Hannah Bethel Makes Sadness Sound Beautiful on New EP: ‘I Was Really Grieving and Reevaluating’
Hannah Bethel grew up on music.
Whether it was the sounds of artists such as James Taylor and Tom Petty floating out of the garage in which her dad worked, or Madonna and Michael Jackson blaring from her mom’s aerobics classes in the basement, the Michigan native was surrounded by some of the greatest voices of our time.
And soon, she decided to be one of those voices.
So, she moved to Nashville.
Today, Bethel is basking in the success of her latest EP Until the Sun Comes Back Around, flush with songs that she had been hard at work on before the pandemic shut everything down.
“This collection of songs was about a really difficult season of my life where I was in the middle of a major transition,” she says of the project which serves as her first new music since 2020. “I was going through a breakup and was really grieving and reevaluating," she adds with a pause. "So, it's kind of a sad record.”
But with sadness often comes beauty, and it is this that Bethel found as she began tracking the project back in November of 2020, especially within the creation of her current single “Godspeed, Los Angeles.”
“I'm really, really proud of how that one turned out,” says Bethel, who moved to Nashville in 2008. “When relationships don't work out, sometimes it's easier to revert to a victim mentality instead of just admitting that you just weren’t a good fit. This song basically allowed me to send love to this person and honor his journey.”
Indeed, most of the cuts on Until the Sun Comes Back Around end up being a therapy session of sorts, in which the listener can put themselves into every lyric and find their own story right there waiting for them.
“Working on this project was a huge turning point for me as a songwriter because I found magic in writing without being attached to anyone else's expectation of what I was creating,” Bethel explains. “That really unlocked a key for me in all of my future writing from that point on.”
Of course, now as time has passed since Bethel first put her feelings on paper, she finds herself listening to the songs of Until the Sun Comes Back Around somewhat differently.
“It really does feel like a different life,” she explains. “I've grown and evolved so much since that experience. At the same time, these songs still feel good to me, and still feel like an accurate representation of those emotions and of that experience. That's what is amazing about songs. They are like little snapshots into what's going on in the heart.”
And sometimes, that heart still hurts.
“The collective trauma that every single person in literally the entire world has been going through over the last couple years can’t be understated,” she says quietly. “It’s going to take some time to heal and move through this. So many of us are trying to shove down that grief and get back to whatever normal was before this. But I think the fact of the matter is that we have all been irrevocably changed.”
And the sun will come back up again.
“Trust the cycle,” concludes Bethel, who also works as a certified Reike and hypnotherapy practioner. “You don't spend all night stressing out about the sun coming back up because you know that it will come back. Instead, you just enjoy the night. And then the sun comes back.”