Continuing to celebrate her newly released song “Rhinestone Rodeo” our Swag Spotlight this week is Hannah Bethel. Born in Wisconsin, the talented singer-songwriter starting playing guitar when she was only 13 years old. Her influences growing up included Tom Petty, James Taylor, Fleetwood Mac, and The Eagles as well as all of the great female country artists of the 1990s like Martina McBride, Trisha Yearwood, and Shania Twain. She explains in our most recent interview that she never played sports or really had any other focuses besides being on stage. “I didn’t really have anyone else in my life who was musical but I loved singing, using my voice and basically I loved entertaining people,” she tells us. “I was always putting on a show at family get-togethers and being a ham and I just loved the reaction I would get when people heard my voice.”
She recalls the whole process of learning to play the guitar and even writing songs came very natural to her and she started playing gigs wherever she could. Finding inspiration early on, she just knew she needed to do what it takes to get herself to Nashville “I had this clipping from American Songwriter magazine that said: “Inside every good girl is a bad girl packing her bags and heading to Nashville” she laughs. “It was hilarious but when I was 13, I cut it out, I laminated it with scotch tape and I put it in my school locker and I just always knew I would end up there.”
After high school she did just that, making the move to Nashville and attending Belmont University for two years, studying music. As her life as a musician got busier, she decided to focus all of her energy on writing, recording, and touring but is so grateful for the community she built while at Belmont. Ever since leaving college, Bethel has spent her time honing in on her craft, co-writing and releasing music. Last October she wrote a song called “Train” with her younger sister and it was her first release in quite some time. “I had just come out of a 2 year period that was really tough for me, I had left a 4-year relationship, I had been in Nashville for what seemed like forever, I wasn’t sure if I should still be doing music, it was just hard. In that, that season of darkness I really, really was able to connect to my center and find my voice as a writer,” she explains. She spent the next six months looking for a videographer who would work with her specific vision for the video for the song that she says felt like “magic” from the very start. “Everything just flowed so naturally for “Train” and it was almost like when I finally decided to surrender to being my truest self, everything just started moving,” Bethel says. “It was really magical and just special for this song that came out of a dark difficult place, to turn into so much joy and forward movement for something I’ve been working on my entire life.”
Just last Friday (May 31) Bethel released her next single “Rhinestone Rodeo”. Our writer Erica when reviewing the song wrote: “The song is innovative, carefree, and alluring, as Bethel blurs genre lines effortlessly on the track. Her voice is impactful, yet soft, reminiscent of country megastar Kacey Musgraves’ undeniable talent. Proving that she is a force to be reckoned with in the industry, the songstress pushed to write and record this song, as it embodied a message and a story that she wanted to share with the world.”
Bethel tells us that she had the idea for years, pitching it in writing rooms around town but nobody seemed interested in talking badly about Nashville. Eventually, she wrote the song with Nicole Witt of Farewell Angelina and Tiffany Goss. “I just wanted to share an authentic story about what it’s like to live this life, I think it might be cathartic for us.” The song tells the story of frustration and ultimately it doesn’t matter if the listener is or isn’t a musician, its a struggle and being transparent about those difficult times that the lyrics relate to. “That is the one common thing that we share, we are all improvising as we go, we are all chasing our joys, and trying to stay in our peace,” she shares. “Being transparent is so empowering, it brings peace of mind to me that we are all just trying to figure it out.”
Looking ahead to the rest of this year, Bethel is excited to continue to promote the new single out on the road, adding dates across the country and to releasing even more new music. For all of her tour dates head to https://www.hannahbethel.com/.
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