Today, at Planet Singer, we have the great pleasure of discovering more about Hana Ni and her artistic journey with an exclusive interview!
Hana Ni, thanks for being with us today at Planet Singer! Soulful singer, gifted actress, and proficient creative, we are thrilled to know more about your artistic journey, so let’s start from the very beginning! When did you discover your passion for music?
Thank you so much! I actually discovered my passion for music when I was just three years old. I was a super shy kid, but my mom noticed that I broke out of my shell when putting on little concerts for my family. So, when I was three, she had me sing in public for the first time, and I immediately knew that the stage was where I belonged and that music was my passion. Since I was a kid who was really comfortable on stage, a lot more opportunities to perform came up for me. I started writing soon after, around the age of 6 and crafting my own songs.
Did acting come after in your life, or was it always a passion of yours?
Acting came after music, for sure, but I was still very young when I started. It’s hard for me to pinpoint an exact age when I started acting because I did plays and local theatre when I was as young as 4 or 5. But, I started acting professionally when I was eight and came to LA to audition for projects for the first time. Acting is such a huge passion for me, and although music came first, acting is what I feel has really established me as an artist and as a creative.
Let’s talk about your latest single, “Spaceship”; what a great track! Can you tell us more about it?
Yes! “Spaceship” is definitely one of my favorite tracks that I’ve put out. It’s such a fun and funky vibe. My last project was on the more serious side, so I wanted to bring a bit more lightness and bounce to this track. I actually wrote it over a year ago and held onto it until I felt the time was right to lay it down in the studio. This year has been such an incredible year for me, and I felt as though I was ready and mature enough to make this song what I really thought it deserved to be. Even though the lyrics aren’t as “light” as the vibe (it’s literally about how crappy the world is), I think it’s a fun play on how we’ve all been feeling in these past few years. It’s a story of a love that can transcend time and space, and it’s also a real and very human story about wanting to escape a world that sometimes feels doomed. I think the funky instrumental brings some hope to the somewhat gloomy lyrics.
Will it be included in a new full-length?
Maybe…. 😉 I am definitely working on a new full-length at the moment, but it’s still in somewhat of the beginning stages. I’ll likely have a few announcements about the project at the beginning of 2023!
Fantastic! Talking about albums, the sound you are leading towards now with “Spaceship” recalls that of your previous album, “Everything Is Temporary,” yet adds different vibes and shows how versatile you are as an artist. Do you feel like a different Hana Ni now?
I feel like a different Hana Ni every day! Haha! Like my last album’s title, “Everything is Temporary,” I’ve been on a journey to learn how to lean into growth and change. Although I definitely feel like I have a specific sound that was so inspired by those that I look up to in music, I also feel like my sound is ever-changing. Being someone who is navigating through my 20s like so many others, there are times when I feel so comfortable in my skin and times when I feel just plain confused. I use all of those moments and feelings to write and record and document my life journey. So, “Spaceship,” in a way, feels more mature than any of my other projects so far, and I think that the sound and musicality reflect that. So, on a future LP, definitely expect to see more maturity and more growth from me as I tumble through my young adulthood!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I love to find inspiration in the little things. I can’t even begin to tell you how many songs I’ve written in my car because I was inspired by a word on a billboard or something someone was wearing walking across the street, or how a cloud looked. I love being human, and the little parts of being a human inspire me because they, at the end of the day, are the things that make us who we are. I also find a lot of inspiration in other forms of media outside of music. So, movies, shows, books, art pieces, etc.
Do you feel that singing and acting are two sister arts, or do you consider them two worlds apart?
Oooo. I definitely have made a pretty solid distinction between my acting and music career. I even go by two different-ish names (Hana Ni and Hanani). Music and acting were more intertwined for me until I released my first full-length album in 2018. That’s when Hana Ni was born, and Hanani, the actress, began to do her own thing. There are times when my two passions meet, like when I did some soundtrack work on a film that I also was one of the lead actresses in called “Raise Your Hand”. Overall, while I do use each platform to promote my work in the other, my acting and singing personas are pretty different from one another.
Your voice is incredible. Have you studied with a professional vocal coach, or are you a natural talent?
