Evan Hannah goes above and beyond with his essential Pop sound; Debuts “My Body is Holy: words, songs, and Hymns for the inner child” on 11/26


Evan Hannah is a Virginia Beach native who commenced his musical journey at age 9 under the guidance of his church music director, John Vann. Influenced by community-driven arts programs like The Boy’s Choir of Hampton Roads and the Norfolk State University Summer Music Clinic, Evan developed a deep passion for Black art and community engagement during his formative years. Following high school, he delved into songwriting and creative expression as a means of navigating a complex adolescence, drawing inspiration from Mr. Vann’s teachings. His projects, each centered around themes like grief, self-acceptance, and loneliness, aimed to provide layered experiences for others to navigate their emotional journeys.

One standout project, “The Morning EP,” inspired an exhibition called “Morning to Morning,” while an internship with a local community theater led to a live, multi-visual concert experience for “Hissing Sounds.” Collaborating with artists like John Terrell, Michael Castillo, and Jake Hull, Evan’s work, including the Black community arts festival “Cotton Candy Grooves,” reflected both positive and challenging experiences in the Hampton Roads area. In 2019, Evan embarked on crafting his debut three-part album, “Rooms,” inviting listeners to join a three-season journey exploring healing and trauma recovery. The release of “Rooms, Part I” in May 2023 marked a significant milestone, with upcoming parts featuring new collaborations and production, further showcasing Evan’s commitment to transparency and artistic growth. Alongside his musical endeavors, Evan established the non-profit “The Treehouse Group” in 2023, launching with the theater project “Back to Earth,” which aims to bring the origins of “Rooms” to life and foster a healing journey for the audience.

For Evan, music and art serve as invitations to process complex emotions, connect with like-minded individuals, and inspire hope for change. Surviving and making the most of available resources have been integral aspects of his artistic journey. “Rooms” invites listeners to join him on a three-season journey, beginning with late spring in “Rooms, Part I,” transitioning into winter in “Rooms, Part II,” and concluding in spring with “Rooms, Part III.” The intention is to encourage all listeners, whether part of the community or newcomers, to welcome the music and stories into their lives more deeply.

While still finalizing “Part I” of “Rooms,” Evan curated an exhibition titled “free space” in May 2022, in collaboration with The Contemporary Arts Network, exploring the early themes of the album. The exhibition showcased the work of LGBTQ+ artists Michael Logan, Sebastian Mills, and Tori Quallis, who created room installations inspired by their inner child. Attendees were invited to craft boxes inspired by their own inner child, and the exhibition concluded with a panel discussion during Pride Month.

On November 26, 2023, at 5 PM, Evan Hannah will present a new performance entitled “My Body is Holy: words, songs, and hymns for the inner child.” This piece features new poetry from Norfolk, VA native Imagine, and musicians from Grace Episcopal Church in The Plains, VA. This piece explores many layers of sacred music and original material from Evan. He’ll share this art from the lens of his childhood journey through music, trauma, healing, and spirituality. He hopes this piece creates a safe space for queer and trans individuals to heal and process their own experiences and honor their wholeness.

We had the honor to catch up with Evan, below.


“free space” exhibition explored themes from “Rooms, Part I.” Can you discuss the exhibition’s concept and its connection to the album’s themes?

This exhibition was a huge part of the development of Rooms. I was able to curate and partner with an amazing organization, The Contemporary Arts Network. The exhibition explored creating “Room” inspired installations inspired by the inner child. For our opening, we had materials for folks to create their own boxes inspired by their inner child. The album is many many different inner child exercises and processes. It pulls from a lot of that healing work throughout the album, so this was me inviting people to have a “free space” where they can share in the same healing. I was so honored to feature the work of Tori Qualls, Michael Logan, and Sebastion Mills. 


“Rooms, Part II” is on the horizon. Could you provide some insights into what listeners can expect from this next part of your musical journey?

