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IVON ROBERTS

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON DUO IVON ROBERTS

Hiya you two, hows things? Lets get going. What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

Hannah: As cliché as it sounds, I’ve always dreamt of being a pop star since I was a little girl. There was no other option for me!

Ivon: I found music to be my escape from life when it was hard and my emotional outlet when I wasn’t sure how to express myself to anyone around me.

Introduce us to you both and your musical history.

H: I’m Hannah Dorman – full-time performer and content creator. I’ve been writing songs since I was 9 years old and gigging since I was 15. I studied music at ACM (The Academy of Contemporary Music) for 4 years and officially became a full-time performing artist and content creator in 2019.

I: I’m Ivon Roberts – full-time hot mess. I’ve also been writing since I was 9, but I veered towards recording rather than performing when I was 15. I’ve been writing and recording music for over a decade now, but I began releasing music in 2020.

As for Hannah & Ivon as a duo, we met at an audition for a TV show in we both attended in 2019, hit it off instantly and began working together in 2021 after 2 years of friendship.

What was life like for you before music?

H: There wasn’t really a “before music” for me, I’ve always been forging a path that will bring me in the direction of being a ‘pop star’.

I: Music was a constant for me. I was listening and connecting to music for as long as I could remember. Before creating music though, I remember feeling a bit lost. I didn’t know how to express my emotions to the people in my life, and I didn’t have many friends so there was a sense of loneliness there also. However, once the music-making started, the loneliness stopped.

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

H: I saw McFly play live at Wembley Arena in 2008 which lead me to start gigging in January 2009. Since going to that concert I’ve been set on playing on that stage one day.

I: I used to love listening to acapella from groups like Sugababes and The Corrs that had so many layers and levels to them. I was so fascinated by the way the songs were like completed jigsaw puzzles and I wanted to make my own, in whatever capacity.

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

H: Locally, I’ve got a strong fan base, I’m currently working on expanding that to a national audience. I also feel like I’ve only just dipped my toe into songwriting for other artists but can’t wait to fully throw myself into that in 2024.

I: When it comes to my own music, I’m a singer-songwriter sharing catchy versions of my personal stories for my own personal fulfilment. When it comes to my work in the industry, I’m a songwriter for artists around the world. I’m a vessel for other people’s musical expression. Those lines don’t cross for me anymore. They have blurred in the past multiple times and it has never ended well. Whatever comes with either of these things is a bonus.

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry?

H: No matter where people are in their journey, they’re always striving for more. There’s no set destination to reach, you need to just keep pushing.

I: Don’t try to emulate another artist because you’ll always be a lesser version of them rather than the best version of yourself.

Tell us two truths and a lie about you.

H: I’m a pro at knitting; I broke my ankle skiing when I was a kid and it never fully healed; I have 60+ house plants.

I: I had a K-Pop shrine in my old bedroom; I had a Stitch shrine in my old bedroom; I had a The Saturdays shrine in my old bedroom. (I have quite an obsessive personality!)

IVON ROBERTS

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

H: Funding! I feel like I could explore so many other opportunities and musical directions with some extra cash!

I: Yeah like Hannah said, 90% of this career is fuelled by how much money you can spend and give to others to bring yourself further in your growth and closer to your goals. And considering just how present music is in our daily lives, there should be some level of mandatory available funding from the government of EVERY country to those pursuing this on a professional, full-time level.

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss…

H: Yes, I’m very cautious about what I say and do online but my brand doesn’t really lead me to talk about anything too controversial so it’s not something I feel I have to worry about too much. But it’s always in the back of my mind when posting/talking online.

I: To be perfectly honest… no. I’ve built my music career off of being brutally honest in a catchy song form. If I was overly conscious of every word I said and every move I made, I wouldn’t leave the house let alone make music. I don’t ever intend to hurt people with my music but I also don’t plan on holding back when I want to tell some hard truths. If you’ve got a problem with my music, listen to somebody else.

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not, why not?

