Interview: Carlie Hanson

Mood? Cooler than you. But when we sat down with 18-year-old Carlie Hanson at Bumbershoot, she was more than happy to share a bit about her pop roots and hip-hop idols with us. Raised in Wisconsin, Hanson popped onto our radar fresh off of YouTube, releasing a few singles, including “Why Did You Lie?” which now has over a million streams racked up on Spotify. Needless to say, Hanson’s star seems to just be taking off, and well, we’re here for it.

SMN: Okay first question! How did you start writing songs and singing and everything?
Carlie Hanson: Justin Bieber is like my biggest inspiration ever, so when I was like 9 or 10 probably, I must’ve heard him on the radio, and then just fell in love with him and what he was doing. Because he was just posting videos on YouTube all the time, and he was super young and getting so much love for it, and I was like “that’s what I want to do.” So I guess after that I just started writing, mostly in school because I hated school, so I would do anything to just not pay attention, so I was always writing and singing. But I think Justin Bieber is the main reason.

SMN: I love that, have you ever seen him in concert?
Carlie: I haven’t. I was supposed to see him live on his last tour, but he canceled it soooo…

SMN: You answered this one a little bit already, but who would you say are some of your other big musical inspirations?
Carlie: Definitely Frank Ocean…I have so many…oh, Nirvana! I actually just went to the Cobain house and saw that piece of history and it was just like the weirdest feeling. It was insane to see just how many people he touched and all the little messages on the benches outside his house, it was crazy. Anyways! I love Nirvana. And then like Justin Bieber—they’re all so different from one another—and Justin Timberlake, Usher. Troye Sivan is actually like—I’m going on tour with him and everything—but I just love his music. He has been super inspiring to me lately.

SMN: You mentioned the Cobain house, have you been around the festival this weekend?
Carlie: No I actually just landed yesterday, I really want to see SZA, but I’m super tired so I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it, but like I think I have to, I just have to see her.

SMN: Is there anyone else you’re super excited to be sharing the stage with?
Carlie: I mean SZA again for sure, but also J. Cole was here last night I think, and that’s just fucking crazy that I’m like at the same festival as him. So definitely them…and Lil Wayne! I heard his set was just like insane, I wish I could’ve seen him and J. Cole.

SMN: What’s one big goal you have as an artist?
Carlie: Hmm, okay, I guess I really want my own tour—my own stadium tour, that’s one big goal. I also really want to get a house, that’s really weird, but yeah and I just want to grow.

SMN: So you mentioned the tour with Troye, are you on the entire thing, or just a leg of it?
Carlie: Nah, I have a tour before that with this guy Jeremy Zucker until like October 9th, I think, and then I have a week off, and then I go on with Troye. But yeah, I think it’s like the end of his tour…or maybe middle? I don’t fucking know, but I’m excited!

SMN: What other projects do you have coming up? Besides the two tours, what else is in the future?
Carlie: I’m releasing an EP in the fall, so you better be on that, you better be listening! Haha but yeah, EP in the fall, that’s all I can say.

SMN: Awesome, so the last question is one we ask all our interviews: if you were stranded on a desert island, what’s one book, movie, and album you’d want with you?
Carlie: Ooo okay if I had one movie…one of my favorite movies of all time is this one called Gia, and Angelina Jolie is the main character in that, so I’d bring that. And then Tupac has this book, it’s like his poetry book, so I’d probably bring that. And one album….ooo that’s hard…I’d probably bring In Utero by Nirvana.

Interview and photos by Lulu Dawson