Singer/songwriter Joe Hanson is already breaking the mold, and he’s brand new to country music. He is equipped with a striking tenor voice and a knack for shaping a melody like a sculptor with stone: tastefully and expressively. Hanson knows how to write the kind of songs that stick in your head, with lyrics that reflect the bitter and the sweet he’s tasted in life.
Which Christian artists/songs did your family listen to while you were growing up in Naperville, Illinois?
Growing up I listened to a LOT of music, pretty much every genre, but primarily country (Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Randy Travis, Rascal Flatts, etc.) and Christian at first. I grew up in a very faith based family and so I listened to a lot of amazing Christian artists like Chris Tomlin, Mercy Me, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, etc.
What was the deciding factor for you to leave Illinois and head to Tennessee to pursue a country music career?
My parents always said find your God given talent, cultivate it and share it with the world. For me moving to Nashville alone was a huge leap of faith, leaving family and leaving school back in Illinois and pursing music full time. The deciding factor was the fact that I felt a calling to move to Nashville knowing that it was the best place to cultivate my music craft and network.
Saw your Instagram post with your siblings covering “H.O.L.Y.”. What is your favorite song to cover?
I don’t necessarily have a favorite cover song, I have a new favorite song every day haha! One of my favorites to cover is definitely “You Look Good In My Shirt” by Keith Urban because it’s a song I grew up on but also is one of my favorite moments in the live show being able to interact with the crowd and throwing shirts out!
Joe Hanson on Instagram: "Here's a little BTS from our show opening up for @russelled & @lindsayell…
84 Likes, 1 Comments - Joe Hanson (@joehansonmusic) on Instagram: "Here's a little BTS from our show opening up for…
There’s nothing quite like a hometown show. Just the energy in the room alone is heightened because everybody in the audience is most likely someone I know personally. It’s truly a humbling experience being able to come back and doing what you love in front of everyone you love, the crowd response is always amazing at those kind of shows.
Can you share some up-and-coming country artists from Chicago we should add to our playlists?
What’s the best advice another artist has shared with you?
Best advice another artist shared with me is to stay in my lane. If you try to chase what’s hot now you’ll never catch it. Sonically, musically, just be yourself and don’t be afraid to do things that are completely different.
How did you choose drums as your first instrument?
I started first playing drums and getting into music because my brother, friend and I started our church’s worship band and used to play on Church retreats and mission trips. I was the drummer, my older brother Nick was the lead vocalist and guitar play, my friend also played guitar and piano with backup vocals. It was on a retreat where my friend wasn’t able to make it and they needed someone to sing back up vocals for my brother, where I initially started singing and fell in love with it.
Which instruments would you like to learn?
I’d really like to get better at piano, I play enough to get by but I’d really like to be able to have that become seamless. If not that I think learning steel guitar would be a lot of fun.
The Voice. American Idol. What was it like to audition for each show? What was the best take away memory from those reality shows?
Both shows were very similar in audition process where there were several rounds of auditions to even get to have an official tv audition. The Voice I never made it on the show but I made it several auditions deep to the final executive round where they flew me out to LA. American Idol I was fortunate enough to audition in front of Lionel Richie, Katy Perry, and Luke Bryan for TV. I loved being able to travel to cool places like Colorado and Idaho for the auditions. My biggest takeaway from the shows was that there is no one way in stone to “make it” in the music industry. I am forever grateful for these opportunities and for allowing them to be a stepping stone to me maturing as an artist and ultimately taking me one step closer to my dream.
Local radio. What was it like hearing “If the World Was A Small Town” for the first time on the Big 955 Chicago?
BIG 95.5 has been incredible to me! They are truly an amazing group of people and it was such a surreal experience being able to hear my song on my hometown country radio station. I will forever hold a special place in my heart for them taking a chance on me and my music.
How did you choose “Young Got Old” as your debut single?
“Young Got Old” was my second single that I put out and I really just loved the nostalgic factor that the song brings. Listening to it always brings me back to my youth growing up with my friends and family making memories together.
