What got you interested in music?
Nic Hanson: What I really liked about it in the beginning was, I used to be a shy kid when I was very little and, when I was 11 or 12 or something, I really started discovering music and listening to music that wasn't just what my parents liked and I was really drawn to the nature of it being such a communal experience and such a thing that brought people together. That always sort of inspired me; I've always liked music that really involves a lot of people coming together to form one art.
Could you describe your sound?
I would say my sound is something like communal soul - it's soul music, but in a contemporary pop context. There's a lot of gospel influences and basically, just, it's a communal energy.
Which artists have influenced you?
My big one is Stevie Wonder - he's my number one, always. I also love Prince, D'Angelo. Of course, I'm from Philadelphia and I love those old sound of Philly guys; the Gamble and Huff people, the O'Jays, people like that. A lot of gospel music too, Kirk Franklin, Hezekiah Walker. I always loved Usher growing up; he was my favorite 'cause he was always on the radio and stuff. You know, a wide range.
Are you hooked on any songs right now?
Yeah, I'm actually really into Bryson Tiller right now. I wouldn't really call him similar to my sound, but I've been loving his new album.
What inspired your single, "Aisha"?
Oh, it's interesting. I've been doing this thing where I write a lot of songs about multiple sources and one of the things I've been trying recently is combining inspiration from people and inspiration from things in my life. So, like, I have one song that's about a girl and sleep, and sort of how certain things are personified in people and certain facets of my life. So, this song was inspired, first of all, by a girl whose name is not Aisha - but she's from back home and I'm not particularly close with her, I have to be honest - and also [laughs] coffee. It was sort of between these two things; I got a similar energy from this girl that I get from that first sip of coffee in the morning, super invigorating and really exciting, and I really liked that and so I sort of wrote that song with those two things in mind.
You touched on this briefly already; everything on your EP is self-written, so where do you get your ideas from?
Yeah, it's pretty much, I'm inspired by people, first and foremost: I love connections with people - human interactions and relationships are always my number one. But, also, I really love situations and I love weather, I think it's really interesting. I really like how light hits certain things, I really like going out on walks and stuff, I really like scenes and certain things that are really close to me so, I don't know, a lot of stuff, I guess.
Could you describe your forthcoming debut EP, let readers know what they can expect to hear?
You should expect to hear a lot of vocals, a lot of people on it. Even though it's all self-written, I like to get a lot of my friends involved; I have so many talented people close to me and I'm really thankful for that, so I like to get them all involved. There's going to be a lot of soul and a lot of vibe; I want it to be something that you can throw on at really any kind of party and people will be dancing - people will be moved to move.
What do you want listeners to take away from your music?
Honestly, I just want listeners to feel better after hearing one of my songs than they did beforehand. I think so many things in my life right now, so many things in our generation - something about social media and the internet, especially - they tend to bring me down and I never leave Twitter, Snapchat, Facebook, something in a better mood than when I got on it, typically. I feel like, I want my music to do the opposite of that, I want people to hear it and generally just have a good time. I'm not one of those people who tends to revel in writing really sad music - I have sad songs, but they don't sound that sad. I want people to groove and have a good time.
Is there anything you'd like to add?
I would like to shout out my engineer and producer, Ben Thomas, who also runs this place called After5 Studios down in Philly; show him a little love.