Welsh-born, London-based Hana Lili has seen it all at a tender age. A renowned name in her hometown, she grew up as both a musician and actress; and is now fast becoming the latest poster-girl for lo-fi indie-pop that fringes on the mainstream but withholds a refined charm.
“I grew up in a small seaside town in South Wales, being from here is a big part of my identity,” she tells Best Fit. “As a child, I took part in local and international folk singing competitions, it’s part of our tradition, and it was fun also to take part, making friends and having the experience of performing in front of large audiences at such a young age got me into music.”
“Welsh is my first language and it’s very special to me. In Wales, we have a great and exciting community of musicians, and there is a lot of support for artists. I fell in love with performing and then started writing songs when I was around 12 years old. Writing became an outlet for me to put my emotions and feelings into songs, almost like a diary.”
Now a fresh face in London upon moving to university to study, she explores the depths of her emotions, curiosities, and the thrills of adolescence to write earnest acoustic tracks from her bedroom. Exclusively self-produced, she controls her sonic world with delicate ease.
“I tend to gravitate towards writing songs about personal experiences, hardships, relationships and friendships,” Lili shares. “My songs are like a diary to the inner monologue in my head, I try to create layers, and echoes of my emotions that connect with the lyrics. Sonically I’m trying to reflect how I feel, so the music is honest.
“Red Hearts”, accompanied by a music video filmed at sunset during a trip to her hometown, attunes to Lili’s nuances of private thought. Playing out as a low-voice conversation with herself, she reels off her desires and worries while daydreaming about a far-fetched lover. “All I wanna do is hold your hand / Do you even know who I am?” she sings in a lullaby-like tone. As the song closes, as if to alleviate her worries, she murmurs “I’m wasting my time I should let it be.”
“Red Hearts is a hopeless love song with an inevitably sad ending to the story. The initial inspiration for the track came from “Girl All The Bad Guys Want” by Bowling for Soup, even though sonically miles apart!” comments Lili.
“Making music in lockdown was like living in a little safe space in my head where nothing mattered, for the first time there was no pressure to create. That period of time meant I could create music subconsciously and not focus on the what if’s or doubts about the quality or quantity of music, I just created without thinking and created what I felt, there are no filters.”
“I reconnected with the enjoyment of creating music purely for the notion of creating. It allowed me to find my sound again, kind of stripped it all back, it became naturally authentic to me.”