Tony Cummings quizzed UK Christendom's most popular female singer, PHILIPPA HANNA
It's been a hectic 12 months for Britain's much-loved female singer and the hot news that Philippa Hanna is about to commence a UK tour with Marti Pellow is just the latest step in a career which has gained upward and upward momentum since she first emerged onto the scene in 2007. Cross Rhythms caught up with Philippa a in London hotel lobby having gone to the capital to do a showcase gig for a major label. We threw a batch of questions at Philippa.
Tony: First off, there's still some confusion in some people's minds because of the announcement you made that you were relocating to the USA and then it didn't seem to happen.
Philippa: Well, the confusion is shared by myself. I think sometimes we make these plans and the wheels start to be set in motion then other things come up, things outside of our control. So we made the decision to relocate last year and as we released 'Speed Of Light' we were offered a tour with Leona Lewis and then Anastasia, then a European tour with Little Mix and before we knew it the year was almost out. We re-looked at the calendar and thought actually it would probably be a bit more sensible to finish the year out in the UK and then look at this year for relocating. So that is what we're doing. We're still planning to be overseas from early next month and then basically just straddle the pond, if you will, for a while. Because relocating is complicated. There are certain things we can do in the States; we can make music, we can write songs, we can talk about partnerships with people, what we're going to be doing when we go out, but we're not allowed to tour yet. So, because we're not allowed to tour obviously we need to carry on touring elsewhere in the world, at home and Europe and stuff like that. I guess it's one of those things where we made this plan, we felt it was right to set our flag in the sand and say this is what we're going to do but timing is in God's hands really, so we're taking it month by month.
Tony: Now, talking of UK touring, you've got this acoustic tour coming up fairly soon, haven't you?
Philippa: Yes. We're making ourselves available throughout June and we've got some weekends in December as well. We're doing some touring in Europe in the summer but it would be great to come home and do some more dates in the UK and then we've got some Christmas themed events I guess you could say that are up for grabs in December so I guess it's one of the reasons we're talking to you guys in case any of your listeners have churches or organizations that might want to host us. June or December would be a good time. So get in touch.
Tony: Well, we'll talk about your Christmas plans in a second, but just a little bit more about this acoustic tour. In addition to you performing songs acoustically, will you have any musicians with you?
Philippa: I always have my husband with me who is really all you need. My husband is a really great percussionist and we've got a good acoustic show together. I have actually a few little tricks up my sleeve to make things sound special. Occasionally we involve other musicians as well but the acoustic show has really become the thing we're probably known for most now. I love how intimate that feels, how flexible it is, how close we feel to the audience. If someone shouts do this song or do that song we can just quickly pull it out of the bag so it's really good fun.
Tony: Has your touring with some of the big mainstream stars made you think a bit more about whether a non-Christian can relate to this song?
Philippa: Totally. Because suddenly, when you start to sing a song or tell a story, you've got this new lens on which sees the room in a completely different way. So every line of the song, every turn of phrase suddenly you've got that under a magnifying lens testing it for relevance. It's not just about would this put someone off it's more would this have any relevance. There's not much point in singing a song that has no meaning to people. I think it's a really good thing to communicate with people about things they'll understand and that gives them a basis to trust your point of view and a basis to have relationship with you as an artist. It definitely opened my eyes.
Tony: What about your recording plans? It seems to me that for this next period of time anyway all or most of your recording will be taking place in the USA.
Philippa: Yeah. I'm going to be doing some writing here; I've got some good writing buddies. This next season is going to be lots and lots of writing, not just for myself but for other projects too because I love to do that as well. I've got some female artists in my little network now that I love to write with - people like Lily Jo, who I'm sure you're aware of. We did some writing together recently. I've been doing some writing with my sister in law, her name is Chelsea Alice Scott and she's also a great upcoming artist. So, yes, this is sort of going to be a period of being creative.
Tony: If somebody who didn't know your music asked what style are you, what would you say?
Philippa: I think personally I would put it in the pop category, because pop covers a lot of things. For me, it's really song focussed. It's about the song for me. The last album had a bit of a styled theme; it was almost like conceptual in a way. And so was the previous one. I just tend to get on with whatever I'm being influenced by and what I'm really enjoying at the time, as many of my favourite artists have done. I've followed suit of a lot of my favourite artists in that sense. You know, if you think about an artist like Prince, he really just did everything from pop to reggae, rock to folk, to country. He touched on baroque. These are people who've influenced me in my younger years. I just never felt bound by genre. I think I've got quite eclectic taste.
Tony: I understand you've now been asked to tour with Marti Pellow.
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