Hanson isn’t here to offer advice to the next generation of pop phenoms — but if they were, the wisdom they’ve gained is priceless.
“Because we started young, we often get asked to give advice to other young artists,” says Zac Hanson, 32, the band’s youngest member, who was just six years old when they began making music together more than 25 years ago.
“Usually it’s sort of like, ‘Why do we need to give advice? I don’t even know that guy. He’ll be fine,’” he continues. “But I think probably the best advice anyone can have is to study the history, study the artists who came before you because that will make you a better writer, that will make you a better performer, that will give you a better understanding of the landscape you’re going into.”
Including, he says, the daunting, tempting and fleeting fame game.
“We were lucky that we grew up really loving music that was before our time and studying that,” he says. “Studying the craft of the song, but also seeing that red hot spotlight, it comes and goes and you don’t really get to control that. It’s something that you get to be a part of. You get to sort of share that spotlight with a lot of other people, sort of like a revolving door, and maybe it comes back around to you, maybe it goes and never comes back. I think that’s really the key to surviving fame, to not think that you represent fame and not think that it makes or breaks you. That’s not why you got there in the first place and it’s gonna be long gone before you are.”
Hanson has hardly disappeared from the spotlight since their debut album, Middle of Nowhere, and their breakout hit, “MMMBop,” left a permanent stamp in the annals of pop culture 20 years ago. The GRAMMY-nominated trio of brothers from Tulsa, Oklahoma, spent the two decades that followed moving on from their major label deal, creating their own independent label and releasing five proper studio albums between 2000 and 2013. This year, in honor of two milestone anniversaries, Hanson doubled down with a greatest hits album, appropriately titled Middle of Everywhere and featuring the new single “I Was Born,” a world tour and a long-awaited holiday follow-up to 1997’s Snowed In, titled (also, appropriately), Finally, It’s Christmas.
“In our case, we were always doing it for ourselves. We were doing it for our own drive,” Taylor Hanson, 34, says, delicately acknowledging the rabid, enduring attention of their female fans, many of whom have grown up with and continued to follow the band religiously for 20 years.
“Of course, as a young guy, a bunch of girls screaming is not a bad thing,” he allows, with brother Isaac Hanson, 37, chiming in, “It’s a much better view than a bunch of guys screaming.”
“I think all of us, at some point or another along the way, pretty early on, I think, all kinda said to ourselves, ‘We want to be the kinda people that we’re proud of being,’” Isaac continues. “Here we are doing this work that we love doing, but we want it to be about the work and about the job. There’s also kind of an advantage to being an underdog because at the end of the day — despite all of the, shall we say, popularity and fame that was initially thrust onto us in the first few years of our career — at the same time, there was a lot of underdog factors going on.
“You’re these young kids who are a band, but people think you’re something that you’re not really,” he explains. “There’s just a lot to prove and a lot to sort out, and a lot that maybe only time can prove is the truth. I think in a lot of ways, it kinda kept our heads screwed on pretty straight because we didn’t take a ton of time, shall we say, sitting around and smelling the flowers.”
While the brothers remained largely free from becoming tabloid fodder as they publicly came of age, Isaac’s latter statement is not to imply that they didn’t enjoy at least some of the, shall we say, perks associated with being teen heartthrobs. All three met their now-wives “in some form or another” at their shows. Later, while playing a game of “Truth or Drink” (see below), the trio playfully opted to plead the fifth when asked whether they had gotten together with other fans during their bachelor days.
“They all [the wives] know that the reason why we met them was because they weren’t, like, screaming and throwing themselves at us at all,” Isaac says.
“They’re all like, ‘We won!’” Taylor quips. “I mean, you hope that they are fans to a degree. Otherwise, they’d be nuts. They’d go crazy! You have to appreciate what you do. … If you start with the idea of, ‘Oh, are our wives fans of what we do?’ Hopefully you are as big a fan or a bigger fan of them, and that’s the whole idea. The premise of them being enthusiastic about our occupation is part of the package.”
Now, as it seems to have always been, the brothers’ personalities are obvious within their respective public roles. Taylor, lead singer and keyboardist, is calm, even and friendly, and when he speaks, manages to deliver honest and thoughtful responses in pitch-perfect soundbite form. “He’s the serious brother,” Isaac ribs.
