Spotlight Series #8: Hannah Zale of Boomfox

Hannah Zale is a near perfect example of someone working on a dream daily. When she’s not fronting her local Athens band, Boomfox, she’s learning how to be better–never completely satisfied, and never lacking humility. She doesn’t have to tell anyone this. Her transparency is refreshing and honest. She transcends any expectations of a local band and has an otherworldly stage presence that you can’t look away from. Want to get catch some of her inspiration? Read on to learn about what fuels her career and her wide range of muses.
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Meet Hannah Zale.
Currently: What are you doing with your life?
I am in an Athens-based rock band called Boomfox. We are about to release our second self-recorded EP “Beech Valley.” I also am the marketing director of A La Mode Salon in Atlanta…a girl has to have a day job.
Top 3 all time favorite songs…go.
“At Last” Etta James
“Right Through You” Alanis Morisette
“Lola” Kinks
What does music mean to you?
Music is everything. It transcends time, language, and culture to connect people in a way that nothing else can. To me personally, music is past, present, and future. It’s the way I life my life and the best way I know how to express myself. Music is the fire that fuels my every move.
What is the best live show you’ve ever seen? What made it amazing?
Best show ever, huh? Probably the Flaming Lips at the Tabernacle in Atlanta. It felt like a celebration of life; like it was everyone’s birthday. Every person in the crowd was smiling from ear to ear and you could just feel the love there. Kristin Chenoweth at Cobb Energy is a close second…the woman can SING (and perform)!!
What artists are you listening to these days?
I am listening to random YouTube cover artists lately. I get tired of hearing the same crap on the radio, but these young and unknown artists use their style and creativity to breath new life into pop songs. I also feel like I get better at arranging when I study these versions.
What do you wish there was more of in the music scene today?
I wish there were more women. Women as artists, managers, agents, promoters, accountants, and label executives. Women as sound crew, producers, engineers, and advertisers. Women as anything but the naked asses in music videos. It’s our time to shine.
What is your dream job?
Easiest question you’ve asked thus far. My dream job is to be a rockstar. I want to share the music that I write with the world. I want to perform on a different stage every night and get paid for it. I want to use my music to enact change for the betterment of society, in both social and environmental capacities. I also want to be a mom, but I need at least 10 years before all of that.
Who inspires you?
Local inspirations are my mom and dad, best friends, classmates, random people I see in WalMart. More distant inspirations are artists like Gwen Stefani, Beyonce, Michael Buble, and Miranda Lambert. I think all of these performers own their uniqueness and value their art.
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Spotlight Series #7: Hampton Wall

Hampton is an officer of badassery with the sweetest of hearts. She is driven, helpful, and so smart. She’s the kind of person that always has a friend’s best interest in mind and works hard to make you feel good, even when you feel the opposite…AND she has an amazing appreciation for music, live shows, and band loyalty. Some things in this world just aren’t fair.

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Meet Hampton.

3 favorite songs…go.

-New Slang (The Shins)

-Snails (The Format)

-Casimir Pulaski Day (Sufjan Stevens)

What does music mean to you?

“What passion cannot music raise or quell” Every thought, emotion, feeling, and desire can be evoked from music. I’m weak to it’s ability. I mean, I’m willing to base my entire lifelong career around music, so I guess you’d say it’s important to me.

What is the best live show you have ever seen? What made it amazing?

Maybe (MAYBE) Mumford and Sons two years ago. They sounded so wonderful. They sang a few songs a cappella and it was magical. So much talent in one group. But it’s way too difficult to choose the BEST show I’ve ever seen. In the past year? Probably Sufjan Steven’s Christmas Show. He is hilarious and so talented. I’ve never been to a Christmas themed concert before, and it was one huge tacky Christmas party with some of my favorite carols sung by one of my favorite artists. Doesn’t get much more merry than that.

What are you listening to these days?

Shovels & Rope, Vampire Weekend, Wild Belle.

What do you wish there was more of on the music scene?

I wish there were more jobs in the music scene. I think there is so much that goes into the music industry but the job market is too narrow. But maybe I’m bitter because I’m a post-grad student lacking a full time job.

What’s your dream job?

ANY JOB! Probably to be a road scout or a job in A&R. I love to travel and I love new music. It would be great to be able to get paid for traveling and discovering new music. But the pay is horrible. If I could create my own job. I would be a local Album cover designer. Bands would come to me with their new music and the direction they are taking and I would design their album artwork, whether it be photography, graphic design, etc.

