2017 has already been an amazing year for DJ Hannah B. Not only did she perform sets on 7 of the 8 nights for the world’s biggest Hip Hop Artist Drake on his ‘Boy Meets World’ tour in London, she also opened up Craig David’s electric TS5 performance at the 02 arena and has even more to look forward to with sets for pop superstars Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars coming up soon.
Through hard work and dedication, Hannah B has skyrocketed to DJ success in such a short period of time – it took her just six years to become one of the capital’s most well-known DJs. But to truly understand how remarkable her achievements have been, we have to look back at where Hannah’s journey began. Always an avid fan of Hip Hop music, Hannah would obsess over remix versions of her favourite songs on nights out with her friends, so much so that one day, a friend of hers encouraged her to try her hands on the decks and the Londoner has not looked back ever since. It took just a few sessions with Kiss radio DJ Melvin (yes, from The Ricky and Melvin Show) to perfect her skills and she has pressed on and made a name for herself by performing sets for some of Hip Hop’s biggest names such as J.Cole, The Game and Nicki Minaj. She is also a resident DJ at London’s top nightclub hotspots such as star studded DSTRKT London and Paper Soho and has indulged in the amazing lifestyle that the glamourous city has to offer.
DJ Hannah B has mastered one key element that every successful DJ needs - the ability to read her crowd. ‘When I first started I wanted to play just Hip Hop…but I very quickly humbled to the fact that no actually, that’s not the way it’s done and if you want the best atmosphere you have to cater to them – you take clubbers on a journey.’ We also talked about the craft and concentration it takes to become a top-class DJ. Often perceived as just a fun and easy job, especially when there are many talented DJs who make the job look like a breeze, Hannah assured us that being a DJ can’t be done by just anyone and is certainly a tough job: ‘I don’t think there is a job that compares to it to be honest.’ Despite this she states that she loves her job and that being a DJ has taken her around the world travelling to places like Los Angeles and Dubai to perform in front of international crowds.
‘No Long Talk’
Speaking on her incredible experience opening for Drake at the London 02 arena she said: He’s insane! Having watched him seven nights in a row, you don’t get bored, he switches it up each time.’ Often when huge international celebrities come to town it is easy to be phased. However, Hannah, who is already familiar with Drake and his entourage said Drake and his team were very respectful and recounted the time he surprised clubbers by appearing at Hannah’s set at new London nightclub Paper Soho alongside UK rapper Giggs. This happened prior to the release of ‘More Life’ and gave fans a taste of what to expect from the incredible playlist with snippets of the moment emerging online shortly afterwards. In the clip below, you can watch Drake premiere the heavy bass tracks ‘KMT’ and ‘No Long Talk’ with Hannah B stood on the left as the crowd went wild. Hannah certainly approves of the Toronto talisman’s infatuation with London culture stating: ‘You know what he’s done for our culture, he’s put us on the map. To have on his album Jorja Smith, Skepta and Giggs, it’s just such a nod to us.’
More recently, Hannah opened the show for another talented friend of hers, the one and only Craig David. On the UK Garage and RnB legend she said: ‘I think humble and good people win…He’s a good person with a good heart with the most insane amount of talent.’ Craig David’s TS5 set was incredible. As the resident DJ at the 02, Hannah is in a pretty good position to judge. She described Craig David’s experience as the busiest the 02 has ever been: ‘It had the most insane atmosphere.’ He turned the TS5 experience into a full-on rave at the 02.’ When asked about her upcoming shows supporting pop superstar Ed Sheeran and international RnB star Bruno Mars, she expressed her excitement. Plotting again on how to read what will be a rather different crowd to the Drake and Craig David sets, Hannah predicts she will throw in some of Michael Jackson’s RnB classics to appeal to the Bruno Mars fans headed down to the capital.
As a prominent female DJ, Hannah has been able to break boundaries in what is a heavily male dominated industry. Speaking passionately about the challenges faced by female DJs such as sexism, she told us about how there can be certain expectations of what women in the industry can achieve and how she has been determined to shatter the glass ceiling through hard work and dedication to her craft. We spoke about the importance of image in the industry and she proudly stated: ‘Image is important. My Instagram is massively image led and because you are criticised or judged on what you look like, you might as well take advantage of it. If you’re working out and keeping yourself healthy then you should be proud of what you look like and embrace what you have but of course you can’t just rely on that.’
Shattering expectations is certainly what we love and respect here at Keakie. On people’s reaction to her DJ skills given their prior conceived notions of how good she may be based on her glamourous looks Hannah joked: ‘I enjoy shocking people because I work hard, I’m constantly playing music and constantly looking for new music. When I get onstage people do not expect what I’m about to do.’
Speaking about globalism and how music has helped the world become more multicultural. Hannah told us about her Swiss roots and explained how different forms of Hip Hop are appreciated in different countries. She also showed her enthusiasm for the French Hip Hop scene and the infectious hooks which listeners may not be able to understand but will certainly enjoy the energetic vibe. ‘If you’re a lover of music it can affect your mood, it can lift you. I can listen to absolutely anything’ she told us.
Hannah promises us that there is a lot to look forward to from her in the in 2017 including a spree of summer festivals in Marbella, Dubai and Bahrain as well supporting big UK acts such as Krept and Konan, Lethal Bizzle and Kojo Funds.
Be sure to connect with Hannah B across her socials (Instagram and Twitter): @DJHannahB
Credits: Rahmon Agbaje