Haneri for The Meadow
interviewer: Sara Sharif (@sarangelic)
interviewee: Haneri (@itshaneri)
Haneri emerged on the scene in 2017, gracing the Spotify New Music Friday cover and charting at #9 in Singapore and 6 other countries with her first singles “Burning Up” and “Feel Alright”. She’s also seen success in the EDM world with her co-releases with DJ/Producer DASCO, Dash Berlin and more. Her latest tracks highlight Haneri’s gift of blending genres and expressive songwriting into lovable and highly addicting pop/funk/disco jams. All proving she really is an artist to have on your radar in 2020 and beyond.
Haneri is set to release another single this year (which we can’t wait to share), leading up to the release of her EP MILLIONA, due out late November. She aims to bring out her bold new self with MILLIONA. In her words, “Be you. Be weird. Be amazing”.
Haneri shares a fear...
I’m always afraid I’m not enough. And the trick with that is the more I believe it, or rather the more I own it and know it, the less I feel it. I just need to keep telling myself that everyday.
* in relevance to our issue #2 FEAR
t h e i n t e r v i e w
Please start with a little introduction about yourself!
Hi! My name is Haneri. I live in Singapore and have made music here in Singapore, in Australia and spent most of the past 10 years making music in Boston, New York and Los Angeles.
What genre would you say your music belongs to?
I would lean towards pop but this new EP feels like it learns a little more towards funk, disco and indie.
What is the story behind your musical journey?
It’s been a long and winding road for sure but I would say I started songwriting on the guitar at 14 and to this day I still try to pick up the guitar and write as much as I can on it. The first record I ever worked on I had to hire producers and musicians to help me create tracks for the songs I had written and slowly I started working on EDM music as well and fell in love with synths and controllers and production and I’ve let myself fall into any direction my heart is guiding me and my music in and with everything there’s hits and misses but I like the idea that I try to stay true to my sound. There’s still so much for me to learn and do so I’m excited for the future.
And how has your journey been so far?
Honestly it hasn’t been an easy one, I feel like I’m constantly faced with new challenges, sometimes that even includes wondering if I got myself into the right industry. But the one thing I know for sure if I love music and while I question it, more often than not I’m glad I’m working in music full time.
I love your latest song, “Y Didn’t You Say So”! tell us what the song means to you.
Thank you so much!! The subject matter - relationship and boys and being honest about how I feel - is something I would never have touched on in the past. But I believe for this EP-MILLIONA, I’m trying to be more honest and candid about life situations I’ve been in and making light of them, watching my family and friends dance to it kind of made a bad situation somehow worth it. Every stumble teaches us new lessons and I feel like I not only learned from the situation that brought along the song, I also got a great song out of it!
Do share more about the making of the song, “Y Didn’t You Say So”!
It actually started over a year before I started on the actual production of the final track. Driving back from San Francisco to Los Angeles, I had the self titled DNCE album on loop and when I got to the session in LA, I just had a funky baseline in my head and Tim Randolph, one of the writers, created a loop and the other writer Ben Samama and I threw in some hooks and the song was born. I didn’t really know how to release it because none of my music that I had released at that point was funky or groovy like that so we set it aside to pitch to other artists. A year and a half later I started working with Drew OfThe Drew and we came up with the MILLIONA sound which I like to call funk-disco-pop and I realized this song was a perfect fit. So Drew finished up the track and here it is :)
Is there a general and maybe a more personal theme to your music?
I like to think all my music is quite personal. And the underlying theme to that is feelings. I don’t think that people of my generation, especially around where I grew up (in Singapore), were encouraged to embrace their feelings and act on them or even recognize them. Growing up I was shamed, even by people who I knew loved me, for being too sensitive or constantly overreacting just because I could point out my feelings or I expressed them. I don’t think kids like me should be shamed for being in touch with my feelings, for knowing how to show them and explore them is what I want to encourage with my music.
What is your creative process?
It’s different with each session and each song. Sometimes it’s a track or a chord or a note or a sound or a phrase in a movie or TV show. It also depends how open my heart is at the time. What I do know is if I’m not motivated to write, it can be quite difficult to force the process.
Who is your musical inspiration?
I think if I go all the way back, Michelle Branch, John Mayer and Avril Lavigne were some of the most incredible song writers that inspired me so much. Later on I was completely taken over by Sara Bareilles, Billie Eilish and Sasha Sloan. There are many more like the greats Prince, Stevie Wonder, Stevie Nicks, the Beatles I could go on but there are also many artists that I stumble upon and inspire me like Ben Rector, Bruno Major, Remi Wolf, Lennon Stella and so so many more.
Any tips from your experience for our musicians out here?
This is gonna sound so cheesy, but listen to your heart. Get to know yourself. Take time. Is there anything you would like to say about the current stresses all around world? I wouldn’t even know where to begin. But what it has taught me is to take stock of what I’ve got. Allow myself to be amazed at what I can do and reach out to the people you love. Spend time with friends and family be it IRL or over the phone or video chat. Love is a very powerful thing and right now we all need some healing.
So, what should we expect next, in the near future?
My next single drops Oct 30th! It’s called ‘B The 1’ and the EP drops end Nov!! So look out for it! :)
How do we gain access to your music?
You can find me on all the platforms you listen to music on. But the link in the bio of my Instagram has everything <3