“I introduced myself as an actress, not as a singer, which is so weird, but lately, in the back of my head, I’m like, you’re both now.”
A dewy Friday morning, just before sunrise, IBI HAN gathered her close friend, a camera, an outfit change, and piled her belongings into an Uber. While brainstorming the treatment for her new single TEMPTING, she envisioned an intimate solo dance, an inviting two-piece get-up with Brighton beach on the horizon.
This visual, along with single TEMPTING, would be the first body of work released from IBI HAN’s new EP titled MUSE.
IBI Han recounts how the projects’ initial thought came to her as she lay isolated in a New York City quarantine hospital after testing positive for COVID-19. “I was on the 20th floor. Great view, everything. It was a vacation, and I didn’t have any symptoms. So while I was there, I had the idea for Muse come into my head. I was just like, ooh, something titled Muse would be great, but I was writing a song called Muse at that time, which I wasn’t messing with, when I was in that environment, the way it needed to be.”
Several months passed and she briefly discarded the draft of the song she was writing. Then, reinspired, she started writing a song from the snake’s point of view in the biblical story of Adam and Eve. This idea would become the theme for the song TEMPTING, eventually becoming Muse’s debut single.
“I’ve always been into singing, and I’ve always been into music. I just never wanted to pursue it,” 21-year-old Nigeria -born and Texas-raised Hannah, who goes by the artist name IBI HAN admits. While IBI Han loved music in childhood, she found more of her calling on the stage. IBI saw herself acting in films and on TV instead of pursuing the traditional career of a music artist. Now a senior and Drama major at New York University’s Tisch School of The Arts, the facile artist has allowed herself to explore all mediums of art creation, which allowed her to find her voice outside of acting and her label of a Drama major.
“I wanted to pursue acting and not music because I always thought musicians were just the loneliest of them all. But during the “panini press” that we were in, I started writing more songs and would send them to my friend.”
With much more free time on her hands, IBI HAN gained a new enthusiasm for writing and creating music, posting original music, covers, and content to her Youtube channel.
“At some point, I was like, okay, let me just record it. And I got SoundCloud, and I started recording them with the beats I found on YouTube. So I was like, okay, I’m not bad at this.”
While IBI Han has only recently found her songwriting identity, the production side of music terrified her. So she sought comfort in scanning through beats on Youtube, picking one, sitting down and writing to it, and finding this mode of music-making a way that she could focus on more of the creative process than the production process. “I wish I knew how to produce music, but I don’t; one day… I’ll learn it’s on my bucket list for a different year,” laughs IBI HAN. “I think I have the titles of my songs before I ever finish them sometimes.”
She found that this mode of creating worked for her, but when the beats were sold, which she knew would eventually happen, there would be no legal way to claim that song and make it her own. For Muse, she wanted to keep that element of scanning and purchasing beats she knew was the one. To also outsource help, she sought help from a friend who knew his way around DAW’s and recording equipment.
Everything fell into place for IBI HAN; the songs were written, recorded, collaborators were ready to help, and she even received a special financial contribution from her family to support the video cost. IBI HAN’s creative confidence has beamed through the interview. She talks honestly about finding her voice in a craft when she didn’t feel as confident in her abilities.
IBI HAN acknowledges a common inkling that creators across mediums all battle with silently, “I get insecure about my singing abilities. I just want people to enjoy the song, and if they don’t like it, remember that I’m a human being, and I will always get better.”
Having felt much of that invisible pressure when creating original works myself, I ask IBI, “So what advice would you give other people who want to start making music or feel insecure about their voice, songwriting, or production skills?’
“Never, never, ever, ever let your fear stop you from doing something. Not just with music, but my whole life. You get more confident over time,” voices IBI HAN.
You only “fail” if you don’t try, you never know what you may or may not be good at. But never let the fear of not being good enough deter you from doing something you really want to do. Allowing herself the freedom to explore her interest, IBI HAN isn’t afraid of creative expression and doesn’t let other people define who she is, even having to check herself when she begins to think she cannot be all that she aspires to be whether it’s acting on stage or in front of a camera. Writing screenplays or writing songs, IBI HAN is a true multi-hyphenate who does it all. So let it be a reminder that you can too.
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Ania B. Holland is an observant individual with a healthy blend of fire signs in her natal chart that allows her to become a social butterfly when needed. Originally from South Jersey, the twenty-year-old now resides in Brooklyn, NY, finishing the last few semesters of her undergraduate degree from NYU. A musician, poet, avid journaler, and a master chef in the making. Creating no matter the medium has been how Ania has learned how to use her voice and share who she is with the world around her. @Ania_Holland
More of Ania’s work in Mixed Mag:
Music Memory: An Audible Diary (Issue 9)
A Blessing and a Curse to Understand; Activating Océane. (Issue 8)
Transforming Your Power: From XIMONE to Lord Scorpio (Issue 7)