“There’s no fucking way she’s only eighteen” pierced through the rowdy crowd at The Wiltern this past Saturday night, as the opening act of Bad Sun’s Mystic Truth Tour worked her way into yet another compelling song. With a band comprised of only a drummer and a bassist (who also doubles as a keyboardist), young Carlie Hanson danced around the stage, mesmerizing not only her own fans, but also those in the audience, who before that night, had never even heard her name.
Much like many young, dynamic artists of the current musical era, Hanson rose to fame by mere chance via the unwavering power of social media (and in this case, the almighty One Direction). In 2016, iHeartRadio hosted a contest where fans who posted a video of themselves singing “Pillowtalk” by former 1D member Zayn Malik, would have the chance to win a pair of tickets to see him live.
Hanson, identifying herself as “the biggest One Direction fan” took advantage of the opportunity and posted a video of herself singing the track on Instagram, not realizing that iHeart would go on to repost her entry on their own socials.
Though she ended up not winning the contest, what she got in return seemed to be a hell of a lot more interesting than a couple of nosebleed seats to a show. Her post quickly gained attention, causing music producers to reach out to her via DM’s, inviting her to record with them in Canada.
It’s hard to imagine how a Gen Z teen who gushes over One Direction and Justin Bieber is also the same person who has a Kurt Cobain tattoo and whose first exposure to live music was a Disturbed concert. These crossovers, however, are telling of Hanson’s personal musical style, which is a melting pot of pop infused with dashes of alternative, hip-hop, and rock influence.
Hanson’s ability to not confine herself into a specific genre may be the reason why she’s been able to gain so much success in such a short amount of time. Just this past year, the rising star has managed to tour with a rather impressively diverse number of artists including YUNGBLUD, Jeremy Zucker, Troye Sivan, and most recently, Bad Suns.
“[I] grew more as a performer,” she said in regard to spending so much time on tour. “I was able to get better and better as time went on. [It] was a real learning experience.”
Hanson’s greatest asset, aside from her superior vocals, is the way she carries herself and exudes confidence on stage, regardless of the audience she must cater to.
During the five-week tour she just wrapped up with Bad Suns, she mentioned trying her best to engage with the audience and make them laugh.
The final night of the tour took place on May 11 at The Wiltern in Los Angeles, where Hanson rolled out on stage on a scooter with pink, glittery tassels hanging from the sides, after which she went on to introduce herself and her bandmates who, “oh yeah, are single, babies,” according to Hanson.
Hanson’s setlist included some of her most popular songs, including “Only One,” which Taylor Swift added to her playlist of favorite songs on Apple Music in 2017.
Hanson also sang her latest single, “Back In My Arms,” during which she proceeded to lay on the floor and air-guitar after hitting an ever-impressive high note.
“[The song is about] my first relationship I had with a girl,” said Hanson. She recalls writing the song during the height of the long-distance relationship, when she was “feeling very butterfly-y.”
And though the song includes lustful lyrics like “You can make me feel brand new” and “You’re something that I can’t forget”, the music video’s premise depicts Hanson and her family taking part in a robbery, tossing money out of a van, throwing around smoke bombs and a dead cat.
“I love to be a part of the creative part,” Hanson eagerly admitted. “I wanna shock people every time I create something.”
Hanson’s creativity continued to peer throughout her set, as she sang some unreleased songs that will makeup her upcoming debut EP. “Junk” is set to release on June 7, via Warner Brothers Records.
There’s no stopping Hanson as far as she’s concerned. Fresh off a tour with Bad Suns, and on the brink of turning 19, she plans to spend all summer making music, after which she will be heading out to Australia and New Zealand to support LAUV on his “~how I’m feeling~” tour in the fall.
And after that?
“I really wanna go on my own tour,” she hopes. With already over 1.3 million monthly listeners on Spotify, it seems the teen phenom is well on her way to superstardom.