Tune Into: Carlie Hanson
Since 35 years already, Tommy Hilfiger is conveying an idea about diversity, style and free expression - and obviously this rings true with Tommy Jeans’ current collection and its connected campaign as well. Aptly titled “Tune Into“, the brand’s latest range offers a forward-thinking approach to fashion via freshly interpreted all American classics that got manufactured from innovative materials and denim that’s completely recyclable.
For the second time in a row the accompanying campaign and lookbook is carried forward through a handful of carefully selected up-and-coming artists and creative cats that even had the opportunity to photograph themselves in their very own personal surroundings - and one of these talents is LA-based Carlie Hanson. Originally hailing from Onalaska, Wisconsin, she moved to the Westcoast three years ago at the age of seventeen to finally focus on her career as a singer-songwriter. Lodown reached out to find out more about her journey.
Carlie, you’re based in LA’s Venice area. How’s the vibe there two days after the election as the world is still waiting for an official result?
There’s lot of anxiety, I think. I was kinda naive to believe that there will be a clear election result by the end of the actual voting day. It’s kinda hard to stay calm, to be honest. I mean, I don’t wanna jinx anything, but I think the Democrats are in a good spot at this point - so fingers crossed. But there’s a strange vibe... I was in Hollywood yesterday and a lot of stores were boarded up because a lot of people are afraid of possible riots. I mean in the current climate we’re living in over here in the US, it’s rather likely that these will happen anyway regardless of the election outcome... which obviously is kinda scary. It’s really unfortunate because it shouldn’t be like this, we shouldn’t be so divided.
You’re originally from Wisconsin, a state that isn’t necessarily known for being a pop cultural hotbed. How was it growing up there, was it difficult to have access to culture and diversity beyond all things Internet?
(laughs) Honestly, there’s nothing cool happening. It’s very rural, so I was mainly outdoors fishing or sledging. Thankfully I had an older sister who was heavily into music, and she was the one who taught me everything about all these pop idols like Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys... but there also was a darker side to her, so she introduced me to a lot of rock music as well. I’m from a tiny town named Onalaska, and I learned about pop music that way because there were no bands coming to our town... and my family’s background isn’t necessarily a wealthy one so there was no way to drive hours and hours to the next big city to see some bands playing live. (laughs) So thank God for the Internet! At a certain time you fantasize about going to NYC or LA as a teenager - even though Onalaska actually is a nice place to grow up. Having lived in LA for three years now, I entertain the idea of going back, because it is my home, I feel more comfortable there - I feel more like a better version of myself.
So moving to LA wasn’t necessarily a decision based on love at first sight but simply triggered by career choices?
Yeah, you can say that. You know, I was basically singing and making music my whole life. In 2016 I entered a competition where you could win tickets to see Zayn Malik live in concert if your cover of “Pillowtalk“ would be picked. I posted my version to my Insta and I Heart Radio reposted it... I didn’t win the competition but this talent agent got in contact with me because of it. Luckily my mom was very supportive, and so I ended up meeting these producers - and that’s what basically started my professional career as a musician. I was still in high school when all this happened, and I was still having a side job working at McDonalds. Eventually one of my songs did fairly well, and I was able to rent an apartment by myself - which felt fucking sick at that time.
How did this year, with all the new realities it was throwing at us, treating you so far? Did the lockdown maybe even work in your favor in terms of focusing on this particular part of your creative life even more prominently?
When it all started it was really tough for me to cope with it, to be honest. On the one hand, I had no idea what was going on the world, so I felt really anxious all the time. I was really panicking because there was no way to do sessions or play live anymore. But I learned to cope with it pretty soon: I got myself a bunch of new equipment and started to learn how to produce myself... (laughs) I mean I still am, and I’m not amazing at this point in any way. I already wrote quite a few songs prior to the quarantine so it became my priority to get these right. I mean that’s the beauty being part of the music industry... you can make music anywhere, anytime you want regardless of the circumstances.
Carlie, you’re one of the faces of Tommy Jeans’ latest campaign - please tell me a bit about how this happened.
Way prior to quarantine I was going to this event where Bebe Rexha was hosting this thing about women in the music industry - it’s basically a gathering where female producers, singers and musicians have lunch together and exchange experiences. It’s pretty hot. I was actually wearing Tommy boxers. Then suddenly this lady approached me, telling me that she’s actually working for Tommy and that I would look really good in one of their forthcoming campaigns. To be honest with you, at this point I wasn’t aware of their current collection... I was mainly sporting Tommy underwear.
What’s so special about particular underwear?
It fits so incredibly well... and I know I’m a girl and I should be wearing thongs or whatever. Looking back I think it was actually Aaliyah that inspired me to wear these boxers as well because she’s sporting them in a lot of her old photos - and I thought it looked incredibly hot.
What were your experiences while working on Tommy Jeans’ latest campaign? Did it offer you the opportunity to bring in your very own personality to a greater extend since you’re able to partially shoot with your very own phone?
This obviously helped a lot in terms of making it more personal and authentic - full disclosure here: a friend of mine is a really good photographer, and she helped me a bit with a few tips and tricks. It was great to do it in my very own environment, so to speak, because that’s where I actually live and breathe, that’s what I actually do in my everyday life. Hanging out in my lil’ backyard, dancing around, skateboarding. I really really love the outcome, it really feels personal and authentic to me.
What are the cards holding for Ms. Hanson in 2021... do you already have any kind of elaborate idea where your journey will take you?
I mean I just want to continue to create music - I just learned this year to basically do a lot of things musically by myself, so I definitely want to elaborate on that. I already released two EPs, so it feels like the right timing to think about putting out an album. It seems as if touring will be a difficult thing to do next year as well, so I’m looking forward to try to experiment with different sounds and sonics instead. It also would be cool being able to travel again, and write some place different than my apartment. Fingers crossed.