Hannah wanted to be a DJ. She clawed her way up the dance-music ranks for ten years. Now Hannah is wanted all over the world. According to both DJ Mag and Mixmag, the Birmingham, UK native was 2014’s Best Breakthrough DJ and Star of the Year. She thrilled crowds on January’s Holy Ship cruise. And she is about to headline her first U.S. tour, a continuation of the What Hannah Wants series that just crossed Europe.
These days, Hannah gets what Hannah wants because, well, she is Hannah Wants. However, she points out: “It’s taken a long time. People go, ‘Wow, that happened quick,’ but that’s not the case. Success, or just climbing that ladder, is something that takes years, and I’m glad it did. I learned so much, and I think you’ve got to be ready for what you’re about to take on.”
All along, Hannah knew she wanted the fans, the busy schedule, the accolades, but satisfying your desires often comes with some drawbacks too.
“I’m pretty shy. Nobody tells you about the other things you have to adapt to,” she says. “Like, for example, being noticed in airports or haters on YouTube or things like that. No one tells you about all the little bits that come with being somebody that rises to the top.”
But even though she has always been a private person, Hannah was never one to dwell on the negative things in life, and she attributes much of her slow-building success to a steady mindset, some grit, and lots of faith in her own work.
“Keep yourself to yourself,” she says, explaining one of the keys to her recent triumphs. “Focusing on other people can detract you from your goals. I’m all about positivity. I work on myself, what I wanna do, and focus on that. I think that’s a really key thing so you don’t get sidetracked.”
That kind of personal conviction and steadfast dedication to quality is what makes Hannah Wants a DJ’s DJ, and she’s determined to help save DJ culture from gimmickry.
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“I fell in love with the art of DJing before I got into making music,” she says. “When I first started, producers made music, passed it to the DJs, and the DJs played the music. Now it’s a case where you can make a Top Ten hit and you can get booked for a DJ gig. You might not have any DJ experience. People are having to quickly learn how to DJ, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to be a good DJ. The lines are all blurred now.”
And that’s why, Hannah explains, “I’m just trying to stand up for DJs. I’m just repping that little crowd of people that are in it for the pure love.”
Hannah Wants. With Pirate Stereo, Santiago Caballero, and Flynn Nolan. 10 p.m. Tuesday, April 21, at Bardot, 3456 N Miami Ave., Miami; 305-576-5570; bardotmiami.com. Tickets cost $20 plus fees via showclix.com. Ages 21 and up.