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Talking about life and working out the harmonies with Hannah Campbell

We love sharing stories of the people who shoot for the moon and land amongst the stars. Our cover story features Hannah Campbell, a Jersey girl who has done just that. You might recognise her from one of her many musical pursuits, heck, maybe she’s sung at your wedding! Many of Jersey’s young people will know her from Chordz Music School, where she teaches singing.

Hannah is a born creative with a breath of fresh air attitude to love, life and learning.

Settled into one of the big comfy, leather sofas at Chordz coffee shop with a brew in hand, Hannah’s interview was a raucous chat; candid, funny, inspiring and did I say funny? Some girls have just got ‘it’ and the Roodmood front-woman has got ‘it’ in spades. The interview with Hannah was intended to see what makes her tick; her vivacious personality, approachability and quirky style sets her apart and this gorgeous Jersey girl is writing her own song as she goes along.

Starting life within a close-knit family with a strong bond between her and her younger sister, Sophia, the girls grew up in a busy and vibrant home. Hannah seems to get a lot from her mum, who is a seasoned performer and television broadcast journalist. In fact, it was Hannah’s mum who steered her toward the pursuit of happiness from a career in music.

“My mum is a real go-getter, a powerhouse. She’s so confident and ever since I was a young girl I’d look up to my mum and love watching her present the news on Channel TV in the mornings. She’d be up at 3:30am and out the door to write her news scripts before appearing on the telly. She’s literally the hardest working person I know!”

Sharon Campbell comes across as a very empowering mum who has worked mega hard in her job as well as following her passions with gusto and success, with Hannah following closely behind in her footsteps. Daddy Campbell, Sacha, is the free-spirited one and Hannah speaks of how her dad is a very grounding and fun-loving chap. Hannah describes her mum and dad as the Ying and Yang of the family; both are very different and that’s what makes it work so well.

“My dad’s a bit of a hippy I suppose! He’s super intelligent and was Head Boy at Vic, but he doesn’t like to conform or be told what to do and doesn’t stress about things. He is the best listener you could ever meet, he’s sensitive and understanding and a real people person. Some days I feel more like my mum, and on others more like my dad!”

Seems like Hannah’s parents provided a delightful balance and a very happy childhood indeed.

From a loving and supportive family home and school at JCG, Hannah has always loved to perform. Her passion stemmed from dancing and she took her skills to London’s School of Musical Theatre following a gap year after her A-Levels. It was at LSMT that Hannah quite literally found her voice. The change in pace and levels of pressure were the catalysts for progress and practicing the art of being more confident. Having cut her gap year short to attend the prestigious stage school, at 18 years old, Hannah was thrown in at the deep end; moving from our little island to live right in the middle of London. Long days, which consisted of drama, dance and ‘chunky singing’ classes, were accompanied by jobs in the theatre in some form or another at the weekends. In a new class with new faces all around her, Hannah made friends with peers who’d essentially end up being her competition in this ‘fast track route to the West End’.

“I’d definitely have benefitted from going to a place like Chordz in the lead up to LSMT. It was totally different to anything I’d done before. I guess that with confidence and anxiety as an issue for young people, it’s important to keep them interested and enthused by making things fun and relatable. As I grew up, I was really, really shy and quite sensitive, and I’d never have thought I’d end up doing any of this!”

As she went off to London as an avid dancer, Hannah says that LSMT opened a door for her to pursue singing. Having grown up watching her mum sing (Sharon Campbell is still a regular performer and recently starred in ‘Bette & Joan’ at the Jersey Opera House), Hannah had always believed that dance would ‘be her thing’.

“I hadn’t really thought about singing much before - and I loved it. The only thing was that I struggled a bit with my confidence. Singing is such a personal thing; it’s like baring all.”

As a music teacher herself, Hannah taps into some of the lessons she learned back in London. People and practices that really boosted her teenage confidence now influences her own teaching style. Recounting a method used by one of the top level professionals that would visit them each Friday, Hannah told us about a time she was plucked from the group and asked to copy exactly what her teacher did.

“She asked me to sing first and I died a little bit inside! not great when you’re a young girl who’s trying to look cool! I had to mimic her, following her round the room, flailing my arms and singing crazy noises louder and louder. Suddenly she stopped and told me to sing my song again… I sung and my voice just went big - I never knew I could do that! It really was a pivotal confidence building moment for me.”

“It’s about working out the harmonies,” she says, “and that goes for learning music to life itself”. Fist bumps were had in agreement at this point and Hannah’s face shone as we talked about her students and how they grow confidence by having fun whilst learning at Chordz. In fact, she wasn’t a bit wrong, Hannah is a sensitive soul as there was most definitely a happy tear in her eye as she recounted one particular story of a young lad who had gone from strength to strength at Chordz Rock School. Camaraderie within the students is fervent and flourishing and the teachers are quite the opposite of ‘typical’. If you think up the notion of the coolest big brother or sister, then you can start to get the vibe of how these guys work at Chordz. It’s hardly any wonder; as we sit in the cafe downstairs where the vibe is relaxed yet perky, fun and a place that any young person or teenager would feel right at home - that goes for parents too!

A couple of students give mega props to their favourite music teacher as they nip in for a smoothie and parents of students all stop to say hi to Hannah. Working alongside the people she describes as family, it’s no wonder she loves her day job.

Outside of ‘school’ Hannah is known for her performing. From her time in the trio known as Honeybun; a talented line up, styled to perfection, the girls became stars of the stage from hotels to big events like The Big Gig and were even flown to London to perform at a swanky, private event. Singing with her mum in an Abba Tribute band was her first memory of getting up on stage and she’s gone on to sing with The Optimistic Voices who played at the recent Liberation Day celebrations.

Hannah’s always evolving with her music and her performances and is never afraid to mix things up or change direction completely.

Nowadays, alongside some of her Chordz cohorts, Hannah is the lead singer in the Roodmood covers band. Hitting the high notes of many a wedding or special event, the band has gone from strength to strength (do check out their gorgeous Insta feed!). Driven by a passion for music and with the effervescence of a happy crew behind her on stage, Hannah’s performances are always a treat. Putting a lot of her confidence and ability down to experiencing new things and staying focused, Hannah thinks that travel is a ‘must’ when you come from a small island.

“I’d say it’s really important to get off of Jersey at some point in order to really value what we have here. You’re always happy to come home to Jersey aren’t you? On the other side though, Jersey can feel a little small and definitely when it comes to music, it can be competitive or sometimes people are afraid that they might be treading on other peoples’ feet. I think it’s so important to keep your eyes on what you want to do; what you want to achieve. I’m really mindful to keep a check on staying focused. As a function covers band, we have to keep things fresh and different - although they’re covers, we like to put our unique stamp on all of our performances. When I sing something, I have to feel proud of it.”

With a team of equally talented musicians behind her and job that involves her nearest and dearest friends, as well as a fabulous family, Hannah isn’t shy about expressing how happy she is. We don’t blame you, Hannah; living the dream whilst working out the harmonies in life.


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