Hi! What inspired you to write “Fallen from the Stars,” and is there a particular story behind its creation?

A: Hello! Yes, this song has a very specific story that goes with it. I wrote this song as I was falling in love with my husband over a decade ago. We fell in love amongst the juniper trees and red rock mountains in Sedona, AZ, and I was there for about a month before I had to leave to return back to Boston, while he stayed in Sedona. I started writing the song during this early long-distance phase of our relationship as a way to process and overcome my self-doubt that real love was possible. Love can be scary, it can rip you open and bring up vulnerable parts of yourself that might feel unworthy of love. This song gave me the courage to let love in, and helped be open to the idea that I could actually possibly love someone for my whole life.

Can you walk us through the creative process for this single? How did the initial idea evolve into the final track?

A: The song initially sort of came all at once, then I maybe edited a few things here and there over the next week after it was first written. Once it was in its final song form, I played this song out many times for a couple of years, before I finally decided to record the song as a surprise for my husband for our first dance at our wedding. The idea that I could surprise him is what prompted me to actually spend my money on this song and bring it into the studio to record. I share more about the recording and production process in another question below, but yes, in general, that’s sort of how it all came about.

The title “Fallen from the Stars” evokes a rich imagery and emotion. What does this title represent for you personally and in the context of the song?

A: Specifically, the phrase “you’ve fallen from the stars,” to me means a person who is so full of light, of love, of beauty, it’s almost like they’re from a place that’s not from the earth, but something greater. And they decided to ‘fall from the stars’ and come to earth for a little bit and share their light and beauty, and it almost doesn’t seem real, but it is. Something along those lines… though I feel like the song and music probably reflect what I mean / feel better than these words do haha!

How do you feel your personal experiences or musical influences have shaped the sound and message of “Fallen from the Stars”?

A: Certainly all of my previous training as a musician and life experiences influence my songwriting. Songs to me come from the unconscious realm and I think everything I’ve been through and learned musically combines in this sort of sonic moment to help create a sound-reflection of an inner experience, so for me it’s not necessarily a specific thing that made me make this specific musical choice, but more like, that’s just what came out, the musical+life experience formula inside combined into this specific feeling that came out in the form of a song to reflect my experience of a moment in time. Piano is often a tool I use to process my emotions, and this song definitely felt like it was meant to be piano-driven vs. guitar driven, the quality of the sound of a piano to me felt like the right sound to convey that emotion I was feeling in that moment.

The arrangement and production of a song play a crucial role in conveying its emotional depth. Can you share some insights into the production choices you made for this single?

A: I felt like it was important to record this song on a real piano, and in general, I prefer to record on a real piano, especially for my acoustic singer- songwriter stuff, as I tend to play differently on a real piano vs a keyboard, and I also just like that authentic, raw sound when it comes to this project and the type of songs I write and decide to share under my actual name, Hannah Lou Woods, as the songs are usually more intimate and personal. (vs my electronic project We Saw Lions, where I experiment more with different kinds of sounds and more production and is more pop-oriented). I knew it would be mostly piano / cello for the production of this song, and then we added some more harmonies and hums as well to give it more color and texture. We also added a little more reverb than usual, to make the track feel more ethereal. In addition, toward when we were nearing the end of the production, we added a very subtle low end kick drum sound during the high point of the song, to give that extra depth there to reflect the intensity and beauty of that specific moment. It kind of was an experiment that we tried, and I didn’t initially picture that there, but then fell in love with it. I worked with my friend Dave Chapman to co-produce this track, and the talented Trevor Jarvis played and helped arrange the cello part as well.

Lyrics can often be interpreted in multiple ways. Without giving too much away, what is the core message you hope listeners take away from “Fallen from the Stars”?

A: In general, to me, Fallen from the Stars is about unraveling the layers of self-doubt and fear that prevent you from letting yourself be loved and seen for who you really are, it’s about the power of someone loving you for you, and the challenge of believing that you’re worthy of that kind of love. Though, it might mean something else to someone else …That’s something that is so cool about a song; it can mean something slightly different to everyone who hears it / receives it/ interprets it according to their own experiences and perception of reality.

Live performances offer a unique way to connect with listeners. How do you envision performing “Fallen from the Stars” live, and what do you hope the audience feels during the performance?

A: Yes, well actually I also released a live performance video of “Fallen from the Stars” a few weeks ago. I recorded it in LA at Endless Noise studios with my incredibly talented friend Ro Rowan on Cello, and my friend Gray Bashew did film and audio for it. I actually cried in the making of the video, as this song comes from such a tender, vulnerable place within my heart/consciousness/psyche/awareness, and in order to accurately reflect the song, I actually dive into the same emotion and feeling within myself that I was feeling as I wrote the song. The arrangement is still structured similarly to the recording, but also still slightly unplanned and improvised to leave room for in-the-moment inspired, creative expression. Ro played on my first two albums under my old name Hannah Christianson, we met at Berklee back in Boston many years ago, and I knew they would be to add their own magic and beauty to the live performance. I hope that people can feel touched by the beauty and raw expression of this feeling I’m trying to convey, and that it helps them connect with that deeper place of love within themselves, that they might feel that they too are worthy of receiving that kind of love. Here’s a link where you can watch the live version if you’d like!

Collaborations can sometimes lead to unexpected breakthroughs. Were there any collaborators on “Fallen from the Stars,” and how did they contribute to the song’s development?

A: I wrote Fallen from the Stars by myself with my piano, during a very personal moment with my self, my heart, my consciousness, and the universe, and asking that deeper question of trying to understand this deeper feeling from within; that intimate space and willingness to try and uncover / discover/ reveal something from within, to be honest with myself in a deeper way, that impulse to express this feeling that can’t be expressed by words alone. I feel like the universe is a collaborator with me on all my songs, like I’m usually asking the universe for help to understand something, and then it can come through in the form of a song, to help me more fully understand it and give it a shape instead of just existing in my inner world. A song helps bring clarity and light to the hidden aspects of myself, it’s my way of making the unconscious more conscious, the formless feelings which can’t be expressed through words alone get a space to exist more clearly with music. Specifically with “Hannah Lou Woods,” I feel the songs for this project come from a deep vulnerable intimate place that is very much not usually the co-write space, because it’s something I have to come to understand on my own in order for it to be more fully authentically expressed and is just very personal and something I have to realize within first before feeling comfortable sharing with others. However, I do love doing co-writes and collabs with fellow artists where we’re both going on that journey of self-expression together. But yes, this specific one was more of a solo-realization.

In terms of production, I definitely love to have support from people, and it helps things go more quickly and smoothly than on my own. For this song, I hired Dave Chapman to help capture the recording and production and Trevor Jarvis to play and help arrange the cello part, and they were very supportive in helping actualize this vision I had, their talents and skill definitely helped the song come to life in its fullest representation. Very grateful to them for their help!

Finally, what do you want “Fallen from the Stars” to signify in the broader context of your musical career? How does it fit into your artistic journey and future ambitions?

A: A new beginning, the start of sharing even deeper aspects of myself with the world; the courage to change and step forward even more into who I really am, to be brave and share and let more aspects of myself out from my inner world to be seen. I hope that my music reaches whoever it’s meant to reach, and that it can help add more beauty into their life. My main ambition with my music is to continue to stay true to the integrity of my inner self and what wants to be expressed, and to keep having the courage to share these vulnerable, inner feeling-song-spaces with others, with the hopes that it might help create and inspire a kinder, braver, more loving world. Whether it reaches one person or one million, I hope that the song and music I choose to share can help others in some way.