One listens to Berklee grad vocalist Hanna Barakat and you can tell quickly she has an immense set of pipes on her. With her new record out that was produced by Disturbed Bassist John Moyer, we spoke to Hanna to get some background on her
When did you start singing? Do you have any formal training in her youth?
HB: I think it’s safe to say I have been humming, and then singing since I could make sounds. My parents can attest to that! I was involved in choir in middle school and high school, performed in talent shows and musicals until I was accepted to Berklee College of Music, where I majored in Songwriting as a vocal principle.
What was your first gig?
HB: My first appearance on stage was playing the role of Gretl Von Trapp in a local production of The Sound Of Music in my hometown, Dallas, TX, when I was about 3-4 years old. I was also featured on Dallas’ local Radio Disney jingle at around that same time period. As for the big stage, my first gig, performing my original music, would have been at CHURCH venue in Boston in 2010 right before my graduation.
How did you meet John Moyer?
HB: I met John Moyer through a mutual musician friend here in Austin, TX. It was a chance meeting, and my friend recommended I reach out to John because he had mentioned he produced rock bands in the area. I am ashamed to say it took me a few months to get the courage to reach out and ask for a meeting, but after that first introduction, I knew I had to work with him! He is an incredible musician, producer, mentor, friend, and supporter. Due to John’s hectic schedule with Disturbed, and my self-funding this record, John and I worked on the record for a little over a year before sending it off to be mixed and mastered. In that year, we grew a lot, learned how to better extract creativity out of one another, and found a workflow and a groove that will not dwindle.
How experienced are you in playing guitar?
HB: I am a self-taught guitarist, and I can assure you I am no Nita Strauss! I use my guitar to write, to accompany myself in the creative process, and occasionally to lay down less intricate rhythm guitar parts. I am a singer, first and foremost. My guitar has always been a necessity, but I cannot claim it as my instrument. I have years to go in developing my chops!
Do you have any pre-gig rituals to get your voice in shape?
HB: This may get a bit embarrassing…I try to warm up my bones on show day, whether it is working out at the gym or just moving around a lot and then stretching. I do use pre-recorded vocal warm-up guides that I acquired during my training at Berklee. I also occasionally cue up my record and sing straight through it, to get my muscle memory engaged! When I really need an external “aid” for lack of a better word, I indulge in greasy food of some kind. French fries are a wonderful tool, I kid you not!
Do you have plans to tour?
HB: I most certainly plan on touring, though I do not have any announcements on that just yet. We do have many local shows planned in and around Texas for the next few months!
What are your plans for the rest of 2019? Any shows with John solo?
HB: As much as I would love to share the stage with John, he’s just a little bit tied up with his band, Disturbed, on a year-long world tour. I’m sure at some point we’ll get to do a show together, but my bassist will only let him play one or two songs before she bumps him off the stage! haha
For more info on Hanna visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/hannabarakatmusic/