We’ve loved championing Hannah Ellis over the past few years, watching her career blossom and watching her release great song after great song. We realized that although we’ve featured her in a Swag Session (below) as well as had her as our guest musical artist at our very first Babes, Booze & Brunch event we haven’t really learned about her backstory so this week she is our Swag Spotlight.
Growing up in a small town, Campbellsville, Kentucky, Ellis grew up with two parents who were both wedding singers, always instilling a love for music from early on. She, of course, was influenced by 90s country, artists like Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Faith Hill, and Tim McGraw but she also listened to gospel music as well as 90s R&B.
She received a full scholarship to college but felt a pull towards making music while she was still in high school. Her parents told her that they would help fund her musical career as long as she attended school. She scheduled her classes at the University of Kentucky for the middle of the week and drove to Nashville on Fridays, making the most out of networking and making connections on the weekends. Officially making the move to Nashville after graduation in 2012 she tells us “It’s been so special, just because, doing it while you are driving back and forth from school is not ideal, but it really helped me to grow in my own way before I got here. I had the luxury of not growing up in front of my peers during those crucial discovery years.”
Her current single, “Friends Like These” was written with Melissa Fuller and Jason Massey after Ellis had a night out with some of her friends around town. “We just started talking about how some of our favorite memories that we’ve ever made, with friends from high school or college, some of my favorites were the ones we didn’t know we were making or the ones we didn’t go out planning to make,” she says. “Even though I wrote it about my friends when I sing it for these people in the crowd, it’s my anthem to them and for them because they are who I am spending my nights with and who I am hanging out with until 3 am and I love it.”
She spent the summer promoting her new single and on the road with pop singer-songwriter Gavin DeGraw. DeGraw who is most famous for songs like “Not Over You” and the theme song to One Tree Hill, “I Don’t Wanna Be” continues to impress and gain fans with his relatable lyrics, something Ellis explains she thinks is at the heart of her genre, country music. She tells us how welcoming his entire team was, how grateful she is for his mentorship during their summer together. We caught the tour last month at The Paramount out on Long Island, and we were so impressed to see Ellis perform for fans who she wouldn’t usually get to tap into on a regular country tour. “People tell me, ‘I don’t typically listen to country music but I love your stuff, you are winning me over’ and as an artist that feels so good for me personally but also good for our genre. We want others to realize we are making competitive music here.”
Looking ahead, Ellis tells us she is so excited about what is coming up in the new year and looks forward to releasing more music and meeting and making new fans. We can’t wait to continue to champion Hannah, an artist we truly love and believe in.
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