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Every Word I say

All About Hanson

All about those three brothers from Tulsa Oklahoma.

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*Hanson's biography was takin from . I did not write this, and I am not affiliated with Hanson in anyway shape or form, this is a fan site.

In their 13 years playing together, Hanson has earned many accolades. They’ve been Grammy nominees, chart-toppers, and Carnegie Hall headliners. And now they can add independent groundbreakers to that list, having entered the Billboard Independent Chart at #1 in April 2004 with Underneath. The album, released in the U.S. on the band’s own 3CG Records, is one of the most successful independently released records in history.

Isaac Hanson, 25, says that of all the band’s achievements, the newest one ranks right near the top for him. “Our goal was to get a Top Five debut for our album on the Billboard Independent charts and we got to #1. You can’t ask for much more than that.”
The success of Underneath, the trio’s first album in four years, has been significant for Isaac and his brothers, Taylor (23) and Zac (20), for several reasons. In the disposable world of pop music, where four years between albums might as well be measured in dog years, the fact that fans have so embraced Underneath, is a testament to the impact the brothers have had on the music world. Also debuting at #25 on the Billboard Top 200, Underneath spawned a #2 single — the utterly engaging “Penny & Me.” The single also recently debuted at #10 in the U.K., where it was released by indie label Cooking Vinyl. It was their first Top 10 single since their acclaimed debut.

But it was the #1 debut on the Independent charts that was most meaningful because it speaks to where Hanson is at this point in their career. Denver’s Westword wrote: “Hanson is a real indie-rock band. They wrote, recorded, produced and released their own disc… and they’re touring on their own dime.”

Hanson realized their search for independence by releasing Underneath on their own 3CG Records, completely financing the recording and marketing of the disc in the U.S. In addition, the group has entered into a number of licensing deals around the world with leading indies like Cooking Vinyl (UK/EU), JVC (Japan) and Univision (Mexico). As further proof of their global reach, the trio inked a deal with Sony to release their recordings in Southeast Asia (where they recently had a #1 single) and Latin America.
The desire to go out on their own stemmed from the friction the band experienced in their dealings with former label Island Def Jam. After trying to make the relationship work despite their creative differences, Hanson decided it was time to move on. “After a certain point, we said, ‘We can’t do this anymore. This is not productive and we know where we need to go with this,’” Isaac recalls. “Look, the only way that we can have a career in music is to go with our gut, as we always have,” adds drummer Zac.
As in the past, Hanson’s collective instincts didn’t let them down. It was the same drive and inspiration which led them to create “MMMBop,” the work recently hailed as genius by Bono to CD: UK. It also led the trio to Grammy nominations in 1998 for Best New Artist, Record of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. Now that resolve has resulted in the band’s most accomplished and mature album yet, Underneath.
No less than New York’s alternative bastion of hip the Village Voice surmised prophetically of Underneath, “This perfectly pitched record reveals that these hardworking brothers’ valiant quest for independence shall be rewarded.” The New York Post added: “Hanson has established itself as a credible rock band whose best years and music are still to come.” Billboard chimed in with, “Underneath spotlights a more mature, melodic pop/rock Hanson… This newest effort is the group’s most endearing.” Meanwhile, internationally, the London Times raved: “Hanson appear to have done the almost impossible jump… from teen poppers to credible rockers.”
Underneath is indeed all of those things, and plenty more. Heralded by the mid-tempo, gentle ease of the harmonious lead single “Penny & Me,” the sing-song energy of the infectious opener “Strong Enough to Break,” and the track “Misery” which shares the same vibe as John Mayer’s track “Daughters,” Underneath showcases all of the trio’s formidable songwriting prowess.
The title track is an aural beauty co-written with veteran pop craftsman Matthew Sweet, while the closing track, “Believe,” is a piano-heavy, soulful ballad. There’s plenty of high-octane music on Underneath, too. The pop/rocker “Lost Without Each Other,” co-written with the New Radicals’ Gregg Alexander, dances and shimmies out of the speakers as does the rocking “Get Up and Go,” a shot of pure adrenaline.
“We were writing songs with a definite flavor,” says Taylor. “We wanted that to survive to the final mix.”
“Our goal was that every part that was played had a clear purpose in order to make this album more dynamic,” adds Zac. “This leaves the music feeling complete without overwhelming the listener.”

