INTERVIEW: Hannah Trigwell

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By Ed King

“There are just four of us, including me, but we make quite a big sound.”

Hannah Trigwell explains the full band baggage she’ll be taking with her on tour, “and we’ll be playing a lot of the new songs, so people who will be coming to the gigs will be getting the very first listen.”

And ‘first’ seems to be the word. Next Wednesday (Jan 15th) Hannah Trigwell kicks off her debut headline tour at the O2 Academy Birmingham, with her first release on 3 Peace Records also now out – the four track Pieces EP.

Playing five consecutive dates across the UK, starting in Birmingham, Hannah’s January road trip will be the first time it’s been all about her. “I’m ready for it – I’ve rehearsed a lot,” declares Hannah, “I’m prepared. I mean, I’m a little bit apprehensive; when you headline a tour more of the people coming to gigs are coming to see you, but I’m confident about the shows.” She sounds it too, “it’s been a dream to do my own headline tour.”

And one she’s arguably worked for. Cutting her teeth busking on the street of Leeds, Hannah Trigwell began performing whilst still in college. “The first time I went (busking) it was quite a daunting experience,” describes Hannah, “but you get so much live experience. Not everyone’s going to like the genre of music you’re playing, and you’re playing to people who might not have wanted to listen, who are just walking past; it helps you to get thicker skin.”

And what made you start at street level, as opposed to on stage? “I saw a guy busking in Leeds town centre and asked if I could use his equipment and have a go. It was scary the first few times but you kind of get used to it. I was working as a waitress and thought, if I can do something I love then why not.”

Did you make any money? “I made the same amount I would have made being a waitress, so it seemed like a brilliant little Saturday job whilst I was in college. I haven’t been able to do it in the past year as I’ve been too busy.”

But it was online that Hannah Trigwell built her wider audience, posting covers and original material onto YouTube. Her website reports ‘over 6 million views and (gains) over 10,000 hits per day.’

And it didn’t stop at us proles. After a couple of years publishing performances online, Hannah Trigwell got noticed by Boyce Avenue – the Puerto Rican/American rock band of brothers, who had recently split from Universal Republic to form their own label, 3 Peace Records. Invited to support Boyce Avenue on several UK tour dates, Hannah developed a solid relationship with the US three piece, culminating in a record deal with their independent imprint.

They (Boyce Avenue) had been online for a few years and I’ve been subscribed to them from the off,” tells Hannah; “the videos they put online inspired me to post my own. I’d already started busking and I just thought, what’s the worst that can happen?”

“So I did that for a couple of years; then Boyce Avenue saw my cover off ‘Teenage Dream’ (Katy Perry) and sent an email to my manager asking if I’d want to support them on tour. It’s was mental; they were my favourite band, I’d had their album on repeat, it was just crazy. Obviously I said yes.”

Was the reality as sweet? After all, creative temperaments can run cold as well as hot – and many great minds find they actually don’t think alike. Especially on the road.

 “They (Boyce Avenue) give a lot of constructive criticism,” responds Hannah, “but I learnt a lot touring with them. And having a label run by musicians, so they actually care about the music you make as well as being your record label, has been fantastic. It’s given me a lot more than maybe other labels could have.”

But every investor still seeks a return, and for record labels a big part of that is through releases and sales. Hannah Trigwell signed with 3 Peace Records in 2012, with her first EP, Pieces, coming out in October 2013. Now into 2014, is there pressure for an album?

“I’m still learning my craft,” admits Hannah, “and some of the tracks on the Pieces EP I wrote when I was 18, so it’s been a long time coming for me getting some new material out.” Is there a change in your new material, a shift from the acoustic approach that you first promulgated online?

 “I’m writing with a lot of songwriters and producers, especially Ollie Green,” the Scarborough born, Leeds based artist & producer who has worked with Rebecca Ferguson, Olly B and Jake Gosling – the latter eventually signing Green to a publishing deal.

“I feel this EP is representative of the sound I’m going to be making from now on. So a lot of this year is going to be writing, more live performances, and making sure the album is going to be the best it can be.”

Peice EP - cover

And any pressures, coming from on or off stage, which might expedite your endevours?

“The worst thing would be to rush something just because people want an album,” explains Hannah, “they want a good one.

You can never do your first album again.”

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Hannah Trigwell plays the O2 Academy 3 on Weds 15th Jan. For further information and tickets, visit http://www.o2academybirmingham.co.uk/event/59317/hannah-trigwell-tickets

For more on Hannah Trigwell, including links to digital purchases of her Pieces EP and other material, visit http://www.hannahtrigwell.com

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