Hannah Everhart won the hearts of millions when the Mississippi native appeared on season 19 of the hit TV show American Idol. But if she has it her way, that might be the last time she is introduced by those accolades.
Celebrating her 20th birthday this month, the artist has already made some big changes — including her name. Choosing instead to use her middle name, Hannah Jewel, has recently made the move to Nashville to pursue her music career.
Hannah Jewel said, “It was time for a rebrand. I didn’t want to be recognized as just that girl from ‘American Idol,’ although I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity and for the platform. I see now that there are more and more fellow Mississippi brothers and sisters popping up on the show and rising to the top and I couldn’t be happier about it!”
Hannah Jewel returned to Mississippi on Mother’s Day weekend to be part of the first-ever all-female lineup for the annual Flowood Family Festival. Opening for Martina McBride, Hannah Jewel commanded a crowd of thousands with her soulful singing and such an easy stage presence that no one would ever know that she had not performed a show in over a year.
“The Flowood experience was fun, and I know this is one of many more to come,” she continued, adding that she’s found some musical freedom since moving to Nashville. “It helps my ear and it’s just fun to be free in the moment with no bounds to what I have to sing. It is all about what we are all collectively feeling.”
Citing some of her favorite artists including Etta James, Ray Charles, Vince Gill, B.B. King, and Loretta Lynn, Hannah Jewel says her musical genre is “anything with soul.”
“I can’t sing anything I don’t feel, because if I don’t feel it, how can anyone else? I’m allowing more neo-soul and jazz and funk in my playlist these days,” Jewel explained. “Not because that is who I am, but because it is becoming part of my sound. I grew up on gospel, country, and blues, but I thoroughly enjoy being a diverse singer, and I want to grow vocally and rhythmically.”
As for what is next, the singer says getting original music out is a priority.
“I want to give people something they can feel. I want them to feel the way I feel when I write these songs. I want them to feel seen, heard, and understood.”