IYVES on “Gold,” “My Way,” and riding a renewed form of authenticity

Photo Credit: Jess Faran

Take a look at the cover of IYVES‘ latest single, “My Way.” The singer/songwriter is covered in bright and bold orange and blue colors with a beautiful, blue sky background. The song itself serves as an anthem for anybody that dares to live their life with an unabashed sense of pride in their confidence. Where Chromatic is rooted in sitting in and emerging from heartbreak, IYVES’ newest songs “Gold” and “My Way” show a woman who has a new batch of creativity to show the world.

In speaking with the singer/songwriter, we touched on how she has personality evolved since releasing her EP last year and her newest songs, “Gold” and “My Way.”

You released a beautiful and vulnerable EP, Chromatic last year. There’s this journey that you take us on. A lot of that EP was rooted in a heartbreak that you had. A song like “Not Afraid To Fall” is where you’re like you’re walking into your own power through that breakup. That brings us full circle to “My Way.” I feel that it’s you shedding that whole skin. You’ve emerged as this really strong person who’s showing other people how to be strong. Talk about your journey from Chromatic to now. How are you feeling and how do you view yourself through all of that? 

I definitely write and sing about experiences. I think like all humans, we experience the spectrum of events in our lives.  I always feel like, when I’m finding empowerment, there’s also hardship. There are always multiple layers of things going on. So I wouldn’t say that “My Way” is “this is where I am now.” I think it’s just the idea of being vulnerable and honest in all different kinds of stages and experiences of life. I pictured these songs as a glimpse into Hannah’s experiences that happen.

I think it’s also just been a journey of finding my voice within my music. When I first started singing, it was always cover songs and I use my voice as the vehicle. Then when I went into writing music and working with producers, it was a little bit more of a journey to like figure out what my voice was within the soundscape of the music. That and finding my message. It’s still a continuation until this day. It’s constantly evolving and changing and I feel like I keep on unfolding more pieces of that in my music. and just recording The other day, I recorded a song and I think it’s like the most vulnerable I’ve ever heard my voice. I’m really excited about that one.

Do you feel like working with these producers you could see your growth even through with these new singles? Do you feel more comfortable now and you have something tailored to just you? 

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I think for sure recording is a whole other kind of experience than just singing live. So to be able to express and show that kind of that emotion and capture that is a challenge. It’s definitely not always the easiest thing. So yeah, I think it’s definitely been something that I’ve gotten more comfortable with over time. It’s interesting because I feel like it’s a lot of like unlearning. I think oftentimes, I keep a lot of like my demo recordings or just like the originals because when you’re not overthinking it, that’s when the truth comes out.

I wanted to speak about “Gold.” That color is usually synonymous with royalty and wealth. I felt like you kind of encapsulated that in the whole song because you refer to love in different ways. The richness in love with yourself, but also giving that away to someone else. From a musical standpoint, there are gospel vocals associated with it, so can you take me through how you made the single a little bit?

So, I worked on that song with my recent collaborators who I have been putting out some of these newer singles with. Lucas Haas produced it and Mori Einsidler was someone I co-wrote this on this song as well. It was such a fun song because it was the first song all three of us wrote together. Just a really natural, easy song to write because the magic was there. the song was kind of this idea of being like, “wow, I really didn’t know I could explain something that was better than what I’ve known.” So definitely is sort of a love song of sorts. It was also the idea that you can kind of constantly like surpass experiences you’ve had. That you can find moments in life where it’s just like, “Wow, I didn’t know it could get better.” All of it was recorded in Lucas’s bedroom. So, it was pretty fun.

Sometimes, you get the best recordings from those remote locations. With “My Way,”  it’s a little bit different stylistically for you. The tribal drums are a big foundational part of the song. The song speaks to battling inner and outer voices. Almost standing up to them in triumph. and kind of like Pat in the back a little bit. How do you do approach that musically? This song is a little bit more upbeat and it’s great to hear you in that space. Also, what are some of the ways that you battle those negative inner and outer voices?

So the first part, I think it’s definitely anthemic. I think I often find myself writing songs that are sort of that way. I really love percussive music. I feel when we were making it, it kind of gave me like moments of Tuneyards but also Janelle Monae, Those kinds of strong female vocals. I really think there’s something about her percussive music triggers a very biological response for humans. I really love the effect it has in it both making it and listening to it. Again, I try not to hold myself and put on the pressure of “ok, this is the direction I’m taking.” I think this is a song that really honest and spoke to me. I want to share this and I will have other screens and colors to come.

Obviously, as a human, I think most people are their toughest critics. When it comes to, music or recording, I think when you’re being honest and true to yourself, that’s when people shine the brightest. You might offend or possibly hurt people on the way along the way when you’re being authentic and real, but I think that’s unavoidable. Some people might not like the music or decisions you make, but ultimately, you have to follow your truth and your most authentic self. That’s something always easy to find.

I do think we as humans have this gut intuition that will kind of poke at you if you’re not following that. So, I kind of try to live my life being honest and real with myself. Yeah, those voices will always pop up, but I think what quiets the voices is you being truthful to yourself.

That’s pretty dope. I’m definitely level with it being your authentic self and hoping for the best. That’s all you can do. “My Way” definitely draws off of that.  The song was a part of Todd Snyder’s month-long PRIDE campaign. How did you feel about that song taking part in that? It’s a cool thing to see it resonate and the message seemed like a perfect fit for what the entire campaign was about. 

It was really awesome that it resonated and the song’s message fit what their campaign was about. I was just like this is like what you hope art will link up with. My hope is for arts forms like music, visual art, performance, to team up for a greater message. To reach for change and the song is touching on just being honest with who you are authentic which was the perfect marriage for this. It can be taken in different ways.  I think it was amazing a to a backing track to people who are part of the LGBT community or spokesman and like leaders. It’s so amazing and cool.

I know you hinted at recording a new song. Do you have any plans to release another EP maybe next year or an album?

I definitely have a couple more singles to come. There’s nothing that’s more fulfilling for the creative process by making like a body of work and something that’s more cohesive. It’s hard to fit a bigger story into one song, sometimes. Each song is kind of like a chapter of a book. I definitely want to be able to like to have a novel out. And so yeah, I think definitely the plan to make an EP/album would be incredible.

We’re definitely like in an age of singles, but the artistic journey has also been one if I’m feeling I’m excited about the music and I want to put out an EP, I’m at the place where I’m like, “do it.” I feel like people will listen and take the time to listen to five or six tracks.