“I absolutely love it!” gushes Hannah Wants. She’s just about to board another plane to another gig, one of hundreds this year and a huge departure from her former life as a professional women’s football player.
Though Hannah’s passion is obvious to anyone who’s seen her play. Her long, braided black hair bouncing behind her in sync to the rhythm, she constantly vibrates with energy as she plays, giving the impression she’s still got one foot firmly on the dance floor. Indeed, she confirms the majority of her passion stems from the simple joy of making music and sharing it with others.
“The feeling that I get behind the decks, whether I had a good day or a bad day, is like no other,” the Together resident says.
Wants scored her big break on the White Isle in 2010, playing a headline slot at Es Paradis after two seasons grinding away as a worker. And since then, the Birmingham-born DJ has become the living embodiment of the Ibizan dream, proving that hard work is your only shortcut from playing free gigs at workers’ bars to headlining the Ibiza superclubs.
“I remember walking to the clubs and asking the bar owners for sets and doing DJ competitions,” she recalls nearly eight years later. “I've been there and I've done the round. It just makes you learn your trade and it starts you off from grounded roots. I wouldn't change it for the world, I'm glad I did two summers there.”
That graft helped give Hannah a humble take on her newfound fame. But there’s also an inherently kind and gentle person underneath her tough, middle finger-wagging stage persona.
“At no point of the journey do I feel like I'm better than anybody else,” she tells me. “I've stayed so humble just because I'm so grateful that people support me and enable me to live my dream life. There's no way I'd get ahead of myself and start thinking I'm something special,” she says.
It’s the same humility and gratitude that’s pushed Hannah to keep giving back. Recalling the hardship she experienced as an up and coming DJ, the UK native has found a way to use her position to nourish young talent by regularly announcing bedroom DJ competitions.
“It's really important if you're an artist and you've got a platform to give back, because we're in a blessed position,” Hannah says. She’s just wrapped up this year’s DJ search, selecting 10 aspiring artists to join her on her forthcoming UK and Ireland tour. And she personally listened to every single DJ mix submitted.
The second annual Play tour will hit London, Bristol, Brighton, Leeds, Dublin, Edinburgh and more, and sees Hannah Wants handpick not only the DJs joining her but the venues too.
“For me it's just about having more of a stamp, rather than to play for solo promoters in their events,” she explains.
Although Hannah’s passion for her craft knows no bounds, touring relentlessly takes its toll. And Hannah hit a breaking point last April. As she was on the eve of another busy summer, her fifth season at Amnesia and countless gigs at festivals in the UK and Europe on the horizon, Hannah kept pushing herself at the expense of her health. Fearing cancelling gigs could disappoint her loyal following, Hannah decided to complete her summer schedule and take some well deserved time off in October.
“I had to step back and look at life,” she says several months later. “I thought I was healthy, I thought I was living a healthy life – body and mind, and I really wasn't.”
Realising the cost of her fierce ambition on her overall well being pushed Hannah to undergo a transformation on both a mental and physical level. That’s why she immersed herself in a 21-day Ayurvedic Panchakarma programme, combining meditation, cleansing, therapy and yoga in the beautiful setting of the Maldives.
“It was good for mind, body and soul. I got rid of a lot of toxins, I see things differently now. I'm not perfect, but I'm certainly on the path to a much more healthier lifestyle, which is only gonna help everything in my life.”
Admitting maintaining a healthy lifestyle in the music industry is a challenging task, the Birmingham native says she’s now trying to be as healthy as she can be. Although she sometimes treats herself to a drink when she’s playing, Hannah tells me she does have a very wholesome lifestyle during the week.
“I make sure if I do drink on a specific night, my week is super healthy – I drink juice every morning, I eat organically, I cook my own food, I don't have fast food anymore so I'm a hell lot healthier than I ever was.”
And if her cathartic experience proved anything on a personal level, it’s certainly changed some of Hannah’s priorities, forcing her to shift her work-life balance. While previously ambition ruled her entire being, her health problems were a true wake up call, making her question her aspirations in life.
“I wanted to be the biggest and best I can be, because I was very work-driven, work came before everything. But now I want to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle and that's in every aspect – work, home, family, everything. That's what I'm aspiring to now.”
Hannah Wants goes on tour in the UK and Ireland in March, with gigs in Cardiff, Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh, Bournemouth, London, Bristol, Brighton, Dublin and Leeds. For more info and tickets, head to Hannah's website.