“Here's the story so far...”
At the heart of the musical collective known as Hannah’s Yard lies the voice of 22 year old vocalist Hannah Layton Turner.
Supported by BBC Introducing and played on BBC Radio Two alongside numerous regional/independent radio stations, Hannah and her musicians have been making music since 2013.
At 14 years old, schoolgirl Hannah Layton Turner, was taken by her mum to a local recording studio where she was to record a moving song for her Grandad’s funeral. When she opened her mouth to sing, the producers were left speechless…for all the right reasons! Hannah progressed through her schooling but her beautifully understated voice would not leave creatives Barnaby Pinny and James Reader, who had witnessed it those years ago. Hannah was invited back to the studio several times and by the age of 17, this unique vocal talent felt ready to embark upon an exciting musical journey: the collective Hannah’s Yard was born.
From the first release...
An official launch of the song was expedited and by February 2016, following a live performance on his BBC Radio Oxford show, Alex Lester played ‘Why Would I Know’ on his Radio Two programme. Hannah’s Yard went on to appear on Robert Elms’ BBC Radio London show at the end of February marking a remarkable six months of progress for Hannah and her musicians.
“I think that’s absolutely gorgeous!”
Alex Lester, BBC Radio Two
Robert Elms, BBC Radio London
“Really lovely, lovely voice…and she’s gorgeous as well!”
Justine Greene, BBC Radio Coventry & Warwickshire
“We love you at this radio station, we really do!”
Justin Dealey, BBC Three Counties Radio
The music video to ‘Close Enough’ received over 15,000 views in just four weeks and saw support from nearly half of all BBC regional radio stations. Janice Long played the song on her Radio Two show and industry professionals continued to recognise that a considerable debut album is on its way:
"Excellent work as always!"
Paul Carrack, International Singer/Songwriter
(IT’S CHRISTMAS) SAY THAT YOU’LL STAY was a bonus release from Hannah’s Yard – a little something special for the festive season. Its lyrics suggest that Christmas can be a time to allow relationships to grow stronger, heal…work themselves into a better place. Musically, more instrumentation accompanies Hannah’s stunning vocals; it has a timeless quality that could see the song played-out year-on-year.
Nick Risby, BBC Three Counties/Northampton/Essex/Suffolk/Norfolk/Cambridgeshire
Coincidentally, the recording session happened to fall on Saturday 25 June 2016 – exactly six months to the day of Christmas Day!
In his 70th year, platinum-selling singer/songwriter GORDON HASKELL returns to the UK following an eight year period enjoying the Greek sunshine! The writer of 'How Wonderful You Are' - BBC Radio Two's most requested song...from his hit album 'Harry's Bar' - teams-up with Hannah's Yard for a warm and intimate evening of music featuring the full Hannah's Yard band. 20 year old Hannah performs the first set and Gordon, some 50 years her senior, the headline second set: the TIMELESS TOUR.
An initial run of concerts from April-July focused on the South of England and saw the 'Yard' celebrate the launch of their debut album 'Beginnings, set for release on 12 May. One concert at Dorset's renowned Tivoli Theatre saw Hannah and her musicians perform songs from their debut album alongside an eclectic mix of songs from the likes of Sam Smith, James Taylor and Randy Newman. The packed audience saw that Hannah and her musicians were armed and ready to let the next episode in their exciting journey play-out.
DEBUT ALBUM: UK-based, BBC Introducing-spotted musical collective Hannah’s Yard write/perform across a mix of styles – always on the ‘acoustic pop’ side of pop/jazz/folk/country. Lead singer Hannah Layton Turner (now only 20 years of age) has already been compared to a young Katie Melua. BEGINNINGS - the Yard’s aptly-named debut album - features 14 songs recorded in Hannah’s home town of Olney…the small English town where ‘Amazing Grace’ was written in the 1770s. This collection of meaningful songs about life and love is presented with Hannah’s beautifully understated voice shining out-front with able-support given from her team of musicians. Fondly described as ‘Norah Jones meets Fairground Attraction’, the album will happily sit alongside the music of Katie Melua, Norah Jones, Eva Cassidy, Melody Gardot, James Taylor, Michael Bublé and friends on playlists and was released via digital stores worldwide on Friday 12 May 2017.
