Submitted photo / Dave Gatson
Submitted photo / Dave Gatson

Archived Story

Hannah Belle Southerland gets personal on new album

Published 8:48am Monday, February 17, 2014

Making her third album was a bit like letting the world read her diary for local country music artist Hannah Belle Southerland.

The Red Lick native released “Preacher’s Daughter” this month.

“It’s an autobiographical album, big time,” Southerland said.

In the album’s title track, Southerland sings about the double standards and stereotyping daughters of preachers sometimes face.

She would know. Southerland is the daughter of Highland Baptist Church’s preacher, the Rev. Paul Southerland, and Marlene Southerland.

The lyrics tell a story of small-town gossip, “People ‘round here they love to talk, putting me down saying I’m something I’m not. I’m not the rebel child they want me to be.”

Brittney Lohmiller / The NAtchez Democrat — Hannah Belle Southerland, at left, performs “All In,” one of the songs on her third album “Preacher’s Daughter” for family and friends. Southerland celebrated releasing her third album, above, and debuted her second music video “Preacher’s Daughter” at The Grand Hotel ballroom earlier this month.
Brittney Lohmiller / The NAtchez Democrat — Hannah Belle Southerland, at left, performs “All In,” one of the songs on her third album “Preacher’s Daughter” for family and friends. Southerland celebrated releasing her third album, above, and debuted her second music video “Preacher’s Daughter” at The Grand Hotel ballroom earlier this month.

“But you don’t have to be a preacher’s daughter to relate to that,” Southerland says of the song. “Some people are going to talk about you and judge you know no matter who you are.”

The album includes five songs Southerland wrote with her sister, Robin, and five songs she wrote on her own. Many of the songs were written years ago, and Southerland decided to record them for the album.

“Preacher’s Daughter” is Southerland’s sophomore country album and follows up her 2011 record “Chasing Thunder.”

“Since the first album, I’ve learned so much about music, about writing music and the music industry as a whole, and I know what I want people to get out of my music and what I don’t want them to get out of it,” Southerland said.

An ability to relate to her songs is overall what Southerland says she hopes listeners take away from her album.

“I want them to be able to relate, to feel happy and be able to connect it to experiences in their life,” she said. “Maybe they feel the same thing I feel or maybe it’s just about rolling your windows down and jamming to a song.”

Southerland says the songs on “Preacher’s Daughter” came from a deep place in heart, some came from heartbreak and intimate personal stories.

The album includes the love songs “Who Knew” and “Little Town Square,” for which Southerland will be making a music video next month in Memorial Park in Natchez.

It also includes the “chill-out” “Highway 61” and “Memories of You,” which she wrote as a wedding song when two of her friends got married.

It’s a fun album that was fun to make, too, Southerland said.

Recording the album in Nashville took just three days.

“It was a blur,” Southerland said.

Southerland sent demos of her songs to the studio that were charted before she even got there to record.

Instead of methodically going over and over a song and “playing it until it’s dead,” Southerland said she prefers to let the studio musicians do their own thing.

“You don’t know how much magic is in there, if you just let them be creative,” she said.

The music for all 10 tracks was laid down in a single day, and Southerland recorded vocals for the next two days.

The album was recorded at Nashville’s Funhouse Studios with former George Jones’ bandleader Ernie Rowell and released on independent labels Freedom Entertainment and Cherry Picker Music South. It is available for purchase on iTunes.

Although “Preacher’s Daughter” is an independent record and Southerland is a local musician, that doesn’t mean it’s not a quality record, she said.

“You don’t have to be signed to Capitol Records to make good country music,” she said. “I don’t want people to think because it’s an independent record or just because  I live next door to them that it’s not good, quality music.”

Next up for Southerland is making her rounds at fairs and festivals and releasing her video for “Preacher’s Daughter” to CMT and GAC.

Southerland will also be returning to Nashville in June as an emerging artist for the Country Music Association Music Festival for the second year in a row.

She has also been selected to play shows at Six Flags Over Texas during spring break.

Southerland is balancing all that with teaching at Adams County Christian School.

Her focus now is getting her music out to radio and making videos so her songs can be shared with the world.

“Everyone in Nashville, they might not know who I am, but my goal is to make them know who I am,” she said.

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