Born in the vibrant city of Chicago before moving to the scenic town of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, Carly Hanley has captivated audiences everywhere with her enchanting and elegant vocals and ear for catchy melodies. Driven by her desire to make music that connects with listeners more emotionally, she’s continuously refined her abilities to push her music to even greater levels. With her highly anticipated album “Ruby” due for release this fall, this rising star is currently at the top of her game.
Growing up in Steamboat Springs brought both blessings and challenges for Hanley. As a youth, she would find herself torn between the great outdoors available in Steamboat Strings and the big city possibilities of her birth city. While her contemporaries sought solace in nature, Hanley would instead discover her passion for writing and performing music, nurturing the seeds of creativity within her. After returning to her Colorado hometown in 2020 to be close to her family, she released her EP “Radiant,” re-lighting the embers of her creative ability and renewing her inspiration.
Relaxed, elegant, and classy, Hanley’s latest release, “Ooh La La,” is a spunky yet groovy offering that’ll have you dancing in no time. Hanley’s alluring vocals are on full display, and lines like “I know you’ve run around before / We’re better off as something more” are delivered with a subtle sensualness that sends shivers down your spine. Hanley sounds like she hasn’t missed a beat since her return, and with her current momentum, it would be a crime to not see this talented artist shoot for the stars.
Carly Hanley’s music is driven by her deep desire to connect with people and make sure there’s a little something in her music for everyone. With “Ooh La La,” Hanley continues her impressive streak of catchy releases, and “Ruby” is sure to be an exquisite project. Whenever you’re ready, tap in and stream Carly Hanley’s new release, “Ooh La La,” available now on all major streaming platforms, and also keep an eye out for her upcoming album “Ruby,” slated for release this fall.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Carly Hanley! We loved your release “Ooh La La”; it felt so deliciously classy and danced simultaneously! We had to ask, what was the creative process like for this song? How did you first visualize it?
During the last week of recording, my producer, Jayson Kramer, came to the studio with this big horn instrumental track that captured a sound we had been working to find - elegant, classic, spicy. I instantly started seeing red lipstick, sparkles, fancy drinks at a lounge, and a vintage bathtub. I took the instrumental home and had one day to write lyrics based on our recording schedule. So I went for a walk downtown, in Chicago, and found myself in alleyways with old fire escapes and beautiful murals and then came home, took a candle-lit bubble bath with Aretha Franklin playing, and started to write. The words “gentlemen” and “Ooh La La” came to me, and the story flowed quickly.
What inspired you to start making music growing up, and what inspires you to keep making it now?
I’ve always had an overwhelming desire to connect with people. I grew up in a small mountain town, Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and while others around me found their joy in the outdoors, I embraced every opportunity to perform or was tucked away writing music. As the youngest of four, my siblings introduced me to artists via mixed CDs, and my parents had a substantial vinyl collection. Music was always playing in our home from all corners of the house. I think the influence of so many genres inspired me to explore what I could create myself. There wasn’t a specific moment I remember sitting down to write for the first time; it always happened organically.
You mentioned you’ve always felt torn between your hometown of Steamboat Springs and your birth city of Chicago. As two remarkably different places, how have they influenced your growth as an artist?
The differences between these two places have vastly contributed to the versatility of my music. The combination of inspiration from nature and the city has resulted in a unique sound and writing style that I always surprise myself with and am grateful for. I have found great clarity through nature when I’m combatting inner fearful thoughts and working to quiet my hectic mind. My EP Radiant and song River showcase that experience. When I moved to Chicago, I gained a deeper understanding of a different part of myself - I loved being a little extra, over-the-top, and a little more confident than before. Ooh La La, and every track from my upcoming album Ruby, represents the empowered version of me.
What goals do you want to achieve through your music, and if your listeners could take one thing away from your music, what would you want it to be?
As I write, I open myself to whatever seems to flow through me. It feels like I am working to connect to a listener, and often, I ask myself, “What do they need to hear?” I try to live in a meditative, open-heart, and open-mind state of listening, observing, and gathering inspiration so that when I sit down to write, the messages flow through me and onto paper. I hope my music creates a feeling of ease, connection, shared experience, and, most importantly, a reminder that we’re not alone.
What’s next for Carly Hanley? Your new “Ruby” album is dropping this fall, right? Do you have any songs from “Ruby” you’re especially looking forward to sharing with your fans?
My album Ruby will be released on October 6th! I’m excited for the listeners to hear how different each track is from one another, knowing there is a common thread of empowerment. This album shares significant parts of my life from the last five years - each song is about a unique experience or a different important person that has come into my life. Because of this, I’m incredibly excited to see which tracks are the most relatable for listeners.