“I was so passionate and focused on what I was doing with my career up to that point that I was never interested in girlfriends – even though girls were always trying to get our attention.” JONATHAN WEINER
Taylor Hanson is a musician best known for his pop band Hanson. The 39-year-old opens up about how his mum helped make Hanson happen, finding fame at a young age, and married life.
My maternal grandmother, Jane, was a homemaker, always cooking and sewing and running the office for her builder husband. They worked well as a team. She was also an artist who loved to sketch. She was warm and made you feel welcome in her home.
My mom, Diana, is a force of nature. She’s a doer; you never have to ask her to do anything because she’s one step ahead. Her willingness to encourage individuality in her children made a huge impression on me as a kid. We broke out making music really young as siblings [with brothers Isaac and Zac in the band Hanson], and it was Mom who saw that in us and encouraged it.
Mom could have had a full career as a singer. She had a scholarship to attend college to do this but didn’t like the culture. She channelled her energy into her family and kids. She raised seven children with my dad, Walker, whom she met at high school in Oklahoma. We spent a lot of time being home-schooled or attending an international school when we lived in Latin America, where Dad worked as an accountant.
When I was nine, we performed a cappella in a church and got a standing ovation. Mom organised it but she wasn’t a stage parent. It was her lust for life and experience that drove her. Our musical start as Hanson the band was organic, visceral and natural, thanks to her. Mom got us into a recording studio after this show; we nailed all the songs we knew and recorded until midnight. That was in 1995.
I have three sisters. The eldest, Jessica, is five years younger than me. She took on an older sibling role to the children under her. We have a very special relationship and are a tight family unit. Jessica is more behind the scenes and doesn’t like the spotlight. She is incredibly kind and deeply loyal.
My middle sister, Avery, is 31 and the other artist in the family – she’s a painter. She has a similar personality to Mom in that she can just walk up and have a conversation with anyone with zero apprehension. Our youngest sister, 24-year-old Zoe, was just an infant when we were touring the world as teenagers. It’s a different dynamic. She grew up knowing she had famous brothers.
I was mobbed by girls when we found fame as Hanson but I was awkward; I never felt comfortable wooing the opposite sex. I had a lot of female friends growing up because they were interested in having conversations and reading books, not because I wanted a romantic relationship.
I was so passionate and focused on what I was doing with my career up to that point that I was never interested in girlfriends – even though girls were always trying to get our attention. They’d bribe security while we were on tour in Latin America and be in our hotel rooms. Some of that experience is even too hard to articulate.
It wasn’t until I met my wife, Natalie, when I was 17 that I understood the desire to be in a relationship. We met in Atlanta after a Hanson show. Meeting her made me feel okay in my own skin.
Natalie and I started dating within a few months of meeting in 2000 and married in 2002. Natalie is extremely confident – and I need that in our relationship. There is no way this marriage would have worked if the two of us weren’t self-assured and comfortable in our own skin.
We have seven children, four sons and three daughters. Of our daughters, 17-year-old Penelope is an outgoing doer, a painter and muse. Wilhelmina likes being funny; she’ll be goofy and is also creative and loves acting. Maybellene is 18 months old; she makes sure you’re paying attention and definitely isn’t a wallflower.
Hanson will perform at the Enmore Theatre, Sydney, on November 9 and the Forum, Melbourne, on November 16 and 17.