Who inspires you?

Chelsie Rohlen. Ummmm…Jack White. I just want to be him. To be that original and possess that much talent. He could change the world. Hes already changed mine

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Spotlight Series #6: Cadence Turpin

You don’t have to look too hard to find out what Cadence is listening to. She’s probably the best non-celebrity* to follow on Spotify or Twitter, always making the best sensationally seasonal playlists of songs you love, songs you haven’t heard of, and songs you want to play repeatedly. She has a giving, joyous spirit and taste for music best accompanied by soul, depth, and dancing shoes.

(*Debatable. Cadence is really cool.)

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Meet Cadence Turpin.

 Top 3 all time favorite songs…go.

This is literally the hardest thing I’ve ever even attempted to do because I am a firm believer that music moves with you and rotates as you grow. There are so many songs I love that only resonate with me in certain seasons of life, or because of some nostalgic memory I’ve attached to them. I have a hard time knowing knowing if my favorite songs should be the ones that have a certain dearness to me due to the seasons they met me in, or the ones I adore more for their actual overall composition or melodies. I tried to pick in the middle– songs that I’ve always loved for a mixture of the reasons above and ones that span genres, which reflects my diverse taste in music. I also picked four, because I can’t F***ING do this.

Clocks – Coldplay

Chicago – Sufjan Stevens

Clarity – John Mayer

Inner City Blues – Marvin Gaye

What does music mean to you?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been deeply fascinated with the endless possibilities and beauty in creative expression, whether it’s writing, on canvas or through a mic. Music connects us, it makes us feel known and it brings feelings to the surface that we didn’t even know where there. It gives us permission to have those feelings – it teaches us to hope, it sets us free. It has the power to take us back to specific moments in time or seasons of life, making it so intricately woven into our stories. I love that no matter what culture or class we come from, music means something to each of us. No matter how much I’ve listened, there is always another song being written that’s just waiting to knock the breath out of me or just might cause me to spontaneously invite the neighbors over for a dance party. I like to believe this was maybe God’s intention – that music would stir us and ultimately bring us together.

What is the best live show you’ve ever seen? What made it amazing?

This question in tough mostly because I’ve been to so many incredible shows over the years, especially since living in Nashville. However, I think seeing Brandi Carlile at the Nashville Symphony Center this Spring was right at the top. Her voice is so unbelievably pure and projected amazingly inside the symphony center. Brandi’s also an incredible songwriter, so seeing her live was also like listening to a series of beautiful and honest stories play out. There were moments where I forgot to breath, or we all stomped our feet and hollered, and others when tears involuntarily welled up in my eyes at the beauty of what was coming through my ears. At one point, she led the audience in three part harmonies while the symphony played behind her, and I honestly remember thinking it would be just fine if I just so happened to keel over right there. A mixture of a gorgeous venue, listening crowd, a powerful symphony and one of the best voices of our time (in my opinion), made it amazing. I’ll never forget it!

What artists are you listening to these days?

So many. And they are all over the board, as usual. Gregory Alan Isakov’s latest, Daughter, Tegan and Sara, Haim, Emeli Sandé, Miguel, Leagues, Alpine, Generationals, Little Green Cars, On An On, The 1975, Atlas Genius, Macklemore, Lorde.

What do you wish there was more of in the music scene today?

Experimental and lyrically driven hip-hop/R&B. Artists like Emeli Sandé, Lorde, Macklemore, Bruno Mars and others have started to dip into this and I’ve loved it. It’s reminded me of artists I grew up listening to like Marvin Gaye or Michael Jackson who were leaders in their genres, bold enough to do new things with their production and go past surface level content in their lyrics, all while keeping grooves and hooks that you can’t help but move and hum along to. I’d love to see more of these type of artists start to emerge!

What is your dream job? 

My dream job is anything where I get to create a space or platform for good works to be celebrated. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve always been fascinated by the variety of things and ways that people create, and coupled with that, I’m passionate about bringing people together around things that matter. This has made me a natural advocate for artists, writers, designers, chefs, musicians and more whose work I admire and believe is something special. At this point in life, I imagine I will do many different things throughout the span of my time here on earth, but I know I will always be enthusiastic and full if I am helping tell the story of or celebrate the things I love. Maybe this means I’ll write music reviews or work in publishing. Maybe it means I’ll be a food writer or help my friend who’s an incredible chef open a restaurant. Maybe it means I’ll work in social enterprise, branding and promoting a company or organization I love. I think I would feel like I’m living my dream in any or all of those scenarios.

