The reason why we wanted to play and sing for you before anything else,” declared keyboardist and middle brother Taylor at a press conference held at the EDSA Shangrila Hotel last March 29, “is because this (talking) isn’t what we do. Now this (making music) is what we do.”
Eight years since their last visit, Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson from Tulsa, Oklahoma reconnected with their Filipino fans at two CD signing sessions and concerts held last week in Manila and Cebu. They played hits from their previous albums including music from their latest record, “Shout It Out”—songs eldest brother and guitarist Isaac describes as “natural, raw and very real, where you don’t hear a lot of artificial things”, proving how twenty years of making music together and nearly a decade of steering their own ship as an independent band have taken them from being mere “Mmmbop boys” to well-established and respected men of music.
Meeting Hanson was like getting together with three friends whom one shares a common drive with. They were very unassuming and throughout the two-hour press encounter, all three had a unique way of being both profound and goofy at the same time. Here’s the highlight of my conversation with the guys:
YOUNG STAR: Congratulations on the success of your work and on your longevity as a band. I’m an independent artist myself, and I know how much courage it takes to stick to your guns and stay true to yourself and to your art…
?Taylor: Best question yet! And, you haven’t even asked the question, sorry… (laughs)
This is obviously something you’re excited about. Tell us more about taking charge of your own career and what message can you give to other young creative people treading that path?
Zac: Every choice we made, forming our own label 3CG records in 2003, was to find a way to follow our original vision, our original inspiration as musicians and who we wanted to be. When our first global record came out in 1997, it was a completely different music business. By 2003, we looked around the room and saw all these other labels and none of them were doing the things that we think should be the future of the work we do. The music, plus the relationship between the artist and the fans—where the focus should be, wasn’t there. We realized we needed to do something different, not to change ourselves or to find a new way to be Hanson, but to go after our original intention and be able to be more creative with our work, without being afraid to challenge ourselves.
Taylor: Yes, but I think what she was asking was the point about… (apologizes) we like to talk, sorry! Specifically as far as making the choice, as an artist, you have to look forward and be willing to manage yourself. I think the more artists are willing to be unafraid to embrace the whole picture and have some guts, like what you said, “it takes courage”—once you step out there you’ll realize there’s a great new world.??Keep being who you are and keep doing what you’re doing then…
Isaac: We don’t know how to be anyone else or how to do anything else!
There’s more to Hanson than producing music and performing though. As Taylor explained, “We’re music nerds but there’s a lot of other things that we do, like activism…” The band has been involved in various projects that seek to alleviate poverty in Africa. The brothers are also into visual arts, photography and design. Isaac added, “We’re also husbands and fathers now” and apparently their kids are already starting to get into the rhythm of things, singing and playing a note or two now and then.
When quizzed how they’d respond if their children would suddenly come up and ask for their consent to form their own band, drummer Zac asserted, “The thing about being a musician and choosing this kind of life is, if you think you have to ask for permission from anyone before doing something, then you’re probably not somebody who should be doing it. When we were kids, we never asked our parents or anyone for approval to become who we are. We just did. And it’s important to believe and know you’re going to make it.”” ?
There’s a saying, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Follow your bliss, know what you love to do and go for it—we often hear people say this, but how many really go out there and actually get it done? We know Isaac, Taylor and Zac are among those people. Make sure you are too. Now, carpe diem! Go seize the day, do and become.