hannah bahng

Hannah Bahng Takes Us Through Navigating Your Final Years Of Adolescence

"Landed on my feet"

Life isn’t always a teenage dream, but as hannah bahng sees it, there can still be takeaways to keep in the pivotal stage of life called adolescence. 

Related: “Boring” Is Nowhere Near XG’s Vocabulary This 2024

There’s nothing quite like the experience of listening to music about being a teenager from the perspective of a teenager. Who else can best talk about teens than an actual teenager, right? History has backed this up with some of the most timeless adolescent-themed work coming from musicians who were teenagers at the time of their release. 

Artists like Lorde and Olivia Rodrigo can lowkey brag that they helped raise an entire generation of teenagers through their body of work that focuses on, dissects, and discusses navigating life as a teenager. And if there is a new album that is worth adding to this vaunted hall of adolescent-coded text, it’s hannah bahng’s debut EP, The Abysmal EP


At 20 years old, hannah can lay claim to many things most young women her age can only dream of. She’s a singer, songwriter, producer, artist, creative, director, dancer, and so much more. But like many young people, she also dealt with the ups and downs of her adolescence. So, to document the final years of her teenage era, she took to the one medium she is best at, music. 

“Music is my one outlet to be open, not just with other people, but with myself too,” hannah tells NYLON Manila. Over the past couple of years, the talented multi-hypenate, along with her frequent collaborator Andrew Luce, plunged head-first into navigating the turbulent moods and emotions of the teen years, which, as any teenager can tell you, is never easy. 



“I think I’ve always been more emotionally reserved when it comes to expressing my deeper, less positive emotions to other people,” she muses. “[S]o music is really the only way I can fully express those thoughts and emotions in a way that I just would never be able to find the words to say to another person.” Her debut EP is more than just a collection of seven songs, but a journey of vulnerable introspection that is equal parts intimate in its POV and relatable with songs that capture a youth navigating the end of her teen years. 

It can be messy, yes, but the EP also shows us that it’s not all doom and gloom. At the very least, the EP can be a comforting shoulder to lean on as you realize that you aren’t alone in your journey of self-discovery. 



The feat is made even better by the fact that, as a hands-on independent artist, hannah had a say in every step of the way, from creation to marketing. And while hannah made most of the EP from her home, she isn’t closing the doors on taking her exploration of her teen years to different shores. “HECK YEAH,” she eagerly expresses on the possibility of going on a world tour. “I’m not sure how or when I can make it happen, but it’s always been my dream to go on tour and perform in as many cities as possible!” 

Get to know more about hannah bahng as a musician, creative, and young woman in our chat with the artist below.

How would you describe who hannah bahng is as a solo artist and creative? 

“hannah bahng” is just me, making the most of my freedom to be authentic in expressing myself through my music and art (which is the most natural thing in the world to me!) 

You have your own independent label called Bahng Entertainment. Could you talk about why you decided to start your own label? 

Honestly, it didn’t even cross my mind as a possibility for a young girl like me to be able to start my own label, but once my manager approached me with the idea, everything clicked and it just made so much sense! Instead of having to constantly chase for a “yes” from someone else, I have the complete creative freedom to bring all the music and artistic visions swirling around in my head to life without restraint (but within our indie budget of course lol) all while staying 100% true to myself. 

And now that I’m really out here doing it on my own, I can’t imagine a world where I don’t write all my own songs or direct all of my own music videos or design my own physical albums. Being fully independent can definitely be tough at times and requires so much hard work and sacrifice, but that all makes this journey all the more fulfilling! 

Is there a specific moment that made you realize you wanted to seriously pursue music and go on the career you have now? 

I’ve always known I wanted to pursue a career in music my entire life! But it wasn’t until I had an epiphany during the pandemic that I realized I wanted to pursue being a solo singer-songwriter specifically. I saw artists like Conan Gray and Lyn Lapid find success thanks to social media, and that was the first time I realized a path even existed for someone like me to be able to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter. My sole motivation for starting my social media accounts and YouTube channel from the very start was for the end goal of becoming a serious musician and artist! 



How influential would you say the arts have been in shaping who you are as a person? 

