by Joey Phoenix
“It’s been a hard year so far, but you are stronger than you think you are…”
New York-based Hannah Cranton (she/her) is a singer-songwriter and aspiring stop motion animator with deep North Shore roots. Not only was she raised here, but she is a former member of the bossa nova band, Clay Ventre and the Bond Girls and the eccentric rock band, Black Dog Brother.
In late 2020, she released the music video for “Cards,” the title track to her 2019 EP produced by Katie Buchanan, and the song is giving us permission to feel our feelings.
All of them.
“I have a number of people that I love in my life that say things like, ‘Everything will be fine,’ or ‘it’s okay,’” Hannah said. “What I wish I got more often was: ‘Hopefully everything’s gonna be okay. But if it’s not, we’ll deal with it.’
“And that’s what this whole year has really felt like, because everything is not okay.”
Hannah is no stranger to grappling with difficult feelings lyrically. Themes of loss and longing are pervasive throughout her music. In “Kite,” (Cards, 2019) she describes sensations of longing, letting go, and coming to terms with fear. In “Roller Coaster Ride,” (Without of a Shadow of a Certainty, 2013) she deals with the dark side of relationships and the lasting impact they can have on self-worth.
The Making of “Cards”
Hannah had planned to start working on the music video for “Cards” in early 2020, but like with many when COVID-19 hit the global stage, the motivation to finish it all but disappeared.
“I had originally hoped to physically visit the people that wanted to be a part of this project and film or photograph them myself at their homes or at a location they chose,” she said, “but it didn’t come together until I had more time during the lockdown.”
As 2020 wore on, motivation slowly returned as she thought up ways to create the video virtually. But she just had one more challenge to overcome.
“It took me a while to work up the courage to ask people to participate,” she said, “but eventually I realized that I like things that make me feel less alone. And I felt like this could be that too. I felt so sad, and maybe they were feeling that too.”
Art has always been an outlet for handling difficult emotions, so perhaps it’s no surprise that when Hannah asked, her community answered.
“It was very powerful putting it together from a personal standpoint because it felt like nearly everyone from my life was involved in it somehow,” she said. “But not everyone in the video knew each other and that really affected me. It made me reflect on how despite the need to stay physically distant from one another at this time, we’ve found creative ways to stay connected and build community.”
With “Cards” she asked the people in her community to choose a lyric from the song they resonated with most. From there, they would record a video or take a photo of the card depicting the lyric they chose to be included in the music video.
The completed video includes the sent in footage along with a stop motion sequence which Hannah both designed and filmed. The result is poignant, and it’s hard not to watch it without getting swept up in the bittersweet beauty of it and its commentary on what we’ve all collectively experienced since March of 2020.
“Right now the world is experiencing a devastating amount of loss, the loss of life, loss of income, loss of future plans,” Hannah described.
“I hesitate to say we’re all in this together because everything that is going on is not effecting everyone equally, but hopefully seeing a little group of people from diverse backgrounds coming together around universal human feelings of fear, doubt, sadness and strength will be a three minute and thirty-three second symbol of resilience and perseverance.”
Although live in-person performances are on pause and the future is still uncertain, Hannah plans to continue making music for as long as she is able. You can learn more about her by checking out her website at www.hannahcranton.com, by following these useful links,
Where to listen
Where to connect
Or by watching the rest of the videos from Cards.
Joey Phoenix (they/them) is the Director of Brand Strategy and Innovation at Creative Collective. As the resident storyteller and town crier, they encourage you to send story ideas, inspiration, or pictures of adorable critters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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