Last November, Hanna Fentriss went to ComplexCon, the huge, annual pop culture festival in California, just for fun. While there, she entered a new artist contest for Puma on a whim. Then, with an unfinished song, the 23-year-old Dallas native won the top prize — the option of having her music in commercials for the trendy sports brand.
“It was one of those ‘We’re here, we might as well do it’ situations. When I let them hear my song I really wasn’t expecting it to get as much love as it got,” Fentriss says. “I was really in shock, because it was an unfinished song. You know, I thought it was dope but it’s my music.”
The song, titled “Swangin,” encouraged the singer to push on in a new direction. It wasn’t so different from the soulful R&B sound she had honed since teenage years, but it was more raw and emotional. She wrote three more songs upon returning home, and, with the help of Grammy Award-winning producer Malex, her debut EP, Under Construction was born.
“The EP took a natural turn when I realized how much potential that song had. Once I found that sound it was this side that i had never got to communicate to myself,” Fentriss says. “All this built up emotion that I was never able to release through my sound was suddenly free.”
“I was really in shock, because it was an unfinished song. You know, I thought it was dope but it’s my music.”
Under Construction will be released next month, along with a music video for “Swangin.”
The young artist, who performs under the stage name HANNA, is excited to share her experiences through music, even if some of them are painful.
“I’d love to say it’s the happiest music I ever made but it isn’t,” she admits.
“I think it was a more genuine side of me. I was able to relate my emotions into something that was catchy, and at the same time, working with Malex, the production got more genuine too. The production was able to hold up with the emotion of the song.”
For Fentriss, being authentic and open with her audience is crucial.
“My goal and my dream is to be able to share my music with the world,” Fentriss says. “I think one of the hardest things when you’re growing up is that you think you’re the only one going through this pain, but everyone is.”
The EP will be available on February 10th on Apple Music, Spotify and Tidal.