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INTERVIEW: Hannah Wicklund Shares 'The Prize' Details + More

Updated: Jan 11

Hannah Wicklund posing for album artwork
Photo by Jessica Christian

Growing up on the beaches of Hilton Head, South Carolina, Hannah Wicklund has always had music in her bones. At just three years old, she started taking piano lessons at her teacher Miss Ruth’s house. Surrounded by bright purple walls and bunnies they would feed in the backyard, music has been a fully immersive experience from the start. Playing rock n roll by the beach throughout her childhood, Hannah had abundant opportunities to cut her teeth playing every show that came her way, playing on her signature Anderson and Orange guitar/amp combo that she’s continued to use for 17 years straight. Through endless hard work and resounding determination, she continued to build her career on her own.

Fresh off the heels of opening for Greta Van Fleet in Europe, playing a few of her own solo shows, and releasing new singles and videos, we had the pleasure of catching up with Hannah and getting an exclusive look into her new album The Prize - debuting January 12, 2024. She'll also be kicking off her 2024 headlining Hell In The Hallway world tour in February - get tickets HERE. Read our interview with Hannah Wicklund below.

Bethany (Song & Fury): Hannah, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. We’ve been loving the new music that’s been coming from you. How are you doing today?


Hannah Wicklund: I am having a lovely day sitting at my favorite coffee shop here in Nashville!


Bethany: Your two singles - “Hide and Seek” and “Witness”, can you tell us a little bit about those songs?


Hannah: Hide and Seek is a song that I wrote about that initial feeling of falling in love- that desperate, exciting, sexy, explorative time in life I hope everyone can experience. Witness, however, is about what happens when that love goes sour and you’ve lost yourself in the process. I found myself at a young age in a serious relationship in which I was taking on the burden of healing someone else, and ‘Witness’ essentially captured what it was like to take that burden of off myself. 


Bethany: What was the songwriting process like for The Prize?


Hannah: Each song on The Prize came from it’s own place and came about in it’s own way. Most of these songs were negotiated with for months, but Lost Love and Songbird Sing essentially wrote themselves. My goal with each record is to take you on a journey, and offer up an array of songs that make you feel lots of different emotions. I truly feel I did that with The Prize and think it captures beautifully my realizations during my transition from girlhood to womanhood. 


Bethany: I know Sam Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet was your producer for this album - as well as playing bass, keys and organ. What has it been like working with him and how was he able to help you throughout recording?


Hannah: Working with Sam felt like I was back in the band room of my childhood home with the guys I grew up playing music with, only better. His jovial, youthful, yet intelligent disposition was exactly what my songs needed. I knew I needed a producer who would care about this music as much as I did, and I am truly lucky I found Sam to do this record with. 


Bethany: You also opened for GVF during their 2022 Dreams In Gold tour and in Europe this year. You both are somewhat in the same genre of music, what’s it been like getting to experience life on the road with them?


Hannah: When GVF first came on the scene a few years back, I was quite inspired to continue forging my own path in rock n roll, because for a long time the music business had been saying that rock was dead, that no young people were into it or buying tickets, etc… GVF proved all of them wrong, and it has been quite fantastic sharing my music with their crowds each night. 


Bethany: Are you ever listening to any certain artists while  working on your own music? Is there anyone specific that comes to mind that inspires you?


Hannah: I tend not to listen to too much other music when I’m writing/recording, because I truly aim to create from a place deep within myself. Of course I am carrying with me the music I love or am inspired by, but I try to let that take a backseat to what is at the top of my mind at the moment. 

Etta James, Jeff Buckley, Amy Winehouse, Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow, Fleetwood Mac and Jimi Hendrix are some of my favorite influences, though.

Bethany: The music video for “Witness” is absolutely incredible. I feel like it fits the aesthetic for you and your music so well with the castle, you playing piano in the woods, and your stunning outfits. What was it like filming that video?