Rooms, Part II goes deeper into some of the messiness of trauma recovery. I’m exploring a lot of self-criticism and being hard on myself for feeling stuck in the same cycles. Sonically, Jake Hull handles majority of the production, but there’s still some of the EH x Michael Castillo sound on there as well as track produced by DANSKIY. I’m excited to be continuing the story of this album and bringing more of it to life visually. There’s a couple features on Part II that really bring out the feels. 


“The Treehouse Group” is your community arts and mental health nonprofit. What inspired you to start this organization, and what are your goals with it?

My big big vision goals for this organization are to offer different trauma-centered care to QTPOC and youth. I navigated so much trying to heal and find safety in my life, and I really want other trauma survivors to have options and choices for what will support them and their families. As the organization develops, we will be trying out different programming till we find what feels the best for us and the communities we care for. Free space was a part of this. We’ve done a trans youth winter holiday event, and there’s some other things that will rollout next year alongside Rooms-related performances. 


Tell us more about “Back to Earth,” the theatre piece from “The Treehouse Group.” How does it tie into the origins of “Rooms”?

Back to Earth is a piece that brings out a lot of stories and songs I wrote while experiencing a lot of trauma as a teen through the arch of a metamorphosis. It’s like a love letter to my teenage self. There’s a lot of music from Rooms in the piece, but the show is designed to be scalable so when we present the piece next year some performances will have more musical and scenic elements while others will be more barebones. I’ve consulted some really special people, and a couple of them are still going to work with me as the piece comes to life next year. 


You have mentioned conducting workshops in 2023. What can participants expect to gain from these workshops, and how can they get involved?

Yes! There will be a couple of workshops we will be organizing with the Rooms performances next year. I like working with different non-profits and practitioners, and I’ll continue that. The themes are self-compassion and rest. 


In your music, you aim to inspire hope for change. Can you elaborate on how music can be a catalyst for positive change and healing?

Music for me is a huge tool for me to understand myself whether its through writing or hearing an artist give a voice to things I’ve been carrying for a long time. I really want my music to give people who’ve seen and experienced things that I have to gain language for expressing their own stories or even feel validated through my work. So much of my personal growth journey is learning new language for expressing various struggles and wounds. 


As you transition into new seasons in “Rooms,” how does this progression mirror your personal growth and evolution as an artist?

This album is a huge accountability partner. I’ve been able to honor the 10 year old who practiced his classical pieces daily and took his craft so seriously. With the album being 3 installments, I got to play with so many sounds and really gain new ground. I’m happy everytime I hear a new mix because my point of view feels so clear. It gives me hope for new places I’ll get to go. 


How has your approach to production evolved, especially as you’ve worked with different producers on “Rooms”?

It’s taught me to trust myself. I was insecure for a long time to play and program on my own stuff because I thought it would be trash. I also learned to give myself grace in the creative process, and with working with new producers I gained more confidence in my ability to articulate my vision and shape the sound of the project. 

Could you share a memorable moment or experience from your artistic journey that has had a profound impact on you?

From 2021-2022, I had the privilege of performing alongside Michael Castillo, Thomas Simmons, Ben Salazar, and Khalid Langston in a band called Evan Hannah & The Light Shift. This was the first time my songs came to life in a full band context as well as my first time leading a band. There was a lot of bumps, but it definitely taught me so much. We did songs from my entire catalog, color coordinated, and had a lot of fun in the process. I’m grateful to those guys for holding space for me. 


Finally, what message or feeling do you hope listeners take away from your music, particularly from the “Rooms” series and your work with “The Treehouse Group”?

I want folks to hear my vulnerability and my willingness to get to know myself no matter what. I hope folks who’ve survived similar traumas feel less alone. This album has gifted me so much, and it was important to me to create a piece of art that really invited people to get to know me as a human and a creative person. I also want to just offer options. Everything is not for everyone. Lord know I’m not. Healing is not a one size fits all, but there’s enough out there that a lot of people need and its gotta be easier to access.


My Body is Holy: words, songs, and Hymns for the inner child
Directed by Jason Labrador & Evan Hannah

Get your tickets HERE
Tickets: $25

50% of the ticket sales will go towards Fauquier Pride

Grace Episcopal Church
6507 Main St, The Plains, VA 20198

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