Without art, I don’t really know what would be left of me. Growing up, I always dove into every kind of art I could possibly get my hands on, whether it was music, dancing, acting, or visual art. I think music and art continuously allow me to discover and rediscover who I am as a person, helping me understand and express my emotions that I wouldn’t otherwise. Rather than “shaping” who I am as a person, I would say the arts simply are, and always have been, the core of me.

The world is about to hear some very personal tracks in your debut EP. Was there ever a worry or nervousness about being that open to the general public? 

Being vulnerable in anything to anyone is naturally a nerve wracking experience! I think I’ve always been more emotionally reserved when it comes to expressing my deeper, less positive emotions to other people, so music is really the only way I can fully express those thoughts and emotions in a way that I just would never be able to find the words to say to another person. 

So in that sense, I think I feel more liberated than anxious about releasing this EP into the world, since music is the only way I know how to be vulnerable. But I feel like the most important thing is how whoever listens feels and interprets the music when they hear it… at the end of the day, I just want you to feel something, whatever that may be, and for it to feel real. 

What was the biggest lesson you took away from working on this EP? 

That there’s no substitute for hard work! Being an independent artist comes with a lot of freedom, but you also need a lot of willpower and determination to get things done on your own. Before trying it myself, I honestly had no clue how much time, money, and effort goes into creating and releasing just one song (let alone an entire EP) that the audience might not ever see or even care about… but the whole process is so fun and fulfilling! 



Where do you find the courage to be so open in your music? 

I’m not very courageous with expressing certain thoughts and emotions in real life… music is my one outlet to be open, not just with other people, but with myself too. And once I’ve let those thoughts and emotions flow out of me into a song, they take a life of their own and don’t necessarily feel like they belong to just me anymore. 

Aside from the music and lyrics you work on, you’re also very visual with your craft with how you make storyboards for your music videos. What is it like marrying the lyrical and visual aspect in your creative process? 

I think it’s so cool to see my little drawings come to life in real time! My generation is so visually oriented, so I think putting intention and effort behind the visuals really helps solidify the connection between the audience and the story I want to convey through the music. The visualization of my music usually comes really naturally to me, where sometimes my lyrics are inspired by the visuals I already have in my head, and other times the visual ideas come alive in my head while I’m writing or producing or even just listening to the demo in the car or something. 

It’s honestly such a privilege to have the freedom to direct all of my own music videos, and even though it’s not always easy to execute the vision I have in my mind (especially with a limited budget haha), in the end the challenge is so fun and so worth it!

How do you find that balance of sharing your experiences with the world while also having that personal space to keep private? 

Honestly, what you see is what you get. I’m pretty sure I give loser energy online AND in real life LOL. Of course, everyone has some things they keep private just to themselves, but I’m the same person in front of the world as I am to my closest friends. 



Do you see yourself continuing being an independent artist or are you open to signing with a major label? 

I want to see how far I can go as an independent artist! That’s not to say that I’m completely ruling anything else out in the future, but if I were to partner with a major label someday it would have to be completely on my own terms. For now, I’m going to keep putting my all into music and see how far it can take me! 

Are you open to touring the album and performing in other countries like the Philippines? 

HECK YEAH! I’m not sure how or when I can make it happen, but it’s always been my dream to go on tour and perform in as many cities as possible! I especially would LOVE to perform in the Philippines! I really want to hear you guys sing with me (but please don’t out-sing me, I know how amazing you guys are at singing so please take it easy on me LOL). 

What advice would you give to other Gen Zs who may be struggling in their adolescence? 

Honestly, my mum is the one who always gives me the best advice… and you can hear some of her wise words in the voicemail at the end of “hannah interlude”. Her reminders to always stay grateful for all the little and big things, to take it step by step, and to not stress too much are what have always kept me grounded. Sometimes you have to take a breather and just enjoy where you are in the moment before figuring out where to go next. 



If The Abysmal EP would be the first time someone listens to your music, which song from the album would you suggest they listen to first? 

The order of The Abysmal EP tracklist is super intentional to convey the journey and story of my last couple years coming to terms with the end of my adolescence, so my hope and dream would be for everyone to listen to the entire EP in order from beginning to end! But if I had to choose only one song that best captures the essence of the EP as a whole… I would say it’s Abysmal.

Continue Reading: Isa Briones On Family, Activism, Musical Theater, And Finding Hope In Hadestown