Stand & See
Bio "She's got lungs..." Raised on the 'mean streets' of New Zealand, Hannah is said to have been singing even as a tot. As a teenager she was trained as a choir singer, always being put as the second soprano not the first (just look at her now Ms Choir Master!). Hannah occasionally picked up a guitar and knew a few chords, but singing seemed to be her thing. But then at 18 she discovered that teenage angst sounded great in song, and poured forth a whole gambit of emo guitar crap. Luckily, her twenties followed, she moved to the UK, and found that the roller coaster of life was great song-writing inspiration. Songs about fire, killing men, famous movie stars, Christian mythology, the elements, lovers, heartbreakers, and being tied up followed - as did the public acclaim. Hannah became the Edinburgh Acoustic Idol two years running in 2004 & 2005; played the Edinburgh Festival Princes Street Gardens main stage in 2004; played the Meadows Festival in 2005; and supported such artists as Wendy Rule (Australia), Lee Patterson (Scotland), and Danny Rodda (New Zealand). Once, she even played with her band The Part-timers in an Asda supermarket car park. Now that's class! With catchy tunes, a huge voice, and a cheeky wit onstage, Hannah is a unique talent and one to watch. 'What a stunning voice... really unique and hits you between the eyes' - Eddie Raynor (Split Enz) Media Evening News, Friday 21 January 2005 'Bohemian rhapsody at Roxy music night' It's like some enchanted cathedral. A work of extraordinary charm and grandeur. Candles twinkle in the hallway, while subtle blue and pink lighting enhance the feeling of serenity. The atmosphere is quiet and relaxed - Bohemian almost. Up on stage - on what was once the altar - are three up-and-coming singer-songwriters. You'd expect them to be strumming an acoustic guitar in some busy coffee house. Instead they're here at the Roxy Art House, a former church, playing their hearts out. Black-clad, wearing no shoes, and singing straight from the soul, 24-year-old New Zealander Hannah O'Reilly, is a confident and charismatic performer. From the ethereal Blues Boy to the self-deprecating Stupid Girl, she is entrancing... [Abridged] - Barry Gordon Out of the Bedroom Review (July 2004) Compere for the evening, Hannah O'Reilly stood tall at the side of the stage for ceiling damage limitation purposes. Her first song was a duet apparently, although she sang both parts, and beautifully too. 'We Burn' was, surprisingly, not about a small river, but, in fact the smouldering passion between two people 'both stuck in places we don't want to be.' The chunky chord sequence led to a simply haunting chorus line. This was Hannah' s only new song as she explained she'd been sleeping more than writing recently. Next was 'Like Audrey' - a paean to the delectable Audrey Hepburn. I've heard this a few times now and it really grows on you, demonstrating Hannah's vocal range, from soothing to rasping, and another evocative chorus. 'Strange Friend' - the one about a crow watching her grow old is also a stunning song with marvellous lyrics - 'Girl, you're more f***ed up than me.' A strong, confident performance - which even made her fingers bleed. Rock 'n Roll - phew. The Weekend Chronicle, Saturday, April 2, 2005 Hannah O'Reilly is an hour away from the stage at the Big Chill in Raumati... There is a chance for all to buy a copy of her new EP 'The Eve Sessions'. Though you really don't need much convincing, a mere 30 seconds of any one of Hannah's 40-something long repertoire of originals, and you'd have your hand in your pocket, keen to get a copy of this acoustic gem. Hannah has a unique roll n rock story to tell. She's a Wellington girl who didn't take music seriously until she was 18. As a teenager she used her guitar to release a bit of teenage angst but her playing never left the bedroom. Hannah became PRChick.com, her own company in Wellington, which handled gig promotion. Her friends knew she had talent and in 2001 bullied her into playing a few tunes at the New Zealand Fringe Festival. In 2003 Hannah packed up and moved to Edinburgh. Her reasons are quite sensible. 'In the New Zealand music scene I am known as a PR person, a publicist and a photographer and to change that image of myself was too hard. So I thought I'd go away and be a musician somewhere else then come back'. That is not to say that Hannah is back. She's in NZ at the end of a month-long holiday to catch up with friends and family. By the time you read this she will in fact be back in Edinburgh playing gigs at Cafes and bars at least every other night... Meeting Hannah is a delight. She is always smiling (which was half nervous excitement and half happiness at the fact that she enjoys what she does). That comes across on stage. She chats between songs and she's witty, charming and sings with an angelic voice that cuts through you. Hannah is no angel. A friend in Scotland told her she sings like a dirty angel, which is true. Hannah's wings have been dirtied from living what life has to offer. There are no boundaries as to where she will allow a song to go. Included in her set is a song that sees her climax in a vocal orgasm, and another is titled 'Killed a man' showing us her edges are rougher than they look. But Hannah always retains her sense of humour. The EP 'The Eve Sessions' was recorded live in a pub in Edinburgh in 2004. It features six songs, all folk based - just Hannah and her guitar 'Audrey'. The mood and essence of the opening track 'Surface' has a sweet vocal melody with slightly sombre undertones over a steady folk guitar strum. The guitar changes in 'Adam & Eve' are notable - in fact there are subtle changes in both her playing and singing in all tracks. Hannah's vocals will change on a whim and is as similarly sweet as Jewel or Sarah McLachlan, and as powerful as Ani De Franco. The EP also includes interludes, small spoken bits from Hannah, little comments and giggles, that give the EP all the charm the real life Hannah has when you meet her. [Abridged] - Jay Hollows (radio DJ & journo) The Evening News, Friday 9 January 2004 'New talent sings out' Review of Out of the Bedroom- open mic night. Panhandlers had to sift through a lot of dirt, rarely finding gold. The Waverley last night was hardly the Yukon, but at least there were a few nuggets there. The event is a regular showcase for singer/songwriters of varying experience and quality.... Katherine Flint, Hannah O'Reilly, and Ross Galloway each had bags of talent, wit and their own style and are more than ready to move Out of the Bedroom. O'Reilly's 'Honesty' was probably the best song of the night... All three made the night worthwhile. [Abridged] - Martin Lennon.