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Charlette Hannah


It is a voice that demands attention without offending it - seductive, powerful, expressive. You watch, spellbound, as she weaves words around a melody, her beautiful voice soaring with ballads and upbeat pop country tunes.

It is hard to define a box to put Charlette’s music in. Her debut album, The Path Unclear, features songs which range from distorted rock to soft love songs, passing by folk, pop, alternative rock, even jazz styles. Yet somehow this eclectic mix doesn’t jar the senses; with her hypnotising voice and skilled song-writing, Charlette pulls it all together into a concise and pleasurable experience.

Born in Wellington and raised in the folk scene, Charlette was exposed to live music from an early age. She made her first performance aged four, and sang duets with her mother for many years. Her family moved to England when she was ten, which expanded Charlette’s musical influences. Upon moving back to New Zealand, they settled on the outskirts of Motueka where she attended high school, winning the school’s talent quest at the age of 15. The years of country isolation resulted books full of writing, and a head full of intense thoughts which became the fodder for many songs. “I will hear a word, or a phrase, or be reminded of a feeling, and all of a sudden thoughts turn into a song. I draw a lot on my own experience when I’m writing songs, I think it’s hard to relate to people through songs when you’re not writing about something you know personally. A couple of times when I’ve played a song to the band for the first time I’ve actually cried remembering the situation I wrote the song in,” she explains.

Although a very bright student, Charlette didn’t complete high school, choosing instead to work on the local paper where she was offered a job as a reporter. She left home at 17, and moved to Melbourne in 2005 to start her OE. However, the pangs for friends left behind saw her return a few months later to attend a contemporary music and performance course. Forming her first original band, Qarousel, for which she was the primary songwriter, Charlette continued down the challenging road of being of a musician. She also played bass in a covers band.

The time came to move on, and Charlette decided to return to her roots in Wellington at the beginning of 2006. Since arriving in the capital city, Charlette has steadily been building a reputation as a talented and dedicated singer/songwriter. Founding the hugely popular website WellingtonLiveMusic.com, she has become a much respected name in the local music scene, with tendrils stretching through the country and even internationally. Somewhat surprised to discover an aptitude for business as well as creativity, Charlette works late and hard, always passionate about the music industry. As always, there are many plans in the pipeline.

She has also founded the Scorching Records label, under which she is releasing her debut album as well as other upcoming artists. Recorded at Braeburn Studio with the nurturing and skilled Robbie Duncan, the album features Charlette’s core band of Vince Waide on bass, Hans Weston on drums as well as many guest artists from electric guitar to cello. Charlette plays guitar, piano and the bodhran on the album. “When you invite other musicians to play your songs, it’s fascinating to learn what they hear in them, what they come up with. Working with so many people on this album has been quite an amazing experience.”

Moving to Wellington has also been a time of great personal happiness, meeting early on the man who would later propose to her on a beach in the moonlight with his knees in the wet sand. A fellow musician from Dunedin, Hans is the drummer on her album and will be touring with her this summer.
“I write happier songs now,” she says with a smile.

The tour sees Charlette and Hans, with the bass player from Qarousel, travelling the length of the country from Dunedin to Auckland, starting in the middle. They are playing 13 shows in ten towns over December and January. The Path Unclear will be released in February 2008, and a three-song sampler is available during the tour, including her single My Rocket.

Charlette Hannah is a name to remember and a voice you won’t be able to forget.

By Ashley Turner

Member Managed Listing



  • Wellington

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