Student continues to pursue songwriting

Each and every day, students are working hard to make their dreams one step closer to reality. Freshman Hannah Norris is also trudging upon that journey.

Last semester, Norris was an inspiring songwriter and singer with one original song. This semester, her inspiration and love for music remains, but she has a lot more stories to tell.

“I’ve had a lot more experience playing shows and started making more originals,” Norris said. “I also recorded an album over spring break.”

Norris’s father has a close friend who owns a studio in Lawrence. He let her record her eight original songs in his studio and burned them onto a CD.

“In the album, there’s this song that seems to be everyone’s favorite called ‘Kansas’ and it’s like the central song,” Norris said. “So I named the album ‘The Heartland’ because it just seems to fit.”

Apart from writing more songs, Norris has also been getting more exposure as a musician.

“I usually just open for other people or play as a supporting act,” Norris said. “I’m starting to play once every couple of weeks, most of the time at various bars.”

Norris is also aiming to get accepted into a songwriting camp called the Grammy Camp.

“It’s a weeklong camp that takes place in either New York or Los Angeles,” Norris said. “You get to learn songwriting from professionals.”

Norris was required to send in two videos of her songwriting and vocal skills, and a video essay as well.

“Mr. Balman, Kendall Kandt, Jacob Alexander and Cassandra Quinby all helped me record my videos,” Norris said. “They are the greatest people ever.”

Norris plays a variety of instruments including the guitar, the ukulele, the mandolin, the base guitar, and the electric guitar.

“They are all kind of different in their own way,” Norris said. “But at the same time, they all make sense together when you start learning them.”

Norris gives a unique description of the part music plays in her life.

“Music captures emotions that you can’t really put into words,” Norris says. “And songwriting can be compared to poetry but you can fill in the gaps with music.”