— Sandy Shore- smoothjazz.com
“Hannah Cooper is a high-wire artist working without a net... far beyond the boundaries of singer/songwriter music. It is a pleasure to hear her.”
— Cosy Sheridan (Singer/Songwriter, Moab Folk Camp Founder)
“An intoxicating delight!”
— Laurell Reynolds (Host of the Folk Show on Jefferson Public Radio)
“There's something gentle about Hannah Cooper's songwriting and execution. In the same token, there's something brave about Cooper's songs. It's a combo that makes her not just any other folksy singer-songwriter. ”
Bay Area performer/singer/songwriter, Hannah Cooper, creates a sound that defies categorization. With songs that embrace her years of jazz guitar and classical choral training, Hannah employs brave storytelling — delivered with theatrical flair — to engage and delight audiences. Grab a chair and prepare to be transported by stories layered in chords, textures and lyrics. Listeners who come expecting a "just another" singer-songwriter will be simply blown away.
Hannah often hears that her music is "different." KPIG Radio's "Please Stand By" host Sleepy John teased Hannah in an on air interview, "Do you know who you remind me of? ...nobody. Not anybody. I've never heard anybody do what you do. And that's good!" Indeed, few modern musicians are the granddaughter of a showboat operator. Rather than follow the lead of her generation’s singer-songwriter heroes, Hannah has created a sound that is a throwback to an earlier time, when some things seemed simpler but the music was much more complicated. She inherited a talent for storytelling from a family steeped in the showboat business and musical theater, but Hannah’s years of classical/jazz guitar training are what allow her the versatility to truly captivate audiences.
Hannah’s parents were the first major source of love in her life, raising her in an environment of acceptance and honesty in the rural outskirts of Brainerd, Minnesota. Although Hannah always knew she was “different”, and certainly grew up in a world that would classify her as such, that sense of being an outsider never came from within her family. In fact, the opposite was true — with a father who had once worked as a professional actor, characters were welcome in her home.
Introspection of the honest kernel of ourselves is a challenge in a world of expectations amplified by social media. Hannah is by nature profoundly introspective -- an introvert constantly drawn to the question of what it means to be a good human. From a young age, she has been rooted in acting with love, honesty, and respect, and those words are tattooed on her shoulder. Clearly a theme in The Generation Song, Hannah is deeply disturbed by materialism. In high school, she cleared out her room, trading out her bed for a cot, recalling that she "loved it! It was so simple!" Her first love, astutely introduced her to Thoreau's Walden Pond. The concept to "simplify, simplify” resonated with her, and is reflected in many of her songs. Though her layering of melody, complex guitar work and thought-provoking lyrics may be complicated, the message is not.
“Buy, buy, I buy things all the time,” she sings in The Generation Song, “they say it’s what I need, but what I need starts from seeds.”
The “seeds” are a reference to Hannah’s first job out of high school on an organic farm, but it wasn’t long until Hannah left the fertile farmland of Minnesota to explore a new life on the West Coast.
There, she fell in love again and took on a number of adventures, including bicycling across the country to see Walden Pond with her own eyes. Inspired by such, she returned home to Oregon and built a tiny house of her own downsizing her life to focus on music
Entering her thirties, Hannah continues to write original songs, but seasoned by the experiences her life has shown her. To better express all that is in her heart, Hannah began studying with jazz guitarist Bill Leonhart in 2015. A seven-string guitar virtuoso, Bill is also the brother of internationally renown bassist, Jay Leonhart. Having been under the influence of such teachers has sprouted musical influences such as Cole Porter, Jerome Kern, Roger Hammerstein and more modernly- John Williams, James Horner, Punch Brothers and The Beatles.
Finding it irrational to limit the reach other influences in her life, Hannah embraces open and radically honest relationships. She considers these deep human connections to be her greatest source of personal growth and musical inspiration. These stories, of course, play out in some of her best songs, including "A Time for Truth", which won best song in a regional competition of the West Coast Songwriters in Spring 2018.
At this stage, she is still profoundly introspective and now constantly drawn to the question of what it means to write a great song. Her vision for great music is not bounded by traditional song structures, chords, or genres. As one new fan commented, "Hannah's songs are great in a way that I never knew songs could be great!" She is delighted to create beautiful songs that anyone can appreciate, but she challenges herself to write songs that even highly trained musicians will find engaging. Indeed, some of her highest praise comes from other skilled musicians. Still, her aim is to connect with her audience, bring beauty into their world with her talents, and encourage them to embrace all that makes them beautifully unique.
She is currently performing in California, Oregon and beyond.