The Former Model and On-the-Rise Singer Meets Her Wet Destiny
The feline visage and tear-soaked vocals of Hannah Cohen are captured in V Magazine and Vogue photographer Matthu Placek’s aqueous video for her debut single, “Child Bride.” An ascendant star of the New York scene, Cohen was first encouraged to pick up a guitar after falling in with a group of the city’s most-anointed musicians, including Grammy-award-winner Jesse Harris and cabaret artist Justin Bond. “For the past five years I have been mostly listening to Brazilian vinyl from the 60s and 70s,” the sultry artist says of her inspirations. “The classics like Caetano Veloso—his record Jóia is an absolute favorite of mine.” Cohen’s folk-infused songs and striking looks soon caught the attention of Antony and the Johnsons collaborator Thomas Bartlett; the pair are now working on Cohen’s first album, an epic project comprising strings, guitar and lashings of heartbreak. We spoke to the songwriter about jazz, saturation and sad unicorns.
So, how was the shoot?
It was fabulous. I got a cold actually! They basically drowned me seven times. I got there at 9am and we left at 1.30am the next day. Matthu wanted to do a straight shot with just one take, so the water had to do the right thing at the right time. I have an emotional hangover from it!
How did you and Matthu cross paths?
We met over eight months ago, through performer Justin Bond at PS1. I was finishing my record up and sent Matthu a couple of songs. He called me up freaking out, saying, “I have to do a video, I know exactly what I want to do!”
When you first moved to New York you were modelling, when did you start playing music?
I started playing guitar about three years ago. My ex-boyfriend (Jesse Harris, who wrote Norah Jones’s “Don’t Know Why”) is a musician and I picked up his guitar on vacation in Brazil. When he came back I was playing and he was like, “Don’t touch my guitar. When we get back I’ll buy you one.” So he bought me my first guitar and I taught myself how to play. I started writing songs and eventually playing shows.
Were you ever musical when you were younger?
My father’s a jazz musician, a drummer, and I would always hum along to jazz records and listen to a lot of Billie Holiday. I liked to sing but I never thought I was a singer.
If you had to give your music a genre what would it be?
My music is for unicorns. It is in the sad unicorn genre.