BWW Interview: HEDWIG Alum, Hannah Corneau, Shares Her Truth, Life Lessons, and Light in New Visual EP
The incredibly talented and inspirational Hannah Corneau, most recently seen playing Yitzhak in the national tour of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is getting ready to release the first of three videos with her new visual EP, ΔΔΔ this April! Reflecting on her experiences on stage (Evita at the Marriott Theatre, Off-Broadway's Daddy Long Legs), as well as performing with NYC's RANGE a cappella, Corneau takes listeners on a journey of discovering truth in all of life's moments and recognizing how limitless our potential as human beings really is, as we prepare to soar!
BroadwayWorld had the incredible opportunity to chat with Corneau in advance of the release of the first video for "Go" about the inspiration behind her visual EP; how we can embrace vulnerability; and how our truth will set us free on life's beautiful and uncertain journey.
Why does now feel like the right time to embark on this journey?
Coming off of Hedwig, I really wanted to invest my time in the creation of my own music. I just wanted the chance to be myself, sing, and project my own truth. I decided that I wanted to stay in New York and cultivate my life here. I love being able to transport my own ideas into actual demos and have always relied on my ear, which I have found really helpful. Before I knew it, words started flowing out of me and I had about four songs in two weeks. It was such a burst of inspiration!
Tell me about the process of creating a visual EP and being able to combine music and art.
I wanted to release these songs with video, because I am an actress, and liked the idea of doing a type of art film music video series with three songs. The shape of a triangle came to me and it got me thinking about "three" and the set of three songs. I wanted to release the songs with three videos. Although I want to be a singer/songwriter, I wanted to also create actual visual content for these songs. My best friend, Chris Dwan (RANGE, Finding Neverland) directed the first one called "Go" and the second video, "Berlin" will be directed and choreographed by Paul McGill (Hedwig and The Angry Inch, Memphis, A Chorus Line, Spiderman). My third video is called "FLY" and will be directed by Daniel Goldstein (Godspell, Come From Away).
The first video is coming out on Friday, April 13th. The second and third videos for "Berlin" and "FLY" will be released within the year. It's been such a different creatively fulfilling experience that I've never known, but always wanted to experience. My goal with this series is to just create good art and fulfill my goal of being a singer/songwriter as me. It's been such a gift to find it and is an endeavor that I'm so passionate about. There's no limit to our artistry and I hope to promote that to other artists.
Are there any particular themes you address?
The consistent themes throughout all three songs are elevation, perspective, and appreciation. There's some escapism as well - the first song is called "Go" and deals with the process of exiting one experience and finding another one. It's about elevation and rising out of a certain situation and cultivating greatness within yourself. "Berlin" deals with the Holocaust and comparing our world today to back then. I took a trip there last summer and I had done so many shows having to do with Berlin - Cabaret, Hedwig - and had the opportunity to experience the culture and reflect on that has taken place there in history. There's a rebirth happening now - that land has gone through so many changes, but today it's such a bustling, artistic environment and there's so much to discover. The third song is called "FLY" and is about escaping a situation as well but knowing it's the best for you because you have to follow your truth.
Truth is huge on this EP and accepting what happened and allowing yourself to rise. It's all a part of the human experience and putting that into words. Ultimately, what I want to say is that we are limitless!
What does "being vulnerable" mean to you?
It's so freeing - it' a sense of letting go and there's also a sense of pride in being vulnerable. There's a positive sense of acknowledgment, but it's also such a struggle because we have so many [valid] reasons to keep our guard up. The true art that gets through is the vulnerable art and acceptance of one's experience. When you articulate it, you start on the road to bettering yourself and can begin to heal.
How can we take steps to embrace our vulnerability?
The first step is having compassion for yourself - you have to possess an understanding of your experience and know that it's OK to do so. It has to come from self-awareness and patience and that's a consistent journey we are all on - to trust and accept ourselves in each moment. We all have so much to offer the world!
Can you talk about what inspires you every day?
The world around me is always so inspiring! When I first came up with the idea of the three songs, I was up at a park by me and I was watching a group of birds dance from building to building and it reminded me of how rich life is with happiness and sadness and the great unknown. It provided a very poignant experience. You can't hesitate - there's so much to look forward to! You have to take life and really grasp it and honor everything that each day brings.
Where can we find your videos?
Follow the journey on Instagram! @hannahcorneau