Thank you so much!! I have worked with many different vocal coaches over the years, but my mom was honestly my most consistent coach growing up. Singing came very naturally to me, more so than anything else ever has. I was belting out, trying to be like Whitney and J Hud since I was very, very young!
You opened for many legendary singers like Ginuwine, Mila J, and Yolanda Adams, to name a few. If you could share a song with one artist who influenced your artistic path, who would you like to collaborate with?
Ah, that’s so hard! There are so many amazing artists that inspire me and who I’d die to be on a track with. If we’re talking classics, the late great Teena Marie is my idol and an icon, and I wish I would have gotten the chance to work with her in any capacity. As far as popular artists today, Tyler The Creator’s musicality is out of this world, and I’d love to work with him one day. The same goes for Mariah Carey, Bruno Mars, Jhene Aiko, and SZA.
Can you reveal what your creative process is? How does your music come to life?
My music always starts with the lyrics. I write poetry, and most of my music is just that. So, usually, it’s a line or a title or a chorus that comes to me first, and then I build the music and the melody around that.
As an actress under the name Hanani Taylor, you also starred in shows such as CBS’s Criminal Minds, Fox’s “The Orville,” and many others! What is it like to work alongside Lin Manuel Miranda, Kelly Rowland, Marsai Martin, Omari Hardwick, and Rome Flynn?
It’s so cool!! Acting is what I do on the daily and kind of my “day job,” if that’s what you’d call it. But, sometimes, I have to pinch myself because I’ll be in a makeup chair and look to my right and see freaking KELLY ROWLAND sitting next to me!!! It’s been a dream to work with some of my biggest inspirations, and I’m still in shock that they’re my co-workers now. I have had nothing, but amazing experiences with all of the celebs that I’ve worked alongside, and I’m just simply honored.
Learning, evolving, and creating are fundamental steps for all creatives. If you could give a piece of advice to those young artists making their first experiences in music and acting, what would it be?
My advice would be to open yourself up to mistakes and learn how to fall flat on your face with style. The entertainment industry is a rough one, and it’s full of rejection, but if you can learn to take those hits and keep going, you will be unstoppable. Don’t be afraid of looking stupid. Don’t worry about what people think of you. If you are true to yourself and your passion, someone will say yes. Even after a million no’s, that one yes is all that you need to change your life and turn your passion into your career. Be open to growth and know that there is always something new to learn. Surround yourself with good people who love you for you and not for what you “bring to the table,” even if that’s only one or two people. Also, take care of yourself first and foremost. If you need a break, take it!
Are you planning on playing live anytime soon?
I am! It’s been a minute because of the pandemic, but I’m working on a few shows for 2023! Definitely keep up with me on Instagram for more on that!
With over 1 Million streams on Spotify, you have a solid fanbase that supports your talent and career. How important is it for you to connect with your fans?
The fans are my favorite aspect of all of this. I love opening up my inbox and seeing people who felt touched or inspired by my work! It’s so crazy that my little songs have had an impact on so many people, and I’m so grateful. I’m always combing through messages, and I respond to pretty much all of them! My messages are always open, and I love interacting with fans. It’s so important for them to know how much they mean to me and for all of us to go on this journey together!
What are your plans for the future?
Currently, I do have some acting projects lined up. The film I was in called “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and will be getting distribution soon! Also, the film I’m in with Marsai Martin, Kelly Rowland, and Omari Hardwick called “Fantasy Football” premieres on November 25th on Paramount Plus! I’m also producing, writing, and directing my own films. I started my own production company a few years back, and we’ve got some film and TV projects on the horizon.
Hana Ni, it was such a pleasure having you with us today! Is there anything you would like to say to our readers and your fans?
Thank you! I LOVED talking to you. I definitely want to thank everyone who is reading this and my fans for allowing me to pour my heart out to them. I’m quite an emotional and sensitive girlie, so my art is how I express myself and how I feel not so alone. I hope I’ve let you all know that you too are not alone. I’m so excited to continue this journey with all of you and to continue to share my story. I hope I’ve inspired someone out there, and I hope that my music has made you feel worthy because you SO ARE!
Check the links below, discover more about Hana Ni and her music, and don’t forget to add her songs to your favorite playlists!
Hana Ni talks about her latest single, “Spaceship,” and much more in an Exclusive Interview!
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