Next Wave #1112: Hannah Jadagu

A bold indie pop voice...

20-year-old Hannah Jadagu dials in from New York City, where she studies music at NYU. Alongside her studies, she’s preparing for the release of her debut record ‘Aperture’ (due out this Friday, May 19th).

Hailing from a small town in Texas, a move to New York felt like an essential part of Hannah’s story. Moving to the city meant she could flex her creative muscles, connect with like-minded individuals, and propel her career in music. 

Much of her upcoming record was written in New York, scoring her time as a student in the city whilst reflecting on her youth in Texas. When asked about her feelings surrounding the records release, Jadagu tells me, “I was talking to a friend the other day about how when you make something and then are sat with it for so long, you almost forget that you made it, if that makes sense? I’m kind of chilling right now but I know as it gets closer to release, I’ll be so excited.”

Jadagu is no stranger to the anticipation that surround release. Two years ago, she released her EP ‘What Is Going On’, a DIY collection of indie, bedroom pop mastery, recorded entirely on an iPhone 7. 

“The story with that EP is that it was recorded completely on an iPhone and pieced together using garage band, whereas with the album it was important it was done in the studio, but I wanted to make sure I co-produced it. This meant I could still collaborate with others yet have some creative control,” Hannah says. 

Reflecting on the changes since the release of her EP, Hannah tells me, “My co-producer Max tried lots of different things such as more acoustic instruments and more of a nitty bass. We played around with different sounds and effects, which was cool because with the EP, I literally just recorded it on my phone. 

“All of the EP was written back home in Texas, and then I came to New York for school, and then left school to go on tour. So, a lot of the things I’m writing about on the album are about navigating experiences I have had on tour and what’s happened since moving here”.

Growing up in Texas, it was always going to be difficult for Hannah to carve out a career in music. The opportunities were always more available in the big city, and with a burning desire to make music, Hannah knew she had to make the leap.

“There’s not really a market for indie music in Texas”, Hannah considers, “I come from a suburban country town, and it felt like I was the only person there who wanted to make music, even though I’m sure that’s not true. Moving to New York has allowed me to connect with other creatives my age and I feel more comfortable making music here and proclaiming that as what I do”.

‘Aperture’ is an indie dream. With wiry guitars, euphoric synths and harmonies complimenting her earthy vocal. On trying to define her sound, Jadugu says, “the new record is definitely an indie, alternative record. I often tell a lot of people that I use pop melodies and structures in my songs but keep it simple with chords. I used to be really into EDM music, like I love Calvin Harris, so I pull a lot of influence from that, like super catchy melodies. 

“On my recent single ‘What You Did’, were dealing with noisy sounds and distorted guitars, but with the opening and closing tracks, it’s more ambient. It’s important to me to not confine myself to one sound and I think you can hear that across this record”.

The indie and alternative space is often noted for its lack of diversity, with many leading names being white and male. This is something Jadagu is aware of yet doesn’t let hinder her.

“I feel very fortunate to be born in 2002”, she laughs “because I feel like times have changed and the alternative space is more recognising of women. But I do remember even at the beginning of my career, I picked up guitar and wondered if it was normal for a girl to play guitar!

“I feel privileged to be able to have a team that is largely female identifying around me, but I do think we still have things to work against in the indie music space when it comes to diversity”.

Somehow finding time to balance school alongside creating music is no easy feat, yet Jadugu has found a way to balance her studies, all whilst crafting a debut that is set to cement her as an exciting new voice in indie music. 

On what she hopes people take from her music, she pauses for a second before offering a word inspiration to other young women of colour hoping to break into the industry, specifically those creating the same genre as her; “I love when a Black girl will DM me on Instagram and tell me they are excited that they are also a Black girl making indie music.” 

“I think representation is so important and it’s hard to find it. It has become a become a big thing for me, showing other Black girls that we have a space in this industry”.

‘Aperture’ will be released on May 19th.

Words: Isabella Miller
Photo Credit: Sam Wilbert

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