Hannah's Yard decided to release a 'Radio Edit' of their song DOIN' IT FOR MYSELF to accompany their debut album release - a song about empowerment with a healthy portion of Spring/Summer 2017 feel-good-factor thrown in. Whilst the lyric references a relationship, the title is relatable by all in the Yard: Hannah decided not to go to university but ‘follow her dream’ instead…and the collective chose to release their music ‘cottage industry’ style, competing against the major labels…everyone’s doin’ it for themselves!
A first up-tempo release from the collective, production remained typical of the Yard's ‘acoustic pop’ approach; Hannah’s voice shines out-front, whilst the collective’s musicians are clearly having fun playing alongside her. The animated video for the song (another 'first' for the Yard) is posted on the on the VIDEO page.
AUTUMN/WINTER 2017: All at Hannah's Yard HQ enjoyed a great end to the Summer 2017, with an extended interview + live studio session with Dan Chisholm at BBC Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Bristol...followed by two live appearances at BBC Countryfile Live at Oxfordshire's historic Blenheim Palace, performing to the thousands of daily visitors on the BBC Introducing stage.
In response to understated 'duo' performances captured on video at BBC Coventry & Warwickshire in May (recorded at 7.30am one Sunday morning and now on the BBC website), musicians in the Yard started to experiment further with this voice/piano style of performance, marking a change from their usual 'full band' delivery. An upcoming EP of such performances was put into production, alongside a new radio single, both set for release in the new year.
MAY 2018: The first of many new music releases for 2018 dropped - DREAM WITH ME (RADIO VERSION). The collective decided to record a brand new radio version of the song that proved a particular favourite with fans of their debut album 'Beginnings'. Featuring (still only) 21 year old Hannah's understated vocals, beautifully supported by country-tinged accompaniment from musicians in the 'Yard', the recording retains the Hannah's Yard 'acoustic pop' trademark that they have become increasingly associated with. The songs' lyrics speak of how we can feel 'together' no matter how far apart we are, if we hold on to our thoughts and allow ourselves to dream.
"If that isn't a hit record...there's no justice!"
Nick Risby, BBC Three Counties/Northampton/Essex/Suffolk/Norfolk/Cambridgeshire
AUGUST 2018: Hannah and her musicians received numerous requests to perform across BBC regional radio stations over the past few years. Particular praise has been given for their sensitive and understated performances featuring just Hannah accompanied by her pianist James Reader. A decision was taken to try and capture these small, intimate performances, making a ‘covers’ EP focused around the voice and piano.
Showcasing the beautifully understated voice of (then) 22 year old vocalist Hannah Layton Turner, with thoughtful accompaniment from her small team of musicians, the aptly-named EP ‘REFLECTIONS’ features an eclectic mix of songs written and associated with the likes of Lennon/McCartney, Jack Johnson and Randy Newman with the justifiable inclusion of a cover of a Hannah’s Yard original song from their debut album – ‘Never Gonna Say I’m Sorry’.
Spontaneous, ‘live’ recordings comprise the EP – no ‘retakes’ or ‘click track’ – and this has resulted in some real gems, where voice and accompanying musicians join together to produce something truly special…something genuinely heartfelt, on the signal (and under the pressure!) of the red light.
June 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the recording of ‘BLACKBIRD’ by Paul McCartney, at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios – a facility at which Hannah and her musicians recorded their Christmas single. The song is given a unique interpretation by Hannah and James and was stamped as the ‘lead single’ from the new collection of four songs.
And so to the present...
OCTOBER 2018: with their Reflections EP about to exceed 150k streams on Spotify, remaining true to their word, the collective announce the release of a brand new radio single, dropping on Friday 2 November!
Co-written by Hannah, along with musical partners Barnaby and James, ‘WITH YOU ALL THE WAY’ sees all in the Yard reach for their electric instruments for the first time.
This up-tempo, feel-good song sees the collective having some musical fun together. Supporting Hannah’s lush upfront vocals are notably Guitarist Tim Cansfield’s [Bee Gees] pocketed electric and the bass line of Michael Curtis Ruiz [Kylie] - one of the funkiest musical journeys in itself.
With recent news of social media’s indirect promotion of ‘self-consciousness’ rather than ‘self-confidence’ and with loneliness on the rise across all age groups, the song’s lyrical message shouts that we need to be there for each other. Be it family, friends, teachers, carers, work colleagues…we need to gather around those that need support...'we're with you all the way'.
...and there’s even more new music from Hannah’s Yard on its way towards the end of the year...the journey continues!