We are chatting with Hannah Judson, welcome! We got to take a listen to your album “Stingray” and loved the journey it took us on.
Do you have a favorite song on the album?
Just like a mother, I have no favorites. I like them all for different reasons! However, the song Deep Sea Diver treats the idea that two people from different extremes of the universe can be pulled into a love story — from outer space and from the ocean floor — however unlikely, and that it not only makes sense to them, it is part of their being, it is who they are. Our journeys are vast, and when our soul resonates with another, we know it. Love doesn’t require a linear narrative. It can be literally all over the place.
Why did you choose the title of Stingray for the album?
Stingray is the title song for the record we released on Boneyard Records/ eLevator 8 Music. It’s a rock song describing a release from the shackles of an unhealthy relationship. It’s not about breaking up. It’s about understanding what was really going on, and no longer having space for the dysfunction in your life. It’s an anthem and a rock song and is fun to play with the band! It always makes me smile to play it. I had written the first verse very quickly and I knew I was on to something, but I wasn’t 100% sure what the song was about. I did spend some time researching narcissism and the stages of breaking the hold, and I kept those in mind as the remaining verses unfolded.
I recorded it at Boneyard Records in Sacramento, CA with producer JL Espada. Some of our musicians were in France, so tracks were flying back and forth across the Atlantic during production.
What is your favorite part about being creative? The songwriting process, performing, etc.?
I’m always looking for new ways to tell the stories that are important. I am motivated by an optimistic view of the future, and no matter how sad or dark a song I write, I am still working through the process because I can imagine it having a meaningful run, connecting with people, inspiring other songwriters. Inspiration is cyclical. Just by doing your work, you inspire others, and vice versa. I think that is especially important right now, that we continue to create and connect.
When you are writing do you try to stick with a certain genre of music?
I am influenced by so many different songwriters and composers from Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Leonard Cohen etc. to Laurie Anderson, Liz Phair, Ani DiFranco, Patti Smith and Cat Power, and many more I am not consciously constraining myself into a certain genre as I write. I am looking for the best way to express my ideas with the tools I currently have. For my songs, lyrics are more important than a specific genre. You can wrap different instruments, rhythms and styles around the same lyrics, changing the color, the taste, the scent of the song, but the words are like the luggage for the emotional journey.
How do you keep yourself creatively engaged in music? Any advice for other artists that find themselves in a creative rut?
I am always writing new material, which sometimes is a struggle, but even then, I keep combing, styling, clipping, changing the color, changing the part until I find what I am looking for. I am also always a student of music, looking ahead to what is in the next chapter. Music isn’t something I will ever feel “arrived” at. You have to keep learning. During the pandemic I began taking jazz guitar lessons online with Suzahn Fiering in Nashville. I was looking for more music theory to bring to my songwriting, but have actually unlocked a whole new interest and approach to songwriting.
People get into creative ruts for different reasons. It can be a loss of energy and passion, or just boredom. I think the more conscious you are about the process you bring to your creative process, the easier it is to determine what is tripping you up. You have to keep your approaches varied. Just because something worked yesterday doesn’t mean it will work again today. Our brains are vast and complex, and the creative journey can take you all over the place in your head. It’s not just about pumping out products. It’s about responding to the present moment in the creative journey you are on.
Where can we listen to your music and connect with you?!
Participate in my videos. Send your own photos and/or video that could potentially be included in my next music videos.
Share your story with me to be amplified on my social channels. I am interested in learning how people are managing this moment in history. What keeps you going? What holds your interest? What have you discovered? What has changed? Get in touch with me about sharing your story. It can be one sentence, one paragraph, a video, or a long, live conversation. Open to varied media.
End of Interview