Hannah: Filming the video for Witness was one of my favorite days of 2023. So much of my life and career I shied away from my femininity, and felt that if I was playing rock n roll I needed to wear leather pants. This was the first time I got dolled up and was wearing an actual gown for my music, and I felt so beautiful in the woods that day. There is beauty in embracing the heartache and loving your path, even if it’s riddled with sticks and stones and setbacks. 



Bethany: In an industry full of carbon copies, you’ve remained so unique and true to yourself as an artist and I’m sure personally as well. How are you able to dodge the normal conformities of the music industry?


Hannah: I have turned down contracts, turned down working with big producers, said no to shows, and never regretted anything. I have also had people I have said yes to openly sabotage my career, and set me back in ways I never could have imagined. Through my decade of experience in the thick of the industry, I have mostly learned to trust myself. I chose to self-manage and chose to self-release The Prize, after realizing that I am the only one who knows and sees the vision of what I want to do. So many men in the industry only know how to put you in a box, and when I had someone working for me say ‘it’s not time for that’ in regards to the artwork I had in mind for The Prize I realized I am the only one who will protect my art, music and sanity. I have those snakes along the way to thank though, because I am the happiest I have ever been.

Hannah Wicklund posing for single artwork
Photo by Jessica Christian

Bethany: You’ve openly talked about your mental health and how it’s affected you your entire life. How do you find ways to benefit from your mental health?


Hannah: I have had a lot of traumas in my lifetime, starting at a young age. When I was young, songwriting was my only outlet for those emotions, which is why I was writing some quite adult songs at 12 years old. It wasn’t until I was 19/20 that I realized I couldn’t exist the way I had been, saving it all for the stage and my songs. I turned to yoga, therapy, body work, reading and healthy eating as a way to begin healing. That self care waxes and wanes, but I have a self awareness now that can help me find what I need in the moment, that didn’t exist until I began working at it. As silly as it sounds, it’s truly about getting to know (and love) yourself to the point that you can say ‘I need to stretch’, or ‘I need to journal’, or saying to your partner ‘I need a few minutes alone’. 


Bethany: I have a few fun questions for you as well - this one comes from my sister. What’s your favorite food to eat on tour?


Hannah: My favorite food to eat on tour is EVERYTHING. I am such a foodie, it is one of my favorite things about life. I will eat anything, as long as it’s delicious. I choose to only eat at local restaurants, aiming to support as many small businesses as I can when I’m on the road. 


Bethany: Obviously you love making music, you love doing art, you love gardening.. What are some other hobbies you have that you resort to when feeling overwhelmed or dissatisfied? 


Hannah: Knitting and beading are two hobbies of mine that I haven’t really done since I was a child, but have been falling back in love with. Creating anything with my hands is my ultimate meditation. Then of course there’s yoga, which has gotten me through some of the darkest moments in my life. 


Bethany: Are there any artists you currently have on repeat?


Hannah: Sheryl Crow has been on a lot lately. My dad loved her when I was growing up, and she has the ability to write some badass feel good songs. It has been a long time since I’ve wanted to listen to music with a positive message, but it has been wonderful singing along to Soak up the Sun and All I Wanna Do while I’m driving down the road.


Bethany: You of course are very much into fashion and your style is so respectable. How do you piece together outfits?


Hannah: When I’m home, I am in my pajamas all day and will go ‘out on the town’ in some not so pieced together outfits, which I think is the balance I need for the moments when I do put myself together! But ultimately, I have a collection of pieces I have gathered through my years of travel, and I try to have fun with them. Mixing patterns, textures, and of course color, makes me so so happy. 


Bethany: Last question - is there anything else you’d like to say to your fans and our readers?


Hannah: Mainly, thank you for reading this and listening to my music! I truly hope that The Prize can help anyone out there needing inspiration to love yourself, and give yourself the time and dedication you deserve. 


Bethany: Thank you so much for taking time to answer all of our burning questions for you, we really appreciate it. We’re ecstatic for The Prize to be released and we can’t wait to experience everything else from you. Good luck on your future journeys and we’ll talk to you next time. Cheers!


Hannah: Thank you so so so much!


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