Isaac’s aura is warm and self-deprecating, with an easy laugh as he admits to being “a little bit OCD” and jokes, “Thank goodness we were in a band because I would have never, ever found a woman.”
“It’s still amazing that he did,” Zac fires back, clearly still a vivacious kid at heart with a passion for video games and 3D printers. With 12 kids between the three brothers, Zac has proudly taken on Christmas morning toy duty and once, he recalls, taught the younger generation how to “destroy” pumpkins with large replica swords.
“It’s very safe, actually,” he explains, an oversized, mischievous grin sweeping across his face, “as long as you’re on the right end.”
“We’re just good midwestern boys,” Taylor sighs.
“We’re also training them for the zombie apocalypse,” Isaac jokes.
The younger Hansons take center stage in the video for the band’s uplifting new single, which tackles “the challenge of not settling,” Zac says. “Our livelihood, our story has been being young kids and saying, ‘I want to make music, let’s do it.’ … I try not to compare my age when I started to my kids, because I don’t think it’s fair. I was six, right? We had this perfect storm of three brothers who were facilitating each other and so I don’t think, outside of that kind of scenario, where just kinda lightning strikes, would you ever have someone that young pursuing it as strongly and as actively as we did.” (Their children range in age from one to 15 years old.)
“I think there’s certain abilities you can see in kids,” he muses, contemplating whether he expects any of them to pursue a musical career. “Taylor’s kids are the oldest, but you can see there’s creativity and musicality. It’s still a big question mark if that’s something they will choose.”
Interestingly, each of their eldest sons, respectively, already appear to be following in their fathers’ footsteps.
“It’s funny, though, Isaac’s oldest son is playing guitar, Taylor’s oldest son is playing keyboard and my oldest son just started playing drums,” Zac says.
“I mean, they’re around music all the time,” Taylor continues. “If somebody didn’t pursue music, in between our kids, I’d be surprised. .. Performing is a great, amazing gift, and if you have it, you kinda have to do it. If you don’t have it, you can’t fabricate it. So, the question is really whether or not they have that need. We joke it’s kinda like having an addiction that you turn into a job.
“Making music, whether it’s in the studio or onstage, if it’s there, then of course you want them to do whatever makes them happy,” he adds. “That’s really all you can hope for.”
“And then just pray lots and lots about it,” Isaac cracks.
As the band’s whirlwind 2017 draws to a close, Taylor, Zac and Isaac are looking forward to observing an unwritten holiday agreement: two weeks, no work.
“It’s like, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna ask you to go to the studio, you’re not gonna ask me to go to the studio. There’s gonna be no conference calls, there’s gonna be no planning. If I see ya, it’s gonna be because we’re watching a football game or we’re eating some pie,” Zac says.
“Brainstorming sessions in the kitchen are generally frowned upon,” adds Isaac.
But come 2018, the band already has a major project underway. Fans have speculated that Hanson is gearing up to embark on an orchestra-backed tour, but they aren’t talking beyond to say that it will involve “a lot of work” and “a lot of people.”
“We’ve been working on a project that [is] kinda like a bucket list, and that’s kinda all we can say for the moment,” Zac says.
“The main takeaway for us is that part of the reason we get to do what we do is because we have that community of fans that we’ve had that direct connection with for a long time,” Taylor adds. “We feel like the fans that have followed us in a way have earned the fact that, we don’t want to settle for anything. We want to do things that are challenging. Next year’s music is — making new music and playing special shows, and keeping it exciting. Making sure that every time we announce something, people are genuinely going, ‘Oh, I can’t wait to see that.’”
See more from Hanson’s ET interview below, including a revealing and hilarious game of “Truth or Drink” with their signature Hanson Brothers Beer Co. MmmHops Pale Ale.
Tulsa pop-rock trio Hanson will be the musical guest on tonight’s episode of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” which airs at 10:35 p.m. on ABC.
