Hannah Faith is a name that frequently springs to mind as a highly rated British DJ and is a self-professed “photographer by day, DJ by night”. At 23 years-old she has been able to accumulate an impressive portfolio behind her; being the first London DJ to join Soulection, reaching over 1 million plays on Soundcloud and DJing in over 3 continents. Known for her eclectic mixes and warm toned portraits, she has been able to earn a following from two different fields and effortlessly so.
Alongside a premiere for her latest mix, ‘Spirited’, Hannah Faith checks in with gal-dem to talk about her journey so far in the creative industry, and how she navigates with such a strong sense of self and elegant flair.
“High in spirit
High in frequency.
From me to you,
– Hannah Faith
gal-dem: Who were your early inspirations of music?
Hannah Faith: I gained a lot of musical knowledge through my father, growing up I was heavily inspired by Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind and Fire, Diana Ross, Kool and the Gang. My dad used to burn CD’s for me [that were] heavily 80’s inspired (The Gap Band, George Benson, The Pointer Sisters, Evelyn King) it hurts me till this day I lost that CD. I’m surprised my father wasn’t a DJ – he had all the jams!
What genre, as a music lover, do you feel best describes you?
Funk and Soul. I love music that speaks to my soul, that touches on real life topics but also has that groove that can allow me to shake all my worries away.
When did your transition occur from being a music lover to launching a career in music and why?
It started very out of the blue in summer 2013. I just had a random spark to just teach myself to DJ it was all bedroom orientated, mixing from my laptop [with] no controller or CDJ’s. I just had fun with it and mixed from the heart, with no intention of turning it into a career.
Over time I started getting booking requests and by late 2013 I had my first, very nerve-wracking DJ set – the power even cut off halfway through. But I just figured the worse had already happened and the music overtook the nerves.
Tell us bit about your work with Soulection and how the opportunity arose?
I became familiar with Soulection in 2013. The music that was coming from the label was just beautiful, I felt as if something had been missing musically in my life and Soulection filled that hole right up. I built a relationship with some of the members over time and towards the end of that year, I released a mix titled ‘Rich December’ and (Soulection Co-founder) Joe Kay was really supportive and wanted to know if I’d be interested in joining the collective. That was a huge moment for me. [I am] forever thankful for their support.
In a male dominated field have you had to overcome any challenges as a female DJ?
There was a time actually a couple years ago when I was booked for a gig in Leeds and when I arrived they assumed I was a singer, ha! There have been a few challenges at times and I think my manager Neela can express that she has had to push higher on fees as some promoters don’t feel confident in my ability to perform simply because of me being a female.
We have had many ups and downs but it all just comes down to believing firmly in your abilities and knowing your worth in these situations and if it doesn’t work out then it wasn’t the right job for you and that is okay. Never sell yourself short.
“…there is beauty in every and each one of us, our imperfection is our uniqueness, it’s what was given to us by God and we have to embrace it.” – Hannah Faith
Your work has a documentary style to it; your portraits have a sense of warmth and rawness to them. How would you describe your work and what essence do you try and capture in your photography?
Thank you – raw is definitely how I would describe my work, I like to photograph with realness and not over glamourise. Usually it’s a specific energy that draws me to wanting to photograph the people I shoot, more of the time it’s the story behind the exterior. I love connecting with others and photography gives me the perfect outlet to do that.
I would like to hope that my work embodies self-love and growth towards other women; there is beauty in every and each one of us, our imperfection is our uniqueness, it’s what was given to us by God and we have to embrace it.
Is there anyone you would like to capture in the future?
The Knowles sisters, Tracee Ellis Ross, Chance the Rapper, Kelsey Lu, Stevie Wonder, Denzel Washington, Willow Smith, SZA. These are some artists that inspire me in today’s world. The list could go on but I’ll let these names manifest.
What are your hopes for 2017?
I hope for more peace and more happiness. I hope to release more mixes this year that will continue to inspire others and bring others to a higher level of thinking. I have a floral design brand that I am in the middle of developing called Delika which is creole for “delicacy”. I hope to continue to create more with lots of integrity, hopefully in due time my photography can be seen in a publication, and of course lots of travelling on the horizon.