Alumna Hannah Scott shares her musical journey with Durham First
You put your whole being into your music, don't you? I felt your passion,
I understood you!
These words were spoken to me after performing at an Open Mic Night in a pub on the outskirts of Ipswich in autumn 2005. I had just graduated from Durham and had returned to my home town. My plan, some may say idealistic, was to work for a year, earn some money and head to London (where everybody knows the streets are paved with gold) because all I wanted to do with my life was to move people I had never met. Just like the lady at the bar.
Music has always been a part of my life but perhaps surprisingly, I was brought up very much on classical music. I began piano lessons at four and at home listened to Mozart, not The Beatles. Bowing to peer pressure at High School, I started listening to chart music and by 15, I was listening to musicians who still influence my work today, artists such as Counting Crows, Alanis Morrissette and Sarah Mclachlan. At about this time I picked up a guitar for the first time and wrote a song.
If I could give one piece of advice to any young aspiring singer-songwriter it would be to live a bit. I have come across so many young girls of 17 or 18 who write immature songs - very much like mine at that age - and are so keen to follow their dream that they give up on opportunities for growing up, the very opportunities for inspiration: education, travel, moving away from home. For me, my time at Durham provided these opportunities.
It is my year abroad which stands out the most. I still can't believe that at 19 I jumped on a plane to Pisa to spend the next six months of my life in a Tuscan village in the middle of nowhere. I stayed for nine. I encountered so many new emotions there, from loneliness to belonging, from incomprehension to understanding, from falling in love to the pain of having to leave it behind, and for the first time I felt an innate need to translate them into music. Ever since, everything that has moved me has found its way into song.
Back in 2005, I met BBC Radio Suffolk's Stephen Foster at a ‘Suffolk Songwriters' night. He invited me to perform on his Drivetime show and shortly after, introduced me to Pat Grueber at Gemini Studios. In March 2006, we began working on my debut album, "Till Angels Fall", which we launched at Ipswich Town Hall in July 2007. I feel privileged to have worked with some great musicians on the album, including Mark Flanagan, guitarist with Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra.
I have been gigging almost solidly in London since the album's release. There have been some good ones and some bad ones but through it all I will keep on believing that those gold-paved streets are just around the corner...
Hannah Scott was at Hatfield College from 2001–2005 where she gained a BA (Hons) in Modern Languages.