As previously reported, the family band has been touring and making the TV rounds in support of its new holiday album, “Finally It’s Christmas,” released this fall in time to mark the 20th anniversary of the Oklahoma group’s first yuletide release, “Snowed In.” They also will perform on Monday’s episode of “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” airing at 11:37 p.m. on CBS.
Plus, Hanson played the peppy title track from the new album last week on “The Wonderful World of Disney: Magical Holiday Celebration”:
The new Christmas album, which features four original tracks, and eight updated classics, reunited the band with S-Curve President Steve Greenberg who originally signed the band to Mercury Records in 1996, as well as co-producer and writing partner Mark Hudson (Aerosmith, Ozzy Osborne, Ringo Starr) who also collaborated on “Snowed In.”
It’s been a nostalgic year for the Hanson brothers – Zac, Taylor and Isaac – who have been celebrating their 25th anniversary as a band. The official music video for the bouncy title track of their yuletide album reflects that sense of nostalgia:
Besides Hanson, guests on tonight’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” include actors Octavia Spencer and Dave Franco. Melissa McCarthy will be the guest host, as Kimmel is spending time with his family, especially his son Billy, who had a scheduled and successful heart surgery earlier this week.
If ever there was a year when soul-soothing holiday music was needed, this is it.
Although there still isn’t a worthy successor to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You,” there are some memorable aural moments from some unlikely sources – such as Sia and Cheap Trick.
Here are some new possibilities to add to your Christmas playlists.
Hanson, “Finally, It’s Christmas.” Fans have been waiting 20 years for a new Hanson Christmas album, and “Finally, It’s Christmas,” with its four original tracks and eight updated classics, delivers. It’s been a challenge for Zac, Isaac and Taylor Hanson to shed the “kiddie hit” tag of two decades ago (“MMMBop,” lest you forgot), but it’s about time they received recognition for their musical chops, evident on the rootsy title track and a version of “Please Come Home for Christmas” that resonates with guttural pleading and angelic harmonies. These guys have such a deep appreciation for music, it’s no surprise they’ve tackled Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmas Time” and Aretha Franklin’s arrangement of “Winter Wonderland” – both, unsurprisingly, well. A-
Isaac, Taylor and Zac first started performing together as a band back in 1992. Five years later they were household names with their hit single “MMMBop.” The three brothers have been recording songs and touring the world ever since, and they’ve also started their own record label and beer company. We chatted with Hanson about their current tour, how they got into the beer business, and what’s next for the trio. Following is a transcript of the video.
Zac: Hi. I’m Zac. That’s Taylor. This is Isaac. We all have the same last name. It’s Hanson.
We are a band called Hanson.
Taylor: We’ve been playing music for 25 years, and somehow we have not killed each other yet.
Zac: Yes.Which is really the only achievement we’ve achieved. As far as achievements go.
So, one of our most famous songs is called “MMMBop.”
Talking about how we got started is a little different than, I think, most bands, because …
Taylor: We were so young.
Zac: We’re brothers. And two: we were incredibly young. I was 6.
At that time, we were just singing. I mean, we were just a vocal group. We had … we all played piano at some level.
We played a ton of schools. And we were able to sort of be this reflection of potential for kids. That was really the first place we saw screaming girls.
Isaac: Yeah, exactly.
Zac: I think that’s why maybe we weren’t quite as shocked by it when, you know …
Taylor: when it happened in a big way.
Zac: … international stardom came.
They say that you’re most likely to meet your significant other at work. And we are a part of that statistic. We all met our wives playing concerts.
Our inspiration was ’50s music. Was rock ‘n roll. Was looking at young artists who had started in their teens. The Jackson 5 and Chuck Berry …
Taylor: The Beach Boys.
All: Buddy Holly.
Taylor: The heart of this band is to be creating things. And to be inventing things. And to be excited about the future.
We started a record company, you know, on our third album, before I was twenty years old.
We have put out six major studio albums. We have a global fan base that we still tour with all the time, year after year.
We chose to start a record company, because we could see that there wasn’t a future at a major label that was focused on quarterly earnings and sort of stacking stacking artists like assets that they could just trade.
And really the decision in starting a record company was about whether we were invested in our own future, or whether we were going to really just become a commodity.
We set up a distribution deal, built a new team with a new management company, and did a lot of stuff that nobody had any idea how to do.