Who inspires you?

Anne Lamott, because she’s an incredible storyteller, isn’t afraid to feel and express herself and has taught me much about the importance of writing and celebrating the things you love in this life through her writing. Justin Timberlake because he is someone who has allowed himself to venture into many endeavors through life and has musically taken risks and seen great reward in doing so. But most of all and at the risk of sounding cheesy, my friends in Nashville, because they are the people I see day in and day out that are chasing their dreams, encouraging my ideas and creating art that matters and continuously awes me.

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Spotlight Series #5: Kimber Lawson

Kimber’s passion for music is apparent in everything about her. Her boho (but not the tired boho trend–the more beautiful, draped, carefree style) look, her easygoing laugh and conversation. She lives and breathes her musical taste, and is more than happy to share with you her favorite songs, the history of a producer, or what soundtrack changed her life. She is pure joy.

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Meet Kimber Lawson.

Top 3 all time favorite songs…go.

Marvin Gaye: Got to give it up

Tipper-Algae Bloom in Seven

The Cardigans-Lovefool

What does music mean to you?

To me, music means freedom. The freedom to explore your mind, social interactions, and physicality in new and expansive ways. This exploration is enabled through music that challenges and stimulates you on a range of levels.

What is the best live show you’ve ever seen? What made it amazing?

After going to roughly a dozen music festivals and seeing hundreds of live shows, I can firmly say that Dave Tipper’s set at Gnarnia last summer was the best performance I’ve ever witnessed. The crowd consisted of interconnected crews of friends from across the south east, the stage production was absolutely next level, and the sound was perfection.

What artists are you listening to these days? Dave Tipper (obviously), Alt J, Bonobo, Boombox, Futexture, Push/Pull, Thriftworks, Brooke Candy, Die Antword, and this great producer named kLLsmth I just recently discovered. And of course…Beyonce.

What do you wish there was more of in the music scene today?

I wish there was more accessibility in terms of production and promotion. A lot of times relationships and social connections determine the level of an artist’s success (i.e. Bassnectar) and, while this is totally valuable and wonderful, it is also important to have venues and events where new artists are able to showcase their talent. I would also like to see more communication across genres and less pretentious behavior on the part of promoters, bookers, and managers.

What is your dream job? (Can be music or non music related.)

My dream is to be the director of a major museum or art center. I want to manage and build a collection that incorporates interactivity into its core values. I would also like to manage an already established collection and work to keep classical and modern art relevant to contemporary society.

Who inspires you?

My mother, Beyonce, and Michelle Obama. Basically all strong women who have strong work ethics.

 

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Bonus pic because Kimber is beautiful.

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Spotlight Series #4: Kayla Schmandt

Kayla has an amazingly diversified, genre defying  musical palette that sets her apart from most people that I’ve met who are interested in music. See what the Led Zepplin loving music fiend had to say about surrendering to music and her top artists and live show.

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Meet Kayla Schmandt.

Top 3 all time favorite songs…go.

Going to California – Led Zeppelin (But let’s be real… anything by Led Zeppelin… Misty Mountain Hop, Thank You, When the Levee Breaks, anything really)

Bring It On Home To Me – Sam Cooke (It’s Another Saturday Night may be tied with this one)

Midnight Train to Georgia – Gladys Night & The Pips

What does music mean to you?

I think Brian Eno said it best when he described music as a complete surrender. I see music as a surrender from everything; a way to truly feel however I’m feeling. I also think music is the sole universal communicator – it transcends races, generations, religions. It’s a release, a passion, and an inspiration for me.

What is the best live show you’ve ever seen? What made it amazing?

Well, there have been so many… I guess if I had to pick one, it would probably be the last time I saw Father John Misty at Terminal West in Atlanta. Though I enjoy a good amphitheater show, I find them very impersonal, so I was really digging the intimacy at Terminal West. Not only was Father John Misty musically incredible (as always), his crowd involvement and excitement still has me reeling.

What artists are you listening to these days?

Again, there are so many, but to name a few: Half Moon Run, Radiation City, Phosphorescent, Led Zeppelin (always haha), Rhye, Isbells, Wildcat! Wildcat!, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Born Ruffians, and many, many more!

What do you wish there was more of in the music scene today?

