Hannah Cohen comes from a family of poets and musicians, broadcasters and booksellers. She left home as a teenager to travel the world working as a model, soon finding herself in New York and becoming over the next few years something of a muse to the city’s art scene, posing for Richard Prince, Terry Richardson, David Salle, Will Cotton, and Ryan McGinley. Working on the other side of the lens, Hannah shot album covers and music videos for friends, and her first book of photography, “Fotografias Brasil”, was published earlier this year.
She also immersed herself in NYC’s music scene, becoming friends with singers, writers and producers. And quietly, privately, she started teaching herself guitar and writing songs. They were simple songs, sung to herself, private reflections on love and loneliness. But when she did start sharing them with her friends, usually in the wee hours as a party was winding down, rooms were hushed, jaws dropped, and it became clear to everyone who heard them that these songs were something very special indeed.
Hannah’s debut record, “Child Bride”, was produced by Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, known for his keyboard work with artists like The National and Antony and the Johnsons, and also producer of upcoming records by Glen Hansard and Julia Stone. Drawn from Hannah and Thomas’s mutual friends, the core band is a small but potent group of some of New York’s finest musicians, including Sam Amidon, Rob Moose (Bon Iver, Antony and the Johnsons), Brad Albetta (producer for Martha Wainwright and Teddy Thompson), Doug Wieselman (Laurie Anderson, the Lounge Lizards), and Kenny Wollesen (John Zorn, Bill Frisell). Together they have created an expansive, haunted album, lush and welcoming, but also at times almost painfully intimate. Hannah’s strikingly distinctive voice and casually assured phrasing are at the centre of it all, from the heartbroken outpouring of “The Crying Game” to “California”, an irresistibly catchy love letter to Hannah’s home state, with a sunny disposition that can’t quite hide the undercurrent of melancholy and homesickness.
“Child Bride” is released on Monday 23rd April on Bella Union.