The rising country star reflects on her latest single, “Your Woman,” and touring with CMT’s Next Women of Country.
Drawing from real life and deep emotions, singer-songwriter and Kentucky native Hannah Ellis has been putting out strong pop-country tunes that have been garnering some well-earned attention.
Since her stint on Season 8 of NBC’s The Voice, Ellis’ star has been rising and her star power growing. She was recently named one of CMT’s “Next Women of Country” and recognized on Rolling Stone’s “Artists to Watch” list. Now, Ellis is building a loyal fan base on the CMT Next Women of Country Tour.
With her latest catchy song, “Your Woman,” Ellis is poised for major success.
Recently, we caught up with her to talk about songwriting, touring, and her new music.
Cowboys & Indians: Congratulations on the new single, “Your Woman.” What excited you most about releasing it?
Hannah Ellis: First of all, I was just so ready to put new music out and let people hear what I had been working on. I hope when people hear “Your Woman” they understand that there is something really powerful about loving all the little details of yourself, and being able to truly feel confident enough to say, “Hey, I care a lot about this person and am not afraid to show it.”
C&I: What’s the story behind the song?
Ellis: The story is really just a personal anthem. When we were writing this song there was a lot of conversation about all the things that make me me, and how all those little details make up this strong, confident woman that also loves loving her man.
C&I: What was your creative influence for it?
Ellis: I was actually listening to a lot of Bazzi at the time when we wrote this song. I just loved how he found this mix of energy, groove, and actually saying something that mattered within the lyrics. So that same energy is what I was trying to accomplish that day.
C&I: How does this stand out from your other lineup of music?
Ellis: No pun intended, but this song makes me feel like a grown woman. I think it takes a certain amount of life and lessons to be able to love yourself and someone else fully and without hesitation. And I believe this song really speaks to the growth I have experienced in my life, and in my relationship.
C&I: What’s your songwriting process like?
Ellis: Ya know, it is different every day. I tend to write with a lot of track people, and that can set the musical tone or vibe for the day. Sometimes I come in with a title or idea that I feel really strongly about. When we wrote “Your Woman” we started with a totally different idea, and through conversation with my cowriters, who are also dear friends, the song evolved into what it is now.
C&I: Any favorite stories about how any of your songs came together?
Ellis: Man, I feel like there are so many. One of my favorites is how “Never in Love” was written. My cowriters and I (which happen to be my boyfriend and our best friend) went swimming at a friend’s house and we came inside and started writing this fun, upbeat title. Halfway through the song we took a little break and started talking about our friend’s recent breakup. Without meaning to we ended up writing about that experience instead of our original idea. I ended up recording that song on my first EP because it was just so organic and came from such an authentic place.
C&I: You’re currently on this year’s CMT Next Women of Country Tour. What has that been like?
Ellis: Being on this tour has been one of the most special experiences of my life. I am playing a lot of cities I have never been to, meeting new fans every night, and I am loving riding around on this bus with Clare [Dunn] and Cassadee [Pope]. It is like a never-ending girls night (lol).
C&I: Is there a specific song of yours that fans have really taken to?
Ellis: Man, it is funny because it has been different in every city. A few places it was “Your Woman”; another city “Home and a Hometown.” And last night the crowd went wild when I played an unrecorded song of mine called “Friends Like These.” I think it is all about which song meets them where they are, which is why it is so fun to play for all the different crowds. Everyone is just in a different phase of their life.
C&I: Can we expect a full album down the road?
Ellis: Yes, you can.
C&I: What musicians and songs have been influential to you?
Ellis: Oh, this list could get long. My influences are all over the place. I grew up listening to gospel singers like Kathy Troccoli and Lauryn Hill. When I started singing in contests as a kid, it was all Martina McBride and Jo Dee Messina. And, of course, when Taylor Swift came on the scene and released “You Belong With Me,” that was the first time I really knew that someone else can write a song and you can find your story in it. And who wasn’t affected by “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus? [Laughs.]
C&I: What’s on your playlist these days?
Ellis: Everything from Maren Morris to Ariana Grande to Bruno Major to Dan & Shay, and, of course, a personal favorite, Nick Wayne.
C&I: What’s something about you that people don’t know or are surprised to learn?
Ellis: Oooh, probably that I attended the University of Kentucky on a full-ride academic scholarship. I was really, really into school when I was growing up.
C&I: What can we expect next?
Ellis: More music and more shows. I am already in the studio working on my next release and have some shows I cannot wait to announce.
For more information about Hannah Ellis, visit her website. Buy the download of “Your Woman” on Amazon.