Hana Lili’s New Music Addresses The Uncomfortable Truth

Mixing vulnerable lyricism with a tempo sure to get you up and dancing, rising star Hana Lili’s new singles, ‘Basement‘ and ‘Iconic‘ are the perfect bedroom alt-pop cocktail. 

There’s something addictive about ‘Basement’: Hana’s distinctive, revealing voice, the energising beat running throughout the track, the clear honesty of the storytelling. It’s no wonder that even with just two EPs under her belt, the Welsh singer-songwriter is firmly setting herself up to be a staple of the alt-pop scene, having already shared the stage with the likes of Coldplay, Tom Grennan and Circa Waves, and will soon play The Great Escape festival in Brighton. 

‘Iconic’ surges with a tidal wave of sweet melody and abrasive guitars, as Hana’s songwriting possesses a broad alt-pop appeal but with the tumultuous growing pains that inform emo. Her voice hits a similar tonal balance: a clear, appealing vocal informed by the pained experience of being in a situation that came about more through over-thinking than because of any IRL events. It’s a song that is indicative of her growing following – each song evocatively capturing an intensely personal moment.

Having grown up in Sully, a small village on the Welsh coast with a strong local folk scene, storytelling was intertwined with her upbringing and now acts as catharsis for Hana, who uses her real-world experiences to drive her songwriting. ‘Basement’ tackles trust in a relationship, and the complex emotions that arise when a seemingly perfect relationship reveals its true colours, expressed not only in Hana’s lyricism but her incredibly delicate, revealing vocals that bring us back to our own heartbreaks-past. 

We caught up with Hana to hear about the meaning behind the lyrics, her dream collaboration, the artists she wants to bring up with her and more…

What did the songwriting process for your new single ‘Basement’ look like?

I wrote Basement at a time where I was processing my feelings about a breakup. The process was cathartic and really helped give a purpose to the turbulent feelings I was going through. I’m fortunate that I can turn experiences into songs, and use it as a silver lining, in hopes that it helps others who may relate as well.

How does it feel to release such vulnerable storytelling into the world?

I find it hard to be vulnerable in day-to-day life. Writing honestly and truthfully has always been the space I go to write my trail of thought and process my feelings. It’s more of a need than a want.

How much do you draw on your real-world experiences in your lyricism?

I tend to always write about life experiences, my mind and things I go through.

Can you take us through your thoughts behind the line, ‘Friendly fires in the basement’?

Friendly fires in the Basement is about how all along, in this seemingly great relationship there were lies hidden under the surface. All along, in the Basement of the relationship, there were fires that were burning, and inevitably, going to come out.

 How did you celebrate the release?

We were in the studio recording for the next single!

What can you tell us about your new single ‘Iconic’?

“‘Iconic’ is about a boy where it felt like everything happened but at the same time nothing at all. It was an
internal moment, and nothing more than that: never spoken about or acted on. The song poses a juxtaposition between the feeling of having a crush, and wondering if it was all in your head or if it actually really happened.”

Since the release of your first EP, ‘Flowers Die In The Summer’, how do you think your sound has evolved?

Playing live has definitely influenced my sound as I make more music. I’ve been really enjoying the process of collaborating on production with Daniel Newcombe in the studio and being inspired by watching more live music and performing live!

Can we look forward to a debut album any time soon?

I’ve been thinking about it a lot more recently. The idea of making a body of work, and telling a story sonically and lyrically through a record is such a dream! And I can’t wait for the time that I release an album.

It’s so exciting to see you’re playing The Great Escape! Do you have any pre-show rituals that you can’t go on stage without doing?

I don’t have any pre-show rituals! We as a band are obsessed with bananas and hummus at the moment (not together).

Have any moments from previous live performances stood out for you?

Seeing someone in the crowd singing the words for the first time. It made me emotional for sure!

As an artist set for a meteoric rise yourself, which other emerging artists would you like to bring up with you?

I love Mouth Culture at the moment! They’re awesome. I also saw Harry Strange live for the first time the other week which was really cool, his live show was epic. Swim School are epic and Catty!

Finally, do you have a dream collaboration you’ve set your sights on?

The producer Mike Crossey (Killers, Wolf Alice), I think his style of production is so exciting and awesome. Also, I’m absolutely loving The Beaches, Chappel Roan, Sabrina Carpenter and Deftones at the moment.

Follow Hana Lili on Instagram

Words: Megan Bowles