As much as critics have embraced the new album, Hanson’s fans, both new and old, have been right there with them all along. And they, as well as themselves, are who Hanson ultimately makes their music for. Hanson has been one of the music world’s most gregarious groups in interacting with their fans around the globe. Around the release of Middle of Nowhere in 1997, Hanson began their first website, In 2000, just before the release of This Time Around, the site was completely revamped and moved to It is no longer a simple website, but a massive global community.

“There are so many people for us to reach again or re-touch base with, but every fan that we grab is one that we want to value more than we have ever before,” keyboardist Taylor says. “We have an opportunity not only to build a direct relationship with our fans around the world and fuel them in times of drought, but also allow them to communicate with each other and create a powerful community.” “Our currency with our fans has always been trust and passion, and that relationship cements our future,” said Zac in a recent interview with Reuters.
All three of the brothers believe that interaction is the best way to resuscitate an ailing music industry. “When I look at the music industry the tipping point for reenergizing the excitement in music is so close, because we’ve reached such a low point, that all we can do is go up. Out of the ashes will come the passion, excitement, and reinvigoration. It all starts with connecting with a generation and having it be their own again,” Taylor says. “We want to bring people back to believing it’s worth it to get invested again in music and artists.”
To make sure fans get the message, the trio made guerilla appearances at multiple college campuses last fall, including the University of Southern California, New York City’s Columbia University and Denver’s Regis University, where they played acoustic performances and spoke about striking out on their own outside the corporate system - a message the students took to heart.
“Our goal is to draw attention to the independent music scene, because one in four records are on indie labels,” Isaac explained to Westword on the band’s visit to Regis University.
The band grabbed fans’ attention with their straight-ahead, no-frills shows, described by USC’s Daily Trojan as a “short acoustic set, just voices, guitars and a tambourine.” And they made sure those attending got the message that goes with the music.
“It’s not about us,” Taylor told the crowd. “Music is going down because it sucks. But you have the power to change that.”
Hanson is spreading that same message around the world. The band recently concluded a whirlwind world tour that found them performing live in 24 cities across 15 countries in just over four weeks. Tour stops included Indonesia for the first time in seven years and the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Denmark for the first time ever. Of the band’s sold-out show at London’s famed Shephard’s Bush Empire, the London Times noted: “Hanson are about to be big all over again. Only this time, with good, old-fashioned rock.”
Isaac admits, “Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I was more tired than I’ve ever been in my life.” But all the traveling was well worth it given the response he, Taylor, and Zac received wherever they went. “What we’ve been able to do with this album is affirm the successes that we’ve had over the years with this music, and lay a new foundation for records to come,” declares Isaac.
The four years between albums might not have been an easy stretch for Hanson, but as another old saying goes: “That which does not kill you makes you stronger.”
“We’re liberated musically more so than we’ve ever been,” Isaac believes. “We’re stronger as a unit now than ever,” adds Zac.
If anything, the turbulent years leading up to Underneath and the album’s subsequent success have made the band even more resolute that it is on the right path. “A lot of groups would have collapsed or fallen apart and for us to have done all that we have done, just in the last four years, and still be able to have success around the world and continue moving forward, yeah, you do appreciate it in a different way. And every success is that much sweeter,” concludes Taylor.

And now the band plans to take that steely resolve into a very long future. “We’re hopefully just at the beginning of the race,” Taylor says. “We’ve been a band for 13 years now, but we want to be having these conversations as old men, talking about the past 30 years. It all comes back to that simple thing of saying, ‘What is it we’re really doing?’ We’re just three guys who love to make music.”

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