Exposure: Hannah Cohen
- Malcolm Jack
- 27 March 2012
The New York model/photographer-turned-singer/songwriter is beloved by The National's Thomas Bartlett
Two years ago New York-based model and photographer Hannah Cohen met Antony and the Johnsons and The National pianist Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, at a party. She shyly played him some songs she’d been secretly penning, and he immediately offered to produce them; now Cohen’s set to reveal her disarmingly pretty debut album Child Bride – essential listening for fans of Feist, Beth Orton or Joanna Newsom – to an unsuspecting world.
Modelling, photography and now music – you’re a bit greedy when it comes to talents.
[Laughs] ‘I’ve always done a bunch of things, but that’s because I think I was scared of committing to just one. Music is my calling, and I want to do this every day. It makes me really happy.’
You took up guitar only four years ago. Do you remember the first song you learned?
‘I had a Neil Young songbook. I learned ‘Helpless’ just sitting feeling sorry for myself. [Sings] ‘There is a town in North Ontario-o-oh…’
You were raised among ‘hippie intellectuals’ in San Francisco, which must explain your natural creativity?
‘Yeah, my mom’s in the book art world, her father was a poet, so I kind of grew up having a big imagination. I’m drawn towards doing things with my hands – I love cooking and I make jewellery.’
Is music just the next thing you do before writing a novel or taking up sculpture or something, or are you in it for the long-run?
‘I feel content in this position. Maybe I’ll turn into a disco-funk pop princess or something like that. But I’m sticking with the music.’
Child Bride is released by Bella Union on Mon 16 Apr.