I wish people purchased more physicals to support their favorite bands. I think it would be awesome for people to not only BUY digital downloads, but to pick up that CD, that vinyl, that T-shirt, that sticker, that whatever just to help that band out. I think there is a trend starting to move back to that, which is great.

What is your dream job?

There are so many cool opportunities in the music industry, it would be hard for me to define a specific place or job I’d want to have, so I’ll just say that it is my dream to have a job where I can help develop an artist’s career from beginning to end. I want to help be responsible for someone being able to share their music with the world – no matter in what way that is. Who/what inspires you? The bands that I get to work with everyday are my inspiration. Their talent, their desire, and their passion should be inspiration for everyone. Them and my mother.

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Spotlight Series #3: Chelsea Tench

No introduction by me needed. Chelsea, a PR graduate from UGA, spills her guts out in this one. You just might learn a thing or two.

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Top 3 all time favorite songs…go.

Let me preface this question by saying this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, so I just picked 3 of my favorite songs and these aren’t necessarily my top because I literally cannot choose.

1. Play Crack the Sky by Brand New. This song is the acoustic closing track to Brand New’s second studio album, Deja Entendu, and tells the story of a crew and their sinking ship lost at sea during a storm. It’s a very calm song for such a tragic story. This is one example of a songwriter (Jesse Lacey) writing perfect lyrics that describe how you felt during a certain point in your life that you have to wonder if he was standing right beside you when everything was going wrong. Now obviously I’ve never died on a ship during a storm, but the lines of this song are flawless. Between the gorgeous lyrics that make you feel all the feelings, the harmonies and melody, this song is very sad, but very, very beautiful.

2. You Are My Sunshine by Johnny Cash. Ugh. I love Johnny Cash so f**king much. I grew up listening to his old records with my mom and stepdad. This song has always been one of my favorites, regardless of the artist, but for my 16th birthday, my nana called a local radio station and requested this specific song to be played for me for my birthday. So with the combo of it being Johnny AND this song AND I have a sweet memory tied to it, this is easily one of my favorites.

3. The Trapeze Swinger by Iron and Wine. I remember the first time I heard this song; I was like 14 and literally stopped everything I was doing and turned my headphones up as loud as they would go and just sat there. Two years earlier, I had dealt with the death of my little brother. It was a really traumatic experience at a difficult age- hell, it’s traumatic and difficult no matter the age of a person. But when I heard this song, it made me cry. For like 20 straight minutes. Sam Beam earned his way to my heart with the lyrics in this song, which to me, is told from the perspective of a man who has died and is looking back on his life with nostalgia and doesn’t want to be forgotten. I related this song to the death of my brother and the lyrics being everything my brother would say to me if he could. “Please remember me, happily/Please remember me, fondly” etc. Though I can’t say enough about how much this song touched me, I think the song is too perfect to go on and on about. So if you haven’t heard it- please go listen.

What does music mean to you?

Music is my life. Seriously. I know that’s such a cliché to say, but it’s always had an extremely large presence in my life. I grew up listening to music all the time with my parents; Johnny Cash, Norman Greenbaum, Hendrix, Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Rush, AC/DC, Zeppelin, country music, gospel music, anything and everything. I would go to sleep at night with music on. I’d wake up and listen to music. I’d go to school and sing in chorus class. I grew up going to shows and was always hungry to find the next band or artist to share with someone else. Not much has changed, considering I fly across the country to see some of my favorite bands and always have headphones on and will talk for hours about it to anyone willing to listen. But music has always been more than a hobby or something I enjoy for fun. It saved my life. It helped me through my brother’s death. It helped me overcome clinical depression, more than once. It helped me through so many really difficult times in my life. It is the one thing I could not live without because it’s the only one thing that has always been there to help.

What is the best live show you’ve ever seen? What made it amazing?

New Year’s Eve, 2011. Brand New. Atlantic City, New Jersey. This show. Holy shit. That fall, Brand New had announced a couple shows in New York and Jersey that I tried to get tickets to because, hey, if your favorite band never comes down near you, you’ve gotta go to them. So I would skip classes at UGA to go find reliable wi-fi (f**k PAWS) and try to get tickets, but had no such luck. Their shows sell out in 20 seconds or less. So a few days later, I woke up to a notification that Brand New was playing a special show on New Year’s Eve in Atlantic City. It was the 10-year anniversary show of Your Favorite Weapon, their first album. So the day tickets went on sale, I skipped class, had my credit card ready, and bought tickets, plane tickets and booked the hotel room for me and my friend. It was literally the best decision I’ve ever made. Waiting in line for the show, I met some people from Philadelphia and some have become my best friends that I would do anything in the world for. Aside from meeting some of my very best friends that night, Brand New played 3 sets. The first was acoustic, the second was their entire first album, and the last was a set of the most requested songs by fans. They played some songs that even the most avid Brand New concert-goer had never heard live. I met and talked to Vin Accardi, the guitarist. Jesse Lacey gave my best friend Billy a Happy New Year tiara and a high-five. I got stuck in a mosh pit. I crowd surfed. My sweater was ripped in 3 places after. After the show, I hopped on a plane and was back in Athens 6 hours later. And now, over a year and a half later, I talk to the friends I made that night all the time. It was easily the best night of my entire life.

