Once again, we’re so pleased to share the thoughts of name-loving celebrity mom, Natalie Hanson, as she approaches the birth of her and husband Taylor‘s sixth child next month. Who will be the newest sibling of Jordan Ezra, Penelope Anne, River Samuel, Viggo Moriah and Wilhelmina Jane? Luckily for us, Natalie will be back to share her eventual baby name choice.
If you haven’t heard our news, Taylor and I are so excited to welcome baby number six at the end of the year, and as you can imagine, the topic of names has been a hot one at our house lately!
Once upon a time as a young name enthusiast, the thought of naming a sixth baby seemed like a dream. I would have lists so long of brilliant name choices, I could have, in theory, easily named at least twenty babies of each gender! However now that the dream is a reality, I’m faced with the unique challenges that come with this special job.
The first challenge I’ve noticed is that the more children you’ve named, the more of your favorite names you have probably already used. Much like a mother wonders how her heart will mysteriously grow to love another person as much as she loves her other children, I began to worry if there could possibly by any more names out there I could love as much as the ones I’ve already chosen. This name has a lot to live up to!
Secondly, whether planned or not, in a large sibset naming patterns have inevitably emerged. I began noticing some of my own patterns during this process more than I had in the past. For instance, I can really see how my boy names seem to be more fashioned after my husband’s style, and the girls mine. I guess I can’t help picturing mini Taylor or mini Natalie before they are born and tend to choose names with that feeling in mind. I also realized I tend to use the two-syllable version of my children’s names the most. I like that sound with our last name and would like to keep that pattern if it works for this baby. This time around, I find myself balancing not being too beholden to these patterns with wanting a name that feels like it belongs.
There is one more issue that has come up that is making this naming process a little different from my others. I’m referring to this new challenge as “naming by committee”. The beautiful thing about welcoming a new baby when you’ve already been a mom for sixteen years is you have all of these creative and interesting people who are invested is this new person. With all of that creativity comes big opinions! I’m proud to have raised such opinionated namers, but this is the first time I feel like I’m not in complete control of the decision and that is a new dynamic for me. So far, I’m approaching this situation the same way I do with parenting younger and older children. I want the older ones to feel invested and respected, and at the same time not saddled with the ultimate responsibility of parenting, or in this case naming. Therefore, I am now in the process of listening and debating and mostly just trying to appreciate how lucky this baby is that their name matters to all of us.
I look forward to sharing our choice with all of you soon, and for those of you who enjoy a little name research, I can leave you with a little hint…. both our top girl and boy choices right now are main characters in George Sand novels. Happy guessing!
Your Morning – Nov 20
It’s been 20 year since the release of their smash hit and now the brothers are back with their new symphonic album, ‘String Theory.’
The brother who would do something creative and connecting people, throwing parties is Taylor and the brother who would do something related to learning and taking on new challenges is Zac.
Which Hanson said, “The unexpected is not so bad, it sometimes is what inspires”
Do you have a Hanson trivia question you'd like to submit for consideration for our Tuesday Trivia question? Send the question & answer to firstname.lastname@example.org
Isaac, Taylor, and Zac from HANSON talk about their new album, “String Theory,” touring, being brothers in a band, dealing with the responsibilities of being a parent in a band that tours, and much more.
AFTER starting his career as a professional musician at just 11, Zac Hanson has achieved more during two decades in the industry than many others have by triple his age.
Grammy nominations? He and older brothers Isaac and Taylor can claim three.
Studio albums? Try six, starting with their major label debut Middle of Nowhere featuring breakthrough singles Mmmbop and Where’s The Love.
Establish their own independent label? 3CG Records, in 2003.
Celebrate a quarter century as a band? With no less than a 60-date world tour.
Zac, 33, says the often-underestimated pop-rock trio from Tulsa is unashamed to set their sights on lofty goals.
It’s why they’re finding themselves with 50-strong symphony orchestras on stages at revered US venues including New York City’s Beacon Theatre and Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre.
