What does it take to break 2 million plays on Spotify?
Start with what Spotify calls the most common key in music: G Major.
Add some quirky, yet nuanced lyrics and wrap it up in a catchy riff.
“It’s pretty crazy. Every time I look at the numbers, it’s like: Oh my gosh! I can’t believe it”, admits Hannah Judge.
Hannah has several creative outlets, and one of these is comics and illustrations under the name Hannahisntdead.
Inspired by a web diary comic: The Adventures of Jonas, Hannah went train hopping with the protagonist and participated in all kinds of cool adventures.
Scott Pilgrim was another influence that led her to creating her own diary comics.
“I remember the first comic I made, in middleschool, which was a comic with me being: I hate comics.”
Unfortunately, the university studio arts program did not appreciate the speech bubbles in Hannah’s paintings.
“Why do you have to swear in all your paintings? It’s so cartoony…I don’t get it.”, the art teachers would comment.
That’s when she knew, school wasn’t for her.
“I’ve always loved music and did it, kind of secretly. I didn’t tell anyone about it.”
Once she overcame the shyness,
Hannah’s dad had a Dennis the Menace Fan Club Wallet that she intercepted from the trash. “It’s so cool.”
She would take pride in showing off the wallet during purchases and it eventually because a username she used regularly.
When it was time to pick a name for the musical project, she couldn’t “think of anything better than that.”
A band that stand out as nudging her into music was Hop Along. “The are a great band.”
It was a Bandcamp only release that was low-fi and even featured a Glockenspiel that first struck a chord.
The storytelling of Frances Quinlan intersected with her love of comics and stories.
“It was super creative. I think I can make something like this.”
She also admits to stealing her mom’s Madonna CDs. Hey…we’ve all been through a Madonna phase, no?
Hannah’s first Instagram post features her, sporting a Tintin sweater in the hospital. She is no stranger to physical pain brought on by Crohn’s Disease.
In C’mon Be Cool, she refers to being bedridden for 10 months.
The first time was in high school and she coped with the pain by drawing a lot.
This time, music was at the forefront, especially at the hospital, where visitors were not allowed because of the Pandemic.
“I was listening to a ton of music. It’s also a lot of me lying in bed…thinking.”
TV would also fill in the gaps, but it music “can totally bring you somewhere else.”
Hannah was listening to a lot of folk music and her greatest wish was to drive through the countryside with her partner.
It’s true that music can take you on a mental trip, and the listener vs the artist can be going on completely different journeys.
“With lyrics, I don’t ever like to be super specific about the meaning. If you hear a song and it means something to you, that it doesn’t to me, I don’t want to spoil it.”
Pain and isolation go hand in hand with depression. Hannah had to avoid the fiery crashes by distracting herself with creating music.
Because her producer lives in the same house, they would setup recording session on the bed. “I literally don’t have to move.”
Car Crash in G Major
Having hit 2.2 million streams on Spotify, did Hannah celebrate when it hit the first million?
“I was in the hospital when it hit a million.”
That victory was bittersweet as she was still trapped in a hospital bed.
“I can’t believe that many people listened to the song at all. It doesn’t compute in my brain.”
Hannah tries not to let the numbers get into her head. It can cause needless stress if you look at the stats daily.
It does show that she wrote something that resonates with a lot of people.
I assumed that the song was a metaphor, as I doubt Hannah supports drunk driving and letting people burn alive.
Because Hannah can’t drive, not having her license yet, we know it’s not a true crime drama.
This is where the storytelling shines through.
Hannah was a tour photographer on tour with the band Amnita and as they entered Nashville. “There was a truck on the side of the road completely engulphed in flames. Everyone was OK, but I had never seen anything like that…ever.”
From the back of the band van, that imagery started creating a story, and character, relying on metaphors.
For example, the airbag knocking sense into her was a metaphor of “being in a relationship and realizing that I shouldn’t be in this relationship anymore.”
In Baroque music, G major is regarded as the key of benediction.
If Hannah has the power to bless…to affect change, she would address climate change. “It would be great if we stop messing up the universe.”
Trying to avoid a dystopian future for the next generation is a lofty goal.
It’s interesting that Covid is giving nature a boost in the arm, so to speak. The earth can heal itself, if only we left it alone every now and again.
Many artists are proud of their expensive gear, but for Hannah, it’s quite the opposite.
Did Hannah hear a Fisher Price Happy Apple in the back of one of Clairo’s songs?
That’s the kind of stuff that lights her up, these odd items that could be instruments.
She recently picked up a much sought-after Casio SK-1 keyboard under the Radio Shack Branding for $10, having previously memorized all the Radio Shack alternatives.
Some instruments, like her Fender bass, came into her life for free, simply by asking for recommendations from a friend.
Fanclubwallet have exactly one live show under their belt. Soaring attention during a pandemic has limited their ability to get in front of more audiences.
When her friend Sarah (Kommenden) asked for band recommendation to share the bill for a gig, Micheal (Fanclubwallet producer and drummer) exclaimed: “Tell her we can play!”
“We don’t even have a band, it’s just you and me” objected Hannah.
“I had two weeks to prepare!”
They pulled it off, even surprising an audience member who didn’t believe it was their first show.
Playing at the now closed Pressed, a venue with fond memories of past shows for Hannah, was one more check off the bucket list.
For show number 2, Hannah will break away from the shyness and be better prepared for the sound person’s questions.
While she suffered from Imposter Syndrome about being on stage, 2 million people would argue that she rightfully belongs on an even bigger stage!
I hope I’m in the audience.
Hurt Is Boring EP
Listen to the new EP on Spotify!
Pick up a Limited Edition Blue Cassette (Only 100) for $10
Fantasy Rock Band
When asked to create the ultimate band, here were Hannah’s answers, which she delivered at breakneck speed.
Vocals: Frances Quinlan (Hop Along)
Guitar: St. Vincent
Keyboards: Arabesque Choche (Chouchou)
Bass: Kim Deal (Pixies) or Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads)
Drums: Jeremiah Martin Green (Modest Mouse)
Writer: Randal Wark is a Professional Speaker and MasterMind Facilitator with a passion for live music. You can follow him on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. His Podcast RockStar Today helps musicians quit their days jobs with out of the box advice from Ted Talk Speakers, Best Selling Authors and other interesting Entrepreneurs and Creatives.Share this :