What artists are you listening to these days?

I have been alllllllll about The Front Bottoms lately. They’re a duo from New Jersey and they are SO FUN AND CATCHY. I saw them in Atlanta last month and then again in San Francisco a few weeks ago and their shows are some of the most fun ones I’ve ever been to. They just released their second album, Talon Of The Hawk, which is better than their first, in my opinion (they’re both killer, though). They’re always playing shows or doing SOMETHING, which I really admire. You can tell they really love what they do and they’re just trying to have fun. I suggest their tracks: Flashlight, Skeleton, Twin Size Mattress and Maps. A few others I’ve been listening to are Into It. Over It., Man Overboard, Real Friends (if you like some pop-punk they released a new EP a few weeks ago that is sick), Tigers Jaw, Bad Books (I could go on the longest ramble about the love I feel toward Andy Hull, but I’ll spare you) and Lorde. Because Royals. Is. Dope.

What do you wish there was more of in the music scene today?

I can tell you what I wish there was LESS of in the music scene: assholes at shows. I’ve always wondered why good concert tickets happen to bad people. I try to stay away from all ages shows and even some 18+ shows, because there’s always someone or a group of people to ruin everyone else’s good time by starting a moshpit during a f**king slow song or something. I’m all for having fun and dancing at shows and I want people to have fun, but really. I’m too old for that shit. Just let me hang out and dance a little and drink my beer without fearing for my life. Examples of this recently: Say Anything at the 40 Watt (the closest I’ve come to death) and Brand New at Penn State’s Movin’ On fest (I had the vinyl record I had just bought with me and I had to choose between protecting the vinyl or getting beat up while in a good spot in the crowd. Yeah. I chose the vinyl). Oh, and I guess my answer to this question is more vinyls. Mooooooore vinyls!

What is your dream job?

Editor or layout designer for NYLON magazine or Rolling Stone. Rolling Stone because music, politics, current events- obvious choice for the audiophile/journalism major that I am. NYLON because music, fashion, art, films and girly shit. And I love me some girly shit.

Who inspires you?

Musically, Andy Hull. I have so much respect for him it hurts. Plus his songwriting is flawless. Plus his voice sounds like golden honey covered in chocolate rolled around in Jesus tears. Ugh. I can’t handle it. He works hard (aside from Manchester Orchestra, he and Kevin Devine released Bad Books II last year and are still doing shows for Bad Books and he wrapped up his side project Right Away, Great Captain! last year) and he never seems to take time off. Manchester is recording their next studio album and Andy is doing collaborations with people like Frightened Rabbit and Grouplove (their Record Store Day release is awesome) AND Andy organizes Manchester’s Thanksgiving concert every year, The Stuffing. The man is always doing something. And it’s not half-ass shit. He is fantastic and wonderful and more musicians need to be like him. In my life, my mom and dad. My dad is my rock. He is a great man who loves the simple joys life brings. He loves music and art and can paint some of the most amazing pictures I’ve ever seen. My mom is the strongest person I know. She has been through literally everything a person can possibly go through and she is still the most amazing light in my life. She is the most free-spirited, fun, loving, sassy, independent, opinionated person I know. They’re both the loves of my life and I’m so lucky to have been raised by two incredible human beings.

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Your Swelter Weather Playlist

It’s tricky weather this time of year. One minute it’s raining so hard that you’re slipping in your flip flops running across a parking lot, the next it has you longing for the nearest body of water. Your house is it’s own sector of Hades, and you’ve pretty much resigned to the idea of sleeping with any clothes on. What can make the dog days a little better? Ah, none other than a little summer playlist to help you sweat it out. Whether you’re braving the heat for an outdoor run or attempting to chill on the couch, let this diverse, genre defying playlist be your go to.

 

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