Review Fix chats with singer/songwriter Hanna Barakat, who discusses her career in music and creative influences, as well as her new track, Damage Done.
Review Fix: How did you get involved in music?
Hanna Barakat: I can honestly say I’ve been singing since before I could form sentences. I used to “write” songs and sing them at show and tell in kindergarten. For as long as I can remember, music has always soothed me. My parents were very encouraging and tried to get me involved in musicals and other music related productions when I was very young. I think I was about 3 years old when I was introduced to a recording studio for the first time. I was given the opportunity to sing the theme jingle for Radio Disney in Dallas with John Hooper, and I’ve been hooked ever since!
Review Fix: What’s your creative process like?
Barakat: When I get into the studio to start workshopping a new song, typically I lay down midi tracks of a chord change, so that I can start testing out different song structures on the fly, manipulate the midi to try out different instrumentation, and then start building on to the bones I create. Sometimes, by the time I sit down at my workstation, I’ve already written the song on my guitar. Other times, I just start with an idea, a vocal riff, a lyrical line, or just a chord change that Intrigues me.
Review Fix: What inspires you?
Barakat: That depends on the day! It could be anything really. One of my songwriting mentors called song inspiration triggers, “gems”. Sometimes these gems peak my ears in conversation, sometimes they end up flowing out in a long essay of lyric ideas, and most commonly I find inspiration in my day to day life. I am a very sensitive person, and as difficult circumstances, relationships, personal struggles, political situations and/or crises effect me, I feel compelled to process them the only way I know how – to write them into song. My songs are my catharsis.
Review Fix: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you?
Barakat: My unique style and sound merges Arab-oriental influences, as well as hard rock, for powerful and genuine connections with my audience. Socially and politically charged, my passion-driven compositions and performances often add eastern ornamentation, as well as other musical influences to transcend language and borders to touch the heart. My aim is to connect with others both those displaced from their homelands, being influenced by multiple cultures around them, while simultaneously reaching mainstream audiences that appreciate writings of personal encounters, relationships, life issues, and, of course, love.
Review Fix: How are your live shows different from your studio work?
Barakat: This album has been more than a labor of love, and it has been a decade in the making. With the help of my incredibly talented producer, John Moyer of Disturbed, my songs have finally transformed into their intended forms. My stories, my memories, and my melodies have a new voice. My aim for my stage performance is to represent the songs as they were recorded, giving them all the power and intensity my body possesses at every show!
Review Fix: What are your goals for the rest of 2019?
Barakat: With the album release set for mid August, my main focus is getting on the stage as much as possible. My band I are rehearsing and gigging as much as possible with the goal of a fall tour!
Review Fix: What’s next?
Barakat: Well… who’s to say, really? The options are limitless. I know that no matter what comes out of this record release, I will continue to push my limits on stage and in the studio, seek bigger and better opportunities, and most definitely start working on the next record!
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Barakat: With this record release comes the release of responsibility, in a sense, towards these 10 songs chosen for this record. Each song has been given all of my love, and I release them to the world as strong as I could possibly prepare them. I will soon begin a new chapter and start on the next record! And I can’t wait!