Pride Month Preview: An Interview with Folk Artist Hanne Kah

Hailing from Germany, the sensational band Hanne Kah has been capturing hearts around the world with their infectious sound and magnetic stage presence. With their recent performance at Kansas City’s Folk Alliance in the United States, their international fame continues to soar, solidifying their status as a musical force to be reckoned with.

Recognized for their exceptional talent, Hanne Kah has garnered widespread acclaim from esteemed platforms such as Spotify’s New Female Pop Artists playlist, Berlin On Air, and the UK Independent, among others. Their previous releases have received high praises, resonating with audiences both locally and across Europe.

At the forefront of the band’s captivating sound is their charismatic singer, whose unwavering passion fuels their drive for success. Embracing their role as ambassadors for German pop music, they are determined to showcase the exceptional quality of the country’s music scene on a global scale. They firmly believe that German artists deserve equal recognition alongside established international bands, striving to shatter boundaries and prove their worth.

Pictured Above: Hanne Kah

1) You just released your latest single “Trick Me”. The song stems from negative professional experiences in the industry – can you expand on how these experiences affected you creatively? And what do you hope fans take away from the message?

It was and is a process to live through these things and learn how to handle them. It takes a lot of self-esteem! Creatively, these experiences made me stronger. And they gave me clarity in my position and my own vision of myself as an artist and my music. I no longer accept advice that doesn’t feel right or doesn’t fit me. And that doesn’t only count for the music industry but for everything in life. To me, the most important thing is how we treat each other with kindness. I believe this value outweighs any career aspirations I may have. I wish for every person that they can take themselves as they are and that people see them as they are. Everyone has to give something that is incredibly valuable and it shouldn’t be measured by others. Trick Me isn’t about telling someone to shut up. It says: it’s okay to focus on your own goals and not get caught up in others’ expectations or priorities. Play your own game.

2) You are from Germany! Can you tell us a little bit about how the LGBTQ+ music scene in Germany has evolved. What would you like to see get even better?

I grew up in a small German town which is very idyllic but not very urban. So when I grew up and outed myself as a queer woman wanting to pursue a musical career made me rather exotic in this environment. There were close to no people like me on the German stages and I never had role models to look up to (at least no German ones). When I was a grown-up and started to attend or play PRIDE parades I got to know queer artists. Queer and Gay people in the German media are portrayed as pretty biased, with a lot of stereotypes. Calm, and emotional aren’t seen at all. I mean we are here obviously but better known within our own community and not in the mainstream. It’s extremely important for me to go out on stage and show myself as I am. I think that is very important to create visibility and be a role model for the younger generation. I really wish for the German mainstream market to open up for diversity. But that’s not only a German problem I think.

3) Tell us about your favorite LGBTQ+ film, TV series, book, play, music, artwork, or person – something that has really resonated with you over the years and why. How has their art inspired you creatively?

It’s a dangerous question to ask me because this answer is going to have a lot of words! I consider myself a nerd. Okay, warned you in advance. There are so many great plays and TV series and books and so on. And I think they really help to create visibility and are so important for our community. If I had to choose a series it would probably be The L word, because it was the very first time that I could see women kissing on German TV. I used to stay up very late even on school days because they would only show the series in the middle of the night just to see “my people“ for the first time. I think as a teen I really needed that. I needed to see that I am not the only female person on earth that is into girls. Another series that touched me deeply is Sense8 by the Wachowskis. They melted the binary system to the ground and took sexuality in common sense with them. They show how society could be free if we just shook off the shackles that were put on us by social standards. I know you didn’t ask about video games in specific BUT there are two games that affected me really creatively. The first one is The Last Of Us. The whole game is a masterpiece and the game’s soundtrack as well. After I finished the first game alongside my bassist Niklas, we sat down after playing 10 hours through the whole day and wrote the song „Fall Again “ just because the ending touched us so much. The second one is Life Is Strange and I will stop right here because if I try to put in words how beautiful the love story within the game is, this interview will be way too long.

4) Tell us about how you met your band and. How often do you perform and where?

I met my guitarist and best friend Patrick in 2009, we were pretty young back then. The first gig we ever played together happened to be a band contest which we won. The first prize was a professional recording session so we were just thinking it was destiny to stick together. The rest of the band (Malte on drums and Niklas on Bass) joined in 2015. I love the boys, they are family! Before Covid struck we played about 90 shows a year also touring Australia and Canada. This year we debuted the USA and I love it there!

5) If you could open for any musician on tour, who would it be and why?

One of the most important artists for me in my youth was Brandi Carlile. I saw the first live show of hers in 2008 in Switzerland – my mother drove me there. She said I was just standing there watching the show for the first 4 songs, mouth open and unable to move. I didn’t even applaud. I couldn’t relate more to her as she was a gay woman rocking the stage, just as I wanted to. I was still very young back then, sitting in a small German town, not really believing in myself as a musician, especially because I was female and queer and there were close to no people like me on any German stages. She was giving me the courage to pursue my dream. If I had the chance to open a show for her – I could die happy afterward. But first I would give her a hug.

6) What is something you’d like to tell young, aspiring musicians in the queer community? Perhaps some advice that you wish someone had given you?

I’m not sure if I’m wise enough to give advice, but I’ll give it a try anyway. It may sound cheesy but the first thing that I’d like young queers to know is: You are not alone. No matter where on this crazy big earth you are, there are people like you and these people see you. We are here and we are hitting the stages of the world little by little so that you can see us as well and get the courage to enter the stage and live your life! There is a German saying that was really important to me as well: Der Weg ist das Ziel. “The journey is the goal“. I made so many great memories on my musical path so far that I wouldn’t miss any one of them. Even the bad ones when I didn’t feel like I could succeed in anything. It made me stronger. The way is just important as being the big major artist, that I imagined being as a child because what happens alongside pursuing this dream is life. And I think we should embrace this journey. This is really good advice indeed because it feels like I just gave them to myself. I need to do this more often!

7) Where do you hope to see your music career in 5 years? 10?

Tricky question because nothing is predictable as Covid showed. I can imagine being touring a lot in the USA in 5 years. Even in 10 years. Ever since I was a child, it has been clear to me that my passion lies in creating music and performing it for live audiences. It grew inside of me from the very start like a seedling towards the light. So I guess that is what I will do… Oh, and I want to play sold-out Red Rocks for sure. Madison Square Garden would be nice, too.