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Carlie Hanson

(Photo by Alice Baxley)

Carlie Hanson is a bisexual pop/alt songstress who is known for tackling issues like self-sabotage, police brutality, losing friends to the hole of drugs, depression, but does so in such a way that isn’t overly dark and leaves room for plenty of joyous moments.

In 2018, she released the song “Only One”, which garnered attention after being featured on a playlist curated by Taylor Swift. She released her debut extended play, “Junk,” on June 7, 2019. At just 20 years old, Carlie’s music has been streamed over 86 million times, Taylor Swift and Demi Lovato count themselves fans, she has performed on Stephen Colbert, and has toured with Yungblud and Troye Sivan.

Tagg sat down with Carlie to talk to her about her musical inspirations, and her latest release, DestroyDestroyDestroyDestroy.

How long have you been creating your art?

I have been professionally creating music since I was 16 years old.

Where are you from? How does that influence your art?

I am from a small town called Onalaska in the state of Wisconsin. Without growing up in Onalaska, I don’t even know if I would even be in this position. Growing up, there wasn’t much to do except just chill in a garage or basement with your friends, play video games, watch music videos, or drive around. We always had to make due with the things we had. My family was always playing good music around the house and on drives. I specifically remember every time we drove up to see my Grandma, my mom and my older sister Cassie would burn a new CD filled with artists like Creed, Evanescence, Avril Lavigne, Eve 6, Stone Sour, and Nirvana. That definitely inspired me from a young age. Oh, I can’t forget Counting Crows and Tracy Chapman. Probably the biggest inspirations from those times in my life.

What projects are you currently working on? Do you have any upcoming releases?

I just put out my EP “DestroyDestroyDestroyDestroy”. I am so happy it’s finally out! Next up I want to start writing my debut album. I want to just experiment with different sounds and figure out what exactly I want to say in the next project. This is the fun part, to start building a whole new world.

What is your inspiration? And why?

Inspiration for me comes from everywhere. Interestingly enough it’s been coming from actors and actresses recently. I’ve been obsessed with Heath Ledger lately. I really relate to how connected he was to everything he spent his time on. I went down a rabbit hole of all his movies and fell in love with “Candy.” As I watched the movie I took out my journal and wrote down a bunch of random thoughts that came to mind, even wrote down some quotes from the movie that i thought could spark inspiration for a concept of a song. I also go through phases of reading. I’m into autobiographies mostly. Anthony Kiedis’ book really inspired me, same with Flea’s book. Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth has a great one as well. I think the most inspirational thing for me though is simply just being present in conversation with people. Simply just listening and trying to understand how they feel.

Why is music important to the queer community?

The queer community needs their person to look up to in music. I think today more than ever in our lives we have so many artists that are openly out and it’s f*cking amazing. It’s important because the queer community needs to feel seen and heard. We need to feel like there is somebody out there just like us who will stand up for us. Years and years ago there weren’t half as many artists who were openly gay or openly [advocating for] the queer community. We have come a long way, but we still need to continue to be loud about how proud we are to be who we are.

What do you hope to achieve as an artist?

The reason I fell in love with music was because I felt it to the f*cking core and it made me feel heard, accepted, and less alone. Without artists like Avril Lavigne, Tracy Chapman, and Nirvana, I don’t know who I would even be right now and that’s actually crazy, but it’s true. These artists made me feel so alive, understood, and less alone. If I can get one person in this world to feel those exact same feelings when they listen to my music, that’s all I want. 

Who are your top 3 major influences?

My top three major influences are probably Justin Bieber,—I literally learned how to sing from listening to him sing—Nirvana, and Tracy Chapman.

How can we all support your work and talent?

All of my social media is @CarlieHanson.




Becca Damante
Becca Damante
Becca is a Smith college graduate with a B.A. in Women and Gender Studies and an Archives concentration. She has worked and written for non-profits organizations such as Media Matters for America, The Century Foundation, and GLAAD, and loves to write about the intersections between pop culture, politics, and social justice. You can find her at @beccadamante on Twitter.