about these great finds...

You can also see that  I have a big candle holder on my dresser holding a burn orange colored candle (no pun intended...actually yes definitely pun intended) . It's super beautiful and vintage looking. It's dark brown with a little gold on it and it's super heavy so it feels expensive! It was $1.99 at the second hand store. Amazing! 

The letters on the left spelling AUTUMN came from some one who gave me a huge box of old marquee sign letters. I have so much fun using them all over the house! When my fiddle player Heather came to stay for a show, I put the letters up in her window to say Queen Heather and on her night stand put Fiddler. So fun! 

The sticks on my shelf are just branches off of trees from my woods and I just sat all of that on top of an old round mirror I had. I took a bunch more brown ribbon ( I had a huge roll!) and placed it around a big off white candle I found around my house just to even up the other side of my dresser. 

Now when I lay in my room, I delight in the season- for a cheap cost! 

I love my Fannahs.

Love, Han 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ordinary Eyeballs

Have you ever thought to yourself, “no one could ever understand how I feel or what I am going through.” Have you ever looked around and thought “Am I normal?” Have you ever looked at a house as your driving by and wondered, “ what is that family going through? Is everyone happy in there?” 
Lately, I’ve been looking at life through what I like to call “ordinary eyeballs.” As humorous as it may sound, I have seen a lot looking at the world through my new set of eyes. I’ve been trying look on the inside of the heart instead of focusing on the outside of a person.
It is easy for me (and probably a lot of us) to get lost in the world of “me” (ourselves.) I know that personally I can get wrapped up in how I feel, what I am wearing, what I am doing; if things are convenient for ME. It doesn’t take too much effort to get caught up in material things and what I call ME things.
After hearing a group of high school students share aspects, struggles, and successes in their lives, it occurred to me that we all, aren’t all that different from each other. In fact, we all share common problems and difficulties in our lives. Whether your looking at the “got it all together” girl or the 4.0 GPA boy with the glasses on, or even an “Emo” couple all dressed in dark colors and bright beads, each and every one of us are going through low times, high successes, and this crazy ride called life. In passing by one of these people, we’d make assumptions and some of us wouldn’t think that we’d be able to personally connect with them. After all, what could we have in common? But when it all comes down to it, each and every one of us, no matter how we dress, or how successful we all are, we all struggle in this life. We all have things in common. 
There has been days where I’ve found myself thinking, “nobody could ever understand what I am going through.” Wrong. I have found by looking through my “ordinary eyeballs” that many people have been through things and hardships that I have been through, and in a way, I believe every single person on this earth can relate to each other some way. Whether, its a hardship, an exciting time, a favorite song, or just the color of our eyes, I believe we all deserve each other and that we all have ways we can relate to each other- think of what a big impact this could make?