They’ve collaborated with Oscar winning arranger, composer and conductor (and musician Beck’s father), David Campbell, to re-imagine some of their best known material and seven never-released-to-the-public songs, plus debut four brand new creations.
Side by side, the songs weave a story about aspiration and fortitude against the odds.
The result, String Theory – both a world tour and a 23-track double album featuring a Prague-based orchestra – is undoubtedly their most ambitious musical project to date.
“We tend to be very focused on the next album, the next project, the next thing,” Zac tells the Newcastle Herald, in between performances in Chicago and St Louis.
“We wanted to do something [last year] to encapsulate the 25 year mark as a band and so we did a greatest hits sort of tour and put together a compilation of songs.
“But that wasn’t a new album, it didn’t have all that release of writing and recording a big new record and so that energy was still there.
“This [String Theory project] sounded exciting and hard and in a way mysterious, because you don’t know how to approach starting – who to talk to, how do we find the orchestra and so on and so forth – so that excitement of the biggest mountain we could think of became a real driving force for it.
“It’s really interesting to hear your own music, to try and reinvent it, capturing obviously what you love and what’s core about the songs, reinventing the arrangements and making them more lush and filling them out.
“Just the weight that can be added to what you’re saying.
“The songs become deeply associated with a totally different story and they have new touch points.
“We want people to take the opportunity to listen to the [seated] show almost like you listen to an album, to be very present in that experience.
“There’s moments for clapping and singing, there’s a place for standing and dancing, but it builds.
“You’ll hear it, you’ll feel it, if you’re listening, what time that is.”
The tour lands in Australia in February next year.
The schedule doesn’t yet include the Hunter, where local fans have a rolling Bring Hanson to Newcastle campaign.
“If I could simply go where I wanted to go, then we would go play Newcastle every time,” Zac says, “that’s something we want to happen”.
But it does feature two shows at the Sydney Opera House on March 4 and 5. The first has sold out.
“I remember touring the building on our first trip to Australia [in 1997] and standing on stage and singing in that room and thinking how special it would be to do a show there,” he says.
The band will meet with a new conductor and play with a different orchestra on each of its six Australian dates, which straddle two non-symphony shows at Melbourne Zoo.
“We play the whole show with every orchestra that morning so we’ve been through everything before the actual performance.
“That makes it much more labour intensive, to be singing and playing the whole show twice a day.
“It’s almost like prep for Broadway. Maybe that’s our next project – Zachary’s Technicolour Dreamcoat?”
Jokes aside, he says, the hours of groundwork have been far from the project’s biggest challenge.
That title goes to finessing String Theory’s narrative arc, which he says illustrates the band’s ideology.
“Simply picking the songs for the purpose of telling a story was probably the biggest hurdle, because when people hear you’re doing a symphony tour there are a lot of different expectations and you have to put all of that to one side,” Zac says.
“It’s [the setlist and tracklist] not… the logical choice for what everyone wants to hear, from a fan point of view.”
Not that members of the band’s rusted-on following are complaining. Many have been anticipating this project for more than a year and are upholding what has become, in these circles, the celebrated and in some cases routine ritual of flying from the opposite side of the globe to catch multiple performances.
They speak of feeling “proud” after seeing String Theory, which is split in halves and includes the reworking of songs such as rousing latest single I Was Born and the contagious No Rest For The Weary, but omits favourites such as Penny and Me and assumed front runners Underneath and I Will Come To You.
“We used the lyrics of the songs as the driving force,” Zac says.
“All the words, all the stories these songs tell, they connect.
“It was the Hanson ethos encapsulated in a show, almost musical-esque but without the choreographed dancing.”
The thread running through their back catalogue is optimism and persistence despite struggle and the reminder that a dream, however improbable, is worth the fight.
“Even last year, I Was Born, it’s about trying to tell people to recognise that power they have as an individual to achieve amazing things if they put themselves through it: the potential that everybody has.”
Fittingly, Zac says, String Theory has bolstered the trio’s confidence.
