At the beginning of October, I went to the TowerTube showcase. I’m always on the lookout for new artists to feature in this section and TowerTube has been a great resource for me (three of the artists that they have featured are on my wishlist). I know Nicole Lowe, the founder and one of the producers of the YouTube channel. She told me that when she was planning the showcase, she had to have Hannah Ayrault be a part of it, even though her session had not come out yet. This is the best way that I can describe Hannah’s talent — “we need her on board.” I felt it, Nicole felt it, and I’m positive that a lot of other people who come across Hannah’s music are going to feel it too.
Hannah is one of those songwriters who, if I came across on YouTube when I was 15, I would have been her biggest fan. It was at that age that I discovered that I loved simple, beautiful, and meaningful songs — ones that might break your heart if you let them in the best way possible (case and point “So Close So Far” off her new EP). This is what Hannah Ayrault brings to the table. If you are a lyric lover, you will love Hannah Ayrault. Mark my words.
MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?
Hannah Ayrault: I chose to come to Nashville because Belmont University had been my top-choice university since Freshman year of high school. I really wanted to attend a school were I could pursue music, specifically songwriting, and when I visited I fell in love with the campus and the city. There’s music everywhere and there are so many opportunities for young artists.
MusicDash: When did you first fall in love with music and what lead you to songwriting?
Hannah Ayrault: I’ve been singing since I can remember, and I started playing piano by ear at age three. Somewhere during elementary school I realized that I really liked to write. But it wasn’t really until middle school until I really put everything together. I wrote my first song in eighth grade and I performed it at the school talent show. I always kind of looked at music as a hobby and something I excelled at but would never pursue professionally. I was accepted into Interlochen Arts Academy, which is an arts boarding school in northern Michigan, for my Senior year as a songwriting major, and that’s really where I decided I could make a career out of this.
MusicDash: What inspires you musically?
Hannah Ayrault: I’m really inspired by other artists. I’ve been listening to Jason Mraz for about ten years now, and he’s definitely my biggest inspiration musically. His music made me want to write songs, and I’m still a huge fan today. I listen to a variety of different things because as an artist, Believe that you need to appreciate many different forms of music, not just music in a specific genre. I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, and I still love listening to oldies. I also grew up playing classical piano, and that music inspires me greatly as well. I like weird indie artists that few people have ever heard of (Lo-Fang and LP to be specific). And I’ll find myself listening to Top 40 songs too, they’re a guilty pleasure of mine.
MusicDash: What had been your favorite of most memorable performance thus far?
Hannah Ayrault: I sung the National Anthem for Detroit Tigers twice at Comercia Park in Detroit. Those performance were memorable because tens of thousands of people heard me sing at once and I had such an outpouring of love and support from my friends and family. I also had an EP release party this summer back in Detroit which was really fun. I had a full and and the place was packed. The party was one of those moments where my love for music and performing was reaffirmed, which was really nice.
MusicDash: You’ve recently done some work with TowerTube. You had a live session with them and you were a performer at their first showcase. How was that experience and how did you get connected with TowerTube?
Hannah Ayrault: I met Connor in my Spanish class, and he and Nicole produce TowerTube together. I shows in terse and they had an open spot, so it came together really nicely. TowerTube has been a really great platform for me. They shot a really cool video of me playing an acoustic version of one of my songs, and interviewed me as well. They also just put on a showcase of local singer-songwriters affiliated with Belmont (students and alumni) and it was really great to play there. Nicole and Connor are so nice and supportive and really love music, and that’s something I really like to see. I hope TowerTube takes off because ti’s a really great outlet for artists affiliated with Belmont.
MusicDash: Your new EP “Me Right Now” came out on October 14th! Tell us a little bit about the recording process.
Hannah Ayrault: The recording process for Me Right Now was awesome. My friend Ben, who’s an audio engineering major here at Belmont, recorded and produced one of my songs. He showed it to his friend Jon, who is a producer in Nashville, and we met for coffee in September of 2014 and decided to work together to record this EP. It was a long process – much longer that I expected. We spent two months on rewrites and preparation, and then we spent a few months recording demos. WE didn’t get to the actual recording until January 2015. Our last recording session was in May. It was such a great process, and I’m so glad we took the time to do it right. It’s an amazing feeling to hear your songs come together. It’s fascinating as well to hear other people’s ideas about your music. I had an idea in my head of how I wanted it to sound, but the final product is better than I could have imagined.
MusicDash: What track on the EP are you most excited about releasing and why?
Hannah Ayrault: I’m excited to release all of the tracks! If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the title track, “Me Right Now.” I actually hated this song for the longest time because I had to rewrite almost the entire thing. Lyrically, it’s poignant and sums up something that a lot of people my age feel at this time of transition in our lives. We’re not kids, but we’re not really adults yet and we’re still trying to find our place in the world. It’s short and sweet and the production is perfect.
MusicDash: What are your ultimate goals surrounding music?
Hannah Ayrault: I want to be able to make a living off of music. Whether it’s selling out stadiums or playing small gigs back home, success to me means having the ability to spend my life doing what I love. And I really hope I get to do that. With my original songs, I really want people to connect and feel things. I want to write music that helps people get through life, whether that is a rough transition period or missing a friend or being in love for the first time. And even if one persons touched by what I write and put out there, I’ll consider that a success.
You can find Hannah at:
Article by Kaitlyn Midgett