SINGER HANNAH COHEN ON HOW TO SPIN HEART ACHE INTO INSPIRATION – EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW

Hannah Cohen photographed by Carolina Palmgren for The Untitled Magazine #GirlPower Issue. She wears a pleated dress by Issey Miyake, and necklace by Erickson Beamon.
Hannah Cohen photographed by Carolina Palmgren for The Untitled Magazine #GirlPower Issue. She wears a pleated dress by Issey Miyake, and necklace by Erickson Beamon.

San Francisco native, and model turned songstress Hannah Cohen left home for New York as a teenager and rooted herself in the city’s music scene, working at the iconic Village Vanguard while becoming a muse to the art world. Growing up with a jazz musician father, music was invariably in her midst. “It was just always around. We’d have musicians coming in and out of the house, sleeping on the couch.”

This past March, Hannah released her new album Pleasure Boy, inspired by a painful breakup and the anxieties and revelations surrounding loss. “I wanted the music to hurt, to have a visceral effect.” She confesses that the album was emotionally challenging to write and record, yet through the art came a healing process. Now that her breakup is in the rearview mirror her music has taken on a whole new dimension, removed from its emotional associations. “People were like ‘Oh is it gonna be hard for you to perform these songs?’ And I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ The songs have turned into something else for me. During that time, yeah, it was very therapeutic and I was getting shit off my chest…But now, I’ve moved beyond that.”

Hannah Cohen - Carolina Palmgren - The Untitled Magazine_2
Hannah wears a chartreuse sweater by Rochambeau, skirt by Issey Miyake, and shoes by A.F. Vandevorst.

Pleasure Boy’s morbidity is beautiful sadness encompassed in lush and ethereal melodies. With it Hannah’s found a way to connect with fans who can relate to and share her struggle. “Pleasure Boy came from calling out that person whom it’s referring to,” she says. “It’s also this person who overindulged in everything: people, food, alcohol, drugs…it’s something different to me every day.” One gets the sense that her emotionally rapturous music has become her antidote for life’s obstacles.

She recently finished a string of tour dates with legendary singer-songwriter, Paul Weller, and has plans to begin recording new music, looking forward to experimenting with her sound and style. “I’m going back into the studio. And working with new people and broadening my horizons…But then again, who knows? I don’t really know what I’m doing next week so…” Though she doesn’t have her future pinned down yet, Hannah’s aspirations are quite simple: “I have like a five year plan that just includes having corgis…I hope. In ten years a farm of corgis. I watch corgi videos every day.”


Photography by Carolina Palmgren for The Untitled Magazine #GirlPower Issue
Stylist: Jules Wood

Hair & Make-up by Ingeborg

This article originally appeared in The #GirlPower Issue of The Untitled Magazine (2015), pick up a print edition of the issue today!


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