Can you describe what it was like to take the stage for the first time in Music City?
Taking the stage for the first time in Music City is an amazing feeling. There is so much creativity and inspiration in that town and it really brings a great energy from the crowd for the live show.
Last year at CMA Fest. Performing at the Music Row Breakout Awards at CRS this year. What other shows/venues in Nashville are on your bucket list?
Your latest, “Part of Me”. What is your favorite lyric from the song?
Favorite lyric is “part of this whiskey burns, and part of it goes down smooth”.
What was the inspiration for the write?
My inspiration for the song was a breakup I was going through at the time and just battling the internal struggle of not being able to let go of this person even though I knew moving on was the best option for me. I remember having the idea part of me can’t be apart from you and then throwing it out to my cowriters (Victoria Banks and Justin Morgan) who jumped all over it and helped me bring it to life!
Performance | Joe Hanson - "Part of Me" | Music Videos S, E
Joe Hanson sings about missing someone he's trying to move on from in the music video for his cathartic single
Putting together ideas for the song’s video. The pace of the changing images lined up so well with the song’s tempo. Did you put together the storyboard for the video?
I did not put the storyboard together all the credit goes to my amazingly talented director Quinton Cook, he’s a genius!
Upcoming EP. Did you write any of the songs while at a writer’s retreat?
As of right now we are still finalizing what songs are going to be on the EP. I have all of them recorded but now it’s just a matter of deciding what songs fit with the message I wanna say with this EP. A good portion of the EP if all goes to plan, could potentially be songs I wrote over Zoom with cowriters during the quarantine.
Favorite place to write solo?
I normally have my best song ideas and creative thoughts when I am outside and being in stillness. During the quarantine I’ve been spending a lot of time outside around this lake near our house and it helps clear my head.
Silver linings even in the worst of times. What is the best life lesson you’ve learned during the time you’ve been quarantined?
The quarantine has truly been the biggest blessing of my life. Going into this shutdown I was in a good spot spiritually and had just started reading the bible for myself. Ever since quarantine started God very much opened my eyes and really set my faith and love for him on fire. The stillness, and being able to dive deep into scripture really has changed me as a person. I also have learned the importance of spending time with family, I’ve never been able to spend so much time making memories with the family and I love it.
Have you made a playlist of worship songs that have helped you through these difficult days?
I’ve been listening to worship songs on repeat lately here are a few of my faves.
Favorite bible verse that you’ve turned to during the pandemic?
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.
This is one of my favorite verses to go to in times like this. The bible says that God goes before us. That being said in any situation in life that we can’t understand or are struggling with, we can have assurance knowing He is truly a good and faithful father and knows what he’s doing. Often times I have realized that God uses heat, fiery trials and pressure to ultimately bring the divine purpose He put in you, out. Much like how a diamond is made. This quarantine very much took the world by surprise with everything going on, but it didn’t take God by surprise He’s already walked through this season of life and I know that He is using it for a very specific work that He has in mind. What the enemy uses for evil, God uses for His good and so I truly believe this is a wake up call to the world to get people to turn to Jesus and reprioritize what really matters and make miracles happen in people’s homes.
It is also interesting that Hebrews 12:27 says “the removing of those things which can be shaken, such as things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain”. God says what ever can be shaken, will be and whatever can’t be shaken will remain. To me this verse speaks very much about this quarantine. Everything that people thought was important including myself, that we built our foundations off of and gave priority to, was shutdown, it was shaken. The only thing that remained was our faith, our relationship with Jesus Christ.
What message do you have for fans wondering how they’ll navigate the ‘new normal’ when the quarantine ends?
I would encourage everybody to continue to turn to Jesus. My hope is that society rejects returning to “normal lives” but to have a true turning to Jesus with their lives moving forward. Just remember that it is okay to have feeling of anxiety, worry and fear that doesn’t make us unworthy that just makes us human! I wanna encourage everybody despite what we are going through and feeling to lean into faith and to look up. He’s been through this already so trust Him and take the time to grow deeper in a relationship with Him also spend time with your loved ones and make memories together.