Hanne Leland’s “You Don’t Own Me” is an independence anthem

If you’ve been listening to the radio lately, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a ton of Norwegian artists on the rise. For example, we met with Astrid S earlier this year and have been obsessed with Norway ever since.

Our new fave Norwegian singer to hit the scene, Hanne Leland, premieres her newest single “You Don’t Own Me” today. Hanne was born and raised in Norway, currently lives in London, and in the past year has been streamed over 1.5 million times on Spotify. Hanne actually began her music career in the country music genre from a small countryside town in Norway. Hanne talked to us about her message behind her new single and why it’s important to help pick other women up.

Tell us about the message you want to send with this new single.

“You Don’t Own Me” is a message of empowerment, but it also has that vulnerable feel, because the truth is,  I don’t always feel strong and empowered. It’s a song I wrote about being hurt deeply, almost to the point of being bullied, but brushing myself off, and getting back on my feet. The message I want to convey through the song is that no matter what happens to you, or what people do to you, no one and nothing owns you, your mind, your body, or your happiness. You can rise again after falling.

What is this message important to you?

I think it’s important to spread the message of empowerment because I am lucky enough to live in the a part of the world where I get to express myself freely, and I think it’s important to use that opportunity for the good.

What inspires your personal style?

I like dressing both glamorously and sporty. I also love colors, so for the music video for my song “QUEEN” I wore a lot of  colorful and mismatching clothes, and I accidentally ended up with this cool 60’s style look. I love wearing clothes that stand out, and I feel like my fashion style fits my personality. It’s colorful and a little messy, just like me.

What got you started in country music?

I grew up on a farm in South Norway, and country music was really big in my hometown. My parents would play me a lot of the old Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton stuff. I’ve always been fascinated by the story-telling aspect of country music songwriting.

What influenced you to switch your music style over to pop?

I think it just came very natural to me. I mean, I have always loved pop, and I’ve listened a lot to it. It just felt like the right decision. I realized that I could write songs and tell my stories just as authentically through pop, and that’s when I decided to switch. I think it’s also partly because I started doing a lot of co-writes in Stockholm, Sweden. Sweden really is the home of pop music, and the Swedes are brilliant at crafting great pop songs. That inspired me a lot.

Last year you toured with All Saints. How has this experience influenced you as a person?

It definitely gave me more faith in myself as a live artist and performer. It made me realize that I can handle the big stages. I also had quite a few moments where I felt a deep and almost electric connection with the audience, which gave me serious chills. It gave me a deeper understanding of the power of music, and how it unites people.

What topics do you like to address in your work?

I don’t write a lot of happy happy songs, but I would say my songs usually have a hopeful and positive vibe to them. Like, “Okay, I’m hurt as fuck now, but tomorrow will be better.” I’m all about spreading the message of love, hope, and self empowerment, and I do believe that music can change the world, or at least make it a better place. I’m fascinated by the opportunity I have to communicate through music, knowing that someone out there might feel a little less alone in going through something, because of something I wrote. Music is incredible in that way. Oh, and I’ve also addressed a few of my ex-boyfriends in my songs 😉

What are your future goals for your career?

To keep releasing music that is authentic, to keep touring, and have people listening to, dancing to, and relating to my songs. Oh, and headline an arena world tour.

Is there anything that you feel defines you that your fans may not know?

I’m a proud supporter of the LGBT community, I consider myself a feminist (I believe everyone should be feminists), and I’m terrified of driving cars!

Photo credit: Roar Skutbergsveen


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