“Before this process I thought ‘Well they’re the good musicians and we’re the street musicians,” he says.
“It’s really like they’re acrobats and we’re magicians.
“The classical world and the band rock and roll world, they’re cut from different cloths.
“There’s also a certain showmanship and a certain presence that is not there in the classical world, that engagement of the audience.
“You’re trying to bring the best of those two things together.”
Related: Hanson – 22 years on from the boy band, still going strong
He says the band’s relationship with fans is built on fostering an experience, stoking connections and taking them behind the curtain.
They offer fanclub members additional resources to explore their work, plus direct access to themselves, through annual Back to the Island concert events in Jamaica and Hanson Day celebrations in Tulsa.
As for the band’s next challenge, Zac says they won’t be taking the easy route.
“What would it sound like if we did our version of a Billy Joel record or a Led Zeppelin record,” he wonders.
“What is it to score films or write a musical?
“We see the potential of these big projects, these things with lots of craftsmanship… when you’re really sharing with people the craft of telling stories and pushing yourself to do things you’ve never tried before, to sound ways you thought you never would before, to take on iconic artists’ sounds.
“We do this because of our love of writing great songs and things that will last through time and can be shared with multiple generations.
“That stays true, that’s always been true. That was true when we were kids – and it’s definitely true now.”
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Two decades since “MMMBop,” ’90s pop sensation Hanson is still going strong, with orchestral versions of their greatest hits. The Hanson brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac join us.
Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson, Grammy-nominated band of brothers. They’ve sold more than 16 million albums to date. Their album “String Theory” is out now. (@hansonmusic)
Compiled by On Point producer Miriam Wasser
From The Reading List
NPR: “First Listen: Hanson, ‘String Theory’” — “There must be a dozen ways to process the idea of a double-length, career-spanning album in which the long-running pop band Hanson performs while backed by an orchestra. You could study the new symphonic arrangements, courtesy of Oscar winner David Campbell (a.k.a. Beck’s dad), and pick apart how they compare to the originals. You could examine the trend of veteran bands performing with orchestras — even Hanson’s pal ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic is doing it — as a way of refreshing their catalogs. You could question the appeal of the idea to anyone outside a preexisting pool of diehards.
“But in the case of String Theory, it’s perhaps best to view the concept as a means of highlighting Hanson’s remarkable songcraft. Hanson has been a band for more than 25 years, and has had a serious commercial legacy to live up to ever since Middle of Nowhere and the inescapable ‘MMMBop’ sold millions back in 1997. When that record came out, brothers Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson were 16, 14 and 11, respectively — and, as a result, were widely viewed outside their fan base as a prefab boy band. But even then, they were accomplished players and songwriters, capable of airtight arrangements and impeccable sibling harmonies. Now that they’re in their 30s (and still writing new records, selling out theaters and even brewing their own line of beer), they’re better positioned to demonstrate what’s long been obvious: These guys write hooks sturdy enough to hold up any kind of arrangement you can name.”
Associated Press: “Review: Hanson, the kings of ‘MMMBop,’ turn to orchestras” — “The Hanson boys have done everything in their power to get you to listen beyond ‘MMMBop.’ They’ve put out solid new music, live CDs, Christmas albums — OK, lots of Christmas albums — greatest hits collections, and even covers of songs by U2 and Radiohead. Now they’ve gone uptown — they’ve gone orchestral.
“The 23-track double album, ‘String Theory,’ finds Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson reworking past songs and unreleased ones for swaths of strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion. One new song, “Siren Call,” uses a full 46-piece orchestra.”
This program aired on November 12, 2018.
Back in 1997, when Hanson’s “MMMBop” became an inescapable hit, too many people wrote off the group as a boy band that would fade when its primary audience passed puberty.That was a huge mistake. Hanson never was a boy band – its three sibling members (ages 11-16 when “MMMBop” was released) were perhaps precocious, but were talented musicians and songwriters who since have released more than a dozen albums (four gold or platinum), had a half-dozen more hits and have consistently matured musically.