Five years ago, we started a beer company. Four years ago we started a craft beer and music festival. And really had a passion for craft beer and the culture around craft beer as well.
Isaac: Which I think is one of the more important things really, about the kind of craft beer experience. At least for us in a lot of ways. Besides obviously making quality beer. But the community itself actually felt very similar to the music community.
Taylor: Mmmhops is a title of a beer, not the whole company, but the title of our first beer. And it is definitely one of those, you know, names that’s so ridiculous that it just had to be. It had to exist. And it’s been fun to share that with people.
The Christmas album has been a long time coming. And ever since the first one, which was received so well …
Isaac: Back in 1997.
Taylor: Yeah, twenty years ago.
There was a trickle of, “Are you guys gonna make a follow-up?”
People expect to be reflective. To be reminiscent. To go back and be nostalgic. And so they expect to open up the box of things that they loved, and come back to it.
Zac: Certain anniversaries just can’t be ignored. And when we reached 25 years this year, it seemed like it was important to kind of stop and look back a little bit more than we normally would.
We decided to do a tour, really talking about the history of the band. You look at it the audience, and you see your peers, and you see their kids, and you see their parents.
Taylor: You know, the future of music is not just this one-way street. Where we send things out, and then people applaud. It’s you share music, and you get a response. And then you hear the response. And you hear the interaction between fans. And then you keep trying to create opportunities for that to grow. And, for us, there actually are potentially twenty-five more years or more in our future, if we choose it. And it feels like we’re at a place where we can make that choice.
Hanson stopped by the studio to talk with us about the legacy of MMMBop, whether they are more like The Jonas Brothers or HAIM and their new album, Finally It’s Christmas!
Melissa McCarthy is proving to be a good friend.
The Illinois native is set to guest host the late-night chat show Jimmy Kimmel Live while the host takes some time off to spend with his son, aged seven months, who just came out of a successful heart surgery.
But before the movie vet hits the TV stage, she has some errands to do. On Monday The Heat actress was spotted dropping off her dry cleaning in Los Angeles.
You gotta wear shades: Melissa McCarthy keeps her look casual while running errands in Los Angeles on Monday
Although fans are accustomed to seeing the 47-year-old in glamorous gowns when she hits the red carpet, she keeps her look casual when running around the city.
McCarthy was spotted wearing a long-sleeve burgundy top with a pair of black tights.
She accessorized with black Birkenstocks and a roomy handbag with a few layers of fringe. No celebrity look is complete without a pair of oversize sunglasses, although they didn’t help her hide from the cameras.
Fashion forward: The actress-turned-designer created a clothing line for curvy women
During McCarthy’s turn as the host of the popular late-night show, she’ll welcome guests Octavia Spencer and Dave Franco with a musical performance from Hanson.
Whether this means that the Spy star will get down with Hanson and their classic tune Mmmbop is yet to be seen.
Other stars stepping in to help with hosting duties includes Chris Pratt, Tracee Ellis Ross and Neil Patrick Harris.
Smile!: The cast of Ghostbusters pose with host Jimmy Kimmel in support of the film; here she is seen in June
In addition to starring in movies and popping up on TV, Melissa is also a clothing designer.
The Gilmore Girls star was tired of not having fashion available to her that was made for curvier women. So in 2015, she decided to be in charge of her closet by creating items for women of a wide range of sizes.
‘I could not find, with consistency, something that felt young and modern and easy to wear,’ McCarthy told Fast Company in an interview.
‘And then I started thinking, Why don’t I make the closet?’
Proud moment: The 47-year-old promotes her line Seven7 between shooting popular films; seen in 2015
She created a collection of items inspired by classic and trendy looks to fit women who wear sizes 4-28.
No matter what your style is or size, you can shop items on her official website as well as retailers including Nordstrom, Lane Bryant, Macy’s and Lord & Taylor.
Her collection includes a variety of patterns like animal prints, florals and polka dots. What makes her collection different is that her pieces are structured to give a woman a more flattering shape by using darts, belts and empire waists.
Hanson will be on Home & Family on the Hallmark Channel tomorrow! Check lo am listings for channel and time