Embracing Individuality: Hannah Gill Talks Fashion and Music

By Jessica Pruitt, Buffalo Exchange HQ

Hannah Gill has a powerful, sultry voice that is wise beyond its 19 years and her band, Hannah Gill and The Hours, has a nostalgic feel that we just can’t get enough of. Following the release of their EP, The Water, she and her band have been touring the country, playing in cities across the US and hitting up Buffalo Exchanges along the way. We gave Hannah a $200 shopping spree to see what she could do and talked to her about fashion, music and her band.

How did you get started singing?

I was always singing during my younger years, but I really got started back in middle school. I used to refuse to join choir because I didn’t sound like the high sopranos. My voice was low, so I thought that meant it was bad. It wasn’t until 7th or 8th grade that I heard people like Amy Winehouse on the radio and they changed my whole perception of what a female voice is supposed to sound like. That’s when I really began to own it.

Buffalo Exchange Hannah Gill

Your sound definitely has a vintage feel.  Where does that come from?

I have always been drawn to music where you can hear true emotion in the singer’s voice. Anyone can sing, but it is really a rare thing to hear emotion. I have always been able to find that emotion from musicians like Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Dr. John, Joni Mitchell, Ray Charles and Etta James. You can hear the passion in their voices. It is addictive.

Is Hannah Gill and The Hours your first band? How did you come up with the name and how did the band form?

Brad and I performed under “Hannah Gill” for a few years before I moved up to NYC. When I moved up to the city, we started a side project called After Hours Jazz Band, playing shows for swing dancers and private events. In the beginning, it was a good way to make a few extra dollars. Then, when we started to work on the EP, I realized that I wanted a more inclusive name. The spotlight shouldn’t just be on me because I am nothing without the amazing musicians I have by my side. As a play on the jazz project, we added “The Hours.”

Buffalo Exchange Hannah Gill Velvet

How would you characterize Hannah Gill and The Hours’ sound? How did this sound come about?

It is really hard to try to pin down your own sound, but I would say we are a pop/soul band with undertones of jazz and blues. Every musician I play with has a unique background that has helped to form their sound. When we rehearse, we don’t look down on individuality. In fact, we embrace it. My favorite thing about our music is that, when you listen, you hear each individual player and their unique history.

How do you think music and fashion influence each other?

Both music and fashion are about expressing yourself. When you strip away all of the embellishments, they are both a way for you to take what is inside of you and show it to the world. There have been so many moments in my life where I have wanted to express myself but I couldn’t find the right words. I have turned to music and my wardrobe to express the things I needed to say.

Buffalo Exchange Hannah Gill

How has your tour been going so far? What’s your experience been of shopping Buffalo Exchanges across the country?

It has been so much fun! The West Coast was so beautiful; I’d never been before, so everything was new. I got the chance to check out the Buffalo Exchange in San Francisco. Of course I wasn’t disappointed! It was really interesting to see the difference of style between the two coasts.

Why do you like to shop resale? Is there anything you love about Buffalo Exchange in particular?

I love Buffalo Exchange because you can both buy and sell; I have never once felt uncomfortable at the sellers table. Everyone is always so personable. I think one of the coolest things about resale is the fact that it is always moving forward – the circulation never stops. Fashion gets passed down from generation to generation. The great thing about shops like Buffalo Exchange is that, when you find a piece you like, you get to take home a little bit of history. Plus, the items you can find are so much more unique than anything a chain can offer. It’s addicting.

Buffalo Exchange Hannah Gill Printed Rain Jacket

How would you describe your personal style? How does Buffalo Exchange fit into that?

I draw inspiration from a lot of vintage trends; I guess you could say it is pretty 50s/60s inspired. I like to stand out, to give people something to remember. Buffalo Exchange is great because, when I find a piece I love, I know it is one of a kind.

Do you have a favorite Buffalo Exchange find? Any trends you’re currently into?

My favorite find from Buffalo Exchange right now has to be a pair for holographic heels I picked up at the Williamsburg store. They are so fun. Lately, I have been really into monochrome outfits with one big pop of color or pattern. These shoes fit the bill perfectly.

Buffalo Exchange Hannah Gill Holographic Shoes

What style or life advice do you have for our customers?

Honestly? Don’t care what everyone else thinks. It is so important to remember that, not only are you loved, but those crazy, silly, awkward quirks about you are what make you YOU! Wear whatever you want, be whoever you want and love whoever you want. You are your own person. Own it.

Take a listen to Hannah’s music and, if you’re in New York, be sure not to miss her next show at Rockwood Music Hall on Saturday, December 10.