So while those original naysayers might have been surprised to see Hanson take the stage with a 36-piece orchestra Sunday at Tower Theatre in Upper Darby, it made sense to those who have watched the group develop. And it worked surprisingly well.
In a show of 23 songs over 90 minutes (plus an intermission), Hanson not only showed that it has matured into a band that can write capably for symphony treatment, but that its early hits also were sophisticated enough to be interpreted by an orchestra.
And Hanson chose a good one to do that Sunday. The 36-piece ensemble’s sound was lovely, lush and precise, and did precisely its purpose.
The show was a sequential performance of Hanson’s new symphonic album, “String Theory,” released Friday, that offers new songs and re-arranged versions of hits and other songs.
“Twenty-five years ago we started making music together,” eldest brother Isaac told the crowd as an introduction. And after a tour acknowledging that anniversary last year, Hanson decided “we need to do something different to start the next 25 years.”
And the opening of “Reaching for the Sky Part 1” made sense as a next move. With middle brother Taylor at the piano and doing most of the singing, the song was tender and symphonically lush at the same time: A mature, multi-layered move ahead for the band.
The next few songs did more to explain Hanson’s new direction. A re-worked “Joyful Noise” from 2016 showed the full sound of an orchestra. “Where’s The Love,” the 1997 hit that followed “MMMBop,” had more of a rock sound, but as neither fully symphonic nor fully rock was least successful.
But “MMMBop” showed the idea’s full potential. It was reinvented – certainly matured – but kept all of the essence with which fans fell in love. Pairing it with the 2012 song “Chasing Down My Dream,” with youngest brother Zac front and center playing good guitar, worked wonderfully. And the orchestration was at its best.
It seemed obvious that Hanson’s later compositions as a whole, made an easier transition to classical. “Tragic Symphony” from 2013 even had a funk edge that the orchestra handled well. “Siren Call” from 2016 was a natural for orchestral treatment, and was very symphonic – the drums and orchestra working together to build and maintain tension. And Zac’s vocals were very good.
“Dream It Do It” was far more orchestrated, and the slow, piano-based “Me Myself and I” from 2010, which closed the first set, also seemed to already have had a classic feel to it.
It also seemed that Hanson’s slower songs more easily made the transition. “Broken Angel” from 2004, with Zac on piano, was especially good. The same effect also worked for the also-slow “What Are We Fighting For” from 2015.
The symphony also worked on drum-heavy songs such as “Battle Cry” and “You Can’t Stop Us” from 2013.
In the cases where songs were less successful, it seemed to be because they were lesser songs. “Got a Hold On Me” from 2007 was elevated by the orchestration, but wasn’t as good. “Yearbook” from 1997 had a wonderfully classic piano and plenty of drama, but also wasn’t as good.
And halfway through the second set, it seemed as if Hanson needed to do more of its hits. If the group takes a second stab at orchestration, latter-day hits “Penny & Me” and “Georgia” would seem to be perfect for symphonic treatment.
The second set, after opening with “Reaching for the Sky Part 2,” another early hit, 1999’s “This Time Around,” again showed how well Hanson’s music transitions – and it got a big cheer from the crowd.
It show how, surprisingly, while Hanson has matured (Taylor had a full beard), its fans – a big majority female — clearly were still infatuated with turn-of-the-century Hanson. (The show had started with boy-band fan screams from the crowd.)
For “Something Going Round,” several in the crowd stood up to sing the end. And the crowd finally fully stood nine songs into the second set for 2016’s “No Rest for the Weary,” very good, with Taylor on guitar.
The show wound down with the very good 2017 song “I Was Born,” a combo of rock and symphony. “The Sound of Light” from 2013 didn’t change that much from the original version. And the closing “Tonight” was more rock than symphonic.
Hanson hasn’t been doing encores on this tour, but Sunday came back for an exquisitely harmonized, a cappella version of the National Anthem.
It, too, sounded very much classical, and very mature. But it also was purely Hanson.