H: I haven’t delved into them as much as I’d like to so I don’t have enough of an opinion about them in that sense, but I do find them extremely fascinating!

I: Well in my opinion, the Mandela Effect is simply FACT. (Joking people relax!) But yeah I love to hear the conspiracy theories out there. Marilyn Monroe, JFK, 9/11. The crazier, the better. Mostly just for entertainment though.

What was the worst experience on stage?

H: When I played a festival called Scoutabout in 2022, I performed my song ‘No Boys Allowed’, as I announced the song every boy started booing, I didn’t even realise why at first but just had to make a joke about it!

I: Yikes. Probably one of my first ever live performances of my unreleased song ‘Conversations with Myself’ when I was around 18. I confidently strode on stage, ready to sing with my microphone in hand and…nothing. No music. And this happened 3 times that night. Each time I inexplicably resorted to improvising stand-up comedy to fill the silence. Truly horrendous. There’s a happy ending though because this sweet boy in my class offered to learn the song in about 2 minutes and back me up on a borrowed guitar. It was a real team victory moment and the audience were really rooting for me that night, but I did die inside a little bit. Especially because it was filmed and shown to me the next day.

Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about.

H: I’m very business-minded and cutthroat when it comes to the business side of things. I’m very sure of what I want and what I envisage for myself. I’m also very introverted!

I: Hot Take from a Sassy Gay: I cannot stand Pride-related cash grabs. What Pride as a brand and Pride month in general has become is such a disgrace and an insult to the people that went through so much for us to even be able to walk this world as who we are. I have pride for them, not for what the community has become.

What makes you stand out as artists?

H: I used to have pink hair which made me stand out which was great but now I’m back to brunette I’m more focused on carving out a sound that can define me separate from my image.

I: I would say that when you listen to my songs, it’s evident that you’re hearing my words and my personality there. It may be catchy, commercial pop music (because I love pop music!) but I make sure that it is unmistakably MY voice behind these melodies. It’s exactly the same as I would tell a story in person… just in a catchier manner.

I hear you have new music, what can you tell us about it?

H: ‘Believe’ is a very special song to us that highlights the desperation we were feeling in our careers at the time. This song also marks the first time I’ve released a song so lyrically honest, or even a slower ballad in a good 10 years at that!

I: It’s really an anthem for our friendship and our resilience in the face of what seemed like nonstop hardships trying to knock us down and make us stop trying. We never gave up, and we never forgot what we were always aiming for.

What was the recording process like?

H: A really difficult session to get through if I’m honest. We were 2 consecutive 12-hour studio sessions deep that week and we just felt so creatively drained and emotionally exhausted. Also, my voice was going that day so that just added to the struggle.

I: We were truly broken that day – physically and emotionally. We needed to lift ourselves back up, we had to keep the hope alive. So we got up, spoke from the heart about the year we’d had and ‘Believe’ was born. I was so proud of us for getting through that day, especially Hannah who literally had no voice by the end of the session.

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes you’ve released this year?

H: Definitely to be more open creatively, whether that’s pushing myself vocally, musically or lyrically outside of my comfort zone.

I: Being open to other ideas and decisions being favoured over your own. It’s something I’m still working on, I can be very proud in the studio when it comes to making music. But having an openness to others’ ideas and contributions is so important to the creation of the best possible song.

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

H: No, I love the song as it is. The vocals are so raw and emotional to hear.

I: I mean of course there’s plenty of things I could nit-pick – how I sang this, whether or not that harmony choice was right, why was that the lyric decision etc. But that’s the beauty of the song being released, it’s out. You can’t change it. And you learn to love it for what it is, faults and all. If you keep looking for things to change and fix, you’ll never release your music.

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

H: Check out the previous 3 singles we’ve released as they’re very different, and stay tuned for the next release in 2024. It’s going to be a big one!

I: Watch this space, music is just flying out of us at all times. In this case, my next solo single ‘Run Away’ is coming out on December 29th so I’ll be in your ears one last time this year! And in the spirit of the song, never give up on your dreams when the road gets tough. Overcoming adversity makes you stronger.

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