Hi Philippa! It was amazing to see “Come Back Fighting” top the UK country chart recently? It must have been an amazing feeling?
It was totally unexpected! I was raised singing Country and always had a Country flavour in my writing but this is our first official release under that glorious banner. I’m completely blown away.
Give us an insight into the writing and recording of the ‘Come Back Fighting’? Has the album been a long time coming?
The album sure has been a long time in the mix. As I mentioned, Country is my where my roots are and some of these songs have been with me a while. My last record was more pop, and I was waiting for that moment when I could look at a collection of songs and really SEE a record worthy of being classed as Country. That moment came late summer this year after a testing spell over in the States. We got home and took stock of where I was a musician and a person and realised it was time to make Come Back Fighting.
Listening to the album I can hear a number of influences, including blues, soul, gospel and of course, country. How would you describe your sound to somebody who hasn’t listened to you before?
I’m really just a girl with a passion for music and storytelling. My influences range from Kenny Rogers to Prince, though I can’t claim to sound like either. I just love good songs! Some people say I have a Country sound tinged with a little soul.
A number of artists have covered Willie Nelson’s ‘Always on My Mind’ and I have to say, you do a particularly amazing job on the last track of the album. What inspired you to cover this track?
Thanks so much! It’s my dad’s arrangement really, I’ve totally drawn from the way he sings and interprets the song. He used to sing it as a dedication for my mum when I was small. I just always thought it was one of the most raw and moving love songs ever written. Unfiltered romance.
Tell us a little about the role your Christian faith plays in your music career?
I struggled throughout my teens and young adult life with various things, from low self-esteem to anxiety and depression. At age 20 I made friends with some Christians through an open mic night and instantly felt I was loved and excepted. From there I attended church and felt a connection. Faith has given me an anchor and a means of understanding life. It also gave me the courage to truly be myself share my experiences through music.
How did you get started in music? Was it a case of hairbrush as a mic in the mirror as a child? Or did it come later? And where did that fantastic voice come from?
Hairbursh! Totally. My dad Pat Hanna (AKA Pat McCluskey) was a cabaret entertainer than would sing anything from Neil Diamond to Glen Campbell and many Country greats. My earliest memory is of watching him entertain and he’s still my music hero. He encouraged me to join him on stage from being small and started writing songs when I turned 13. He bought me my first 4 track recorder.
I’m always intrigued to find out about an artist’s song-writing process. Do you have a set routine?
I usually start with a hook and a concept. I guess the concept comes first, quickly followed by a little melody. Then it’s time to sit down and do some work 🙂 I like to write with other people, especially after I have a good idea.
If you had to pick a particular highlight in your career, what would it be?
It’s a rolling reel of highlights. And they are really all the times where people tell me that a song has helped them get through a tough time. That’s what it’s all about for me.
To finish, tell us about your plans for the rest of the year, and how we can get our hands on ‘Come Back Fighting’?
It’s available from all major online retailers and streaming platforms. You can also find it and my other titles at www.comebackfighting.com
Next year we have plans to tour a lot from Spring onwards. I’m also working on a lot of Youtube content. I just want to connect with as many people as possible and hopefully spur them on their own ‘Come Back Fighting’ journey!