hannah diamond talks pop, from pc music to bubblegum britney

As i-D produces Hannah Diamond's first ever music video in association with BABY-G we sit down with the singer to talk pop, photography and how she nearly became a professional ten pin bowler…

by Matthew Whitehouse
05 November 2015, 5:20pm

Hello. Hi. It's been helluva week for salutations in pop. While the former saw i-D cover star Adele looking to the past -- pulling the dust covers off old furniture, flip phone in hand -- Hi sees PC Music artist Hannah Diamond casting her mind to the future, dreaming of pop superstardom from her (Pink and Blue) bedroom. We've all sat in our bedroom dreaming of becoming popstars. What makes Hannah Diamond different is that she actually enlisted directors Bradley and Pablo to turn that dream into a (hyper) reality. So what we have is a video about becoming a popstar, by someone who is actually becoming a popstar. It sounds confusing, but all you really need to know is that Hi is the best PC Music track yet. 

Hello, Hannah Diamond. Tell us a bit about how Hi came into being.
A. G. Cook and I started writing Hi about two years ago, it sort of stayed as a shell of a track for a long time but it remained on my mind because I really liked it. We had been in the studio working on a lot of demos for my album but I kept coming back to this one, and when I found out that it was going to be possible to make a music video, I knew that it had to be this track. The fact it's one of the original songs we wrote meant it seemed like a nice way of tying up my older material, and a good way of introducing my next phase -- kind of a bye and 'Hi' really!

The video shows you in your bedroom dreaming about becoming a pop star. Did you always know you wanted to be a pop star or did you ever go through periods of wanting to be a vet or an astronaut or something?
When I was a little kid it was really a toss up between being a vet and fashion designer. I love animals and always have really good connections with them. In terms of the fashion design, when I first went to school, I used to make my mom clothes and shoes out of paper and plastic bags, and she would get a new look every day when she came to pick me up! When I went to college, I studied fashion communication and worked out in my second year that I was going to focus on photography. I had been focusing on illustration for a long time and I had always been very ambitious when it came to making images but once I realized that I could really push the ideas and level of fantasy to the next level by taking photographs, then it got like 1000% more exciting. Besides everything that's going on with my music, I'm very proud that I'm also a professional photographer and last month was able to shoot the latest Boohoo and Impulse campaigns with Charli XCX with my photography partner William Wright.

What is it about pop music that you love?
For me, the appeal of pop music isn't really just about the music, it's about the ability it has to transform culture and influence so many other different mediums. I love the idea of merging a lot of different creative processes and bringing them all together in a really accessible way. Also with pop there is definitely is a real sense of nostalgia for the music you connected with during your childhood and the way it would make you feel, which for me was NSYNC, Christina Aguilera and Britney. The way they all mixed iconic fashion, music, dance, still and moving images basically sums up everything that is exciting to me about pop.

This is your very first music video. How did making it compare with how you imagined making a pop video would be?
It was amazing! I'm so glad that I was able to work with Bradley and Pablo because I knew as soon as we had spoken about creative and had sent over their first treatment that I could really trust them to make something that I would love. The set was incredible and the whole day I could barely believe that everything going on was all for me. It was also really fascinating from a technical perspective for me as a photographer seeing how music videos are lit and shot, and also really fun to be on the other side of the camera for a change, too!

How important exactly are visuals to what you do?
For me, the visuals are as important as the music. I enjoy doing both so much that one without the other just wouldn't be the same! Because I'm so interested in and enjoy the technical side of photography and post production I would find it really hard to ever let go of that side of things, so it's important that whenever I collaborate on music or visuals, it's with someone that I really trust that understands me and my vision. Also I find it so much easier to express myself through images and music. It could take 20 hours for me to work out a way to say something which could be understood in just a few seconds using images and sound. Being able to make a music video and communicate the story behind the song has been the ultimate luxury.

Now you have the both the music and the music video, what's the next step in your pop star transformation? What would Hannah Diamond merchandise look like, for example?
I'm working on my album at the moment which is really exciting and have been working a lot with Charli XCX doing various photography things. We've spoken a bit recently about maybe doing some music together which would be really fun! I've got a lot of ideas about merchandise, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to keep that a secret for now!

Can we expect to hear a full album any time soon?
At the moment I want to work on as many demos as I can so that I can really pick out the best stuff for the album - we've written about 30 so far! And I still wanna do more, I'm not sure when exactly it will be finished, the main thing for me is that I put out something that feels really me.

Tell us a secret or something that only you know.
I used to be a pro at ten pin bowling when I was a kid and used to play national competitions and ended up winning loads of trophies, one time I actually got the perfect game!

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