For many, Philippa Hanna was probably a relative unknown a week or so ago. But now that her cover of Ed Sheeran’s Perfect has gone viral, it would appear that this is no longer the case. Yet for those who have followed the 33 year-old singer, long before this latest social media storm brewed, it will come as no surprise that she seems to be taking it all in her stride. This is a lady who is marked out by her humble character and inspirational personality. She is on a mission to champion self-esteem in young people; to tell people how beautifully and wonderfully made they are. It is more than admirable. It has the potential to be positively life-transforming.
One of the ways that Philippa Hanna is seeking to do this is through her music. The opening track of her latest album Come Back Fighting perfectly captures the feel-good and inspirational message that she wants to send. Follow up track (and latest single) Off the Wagon continues this upbeat theme. It is a song that exudes sunshine, perfect for the first official day of British Summer Time. Yet don’t be mistaken. There are no fluffy pink clouds or eternally-smiling faces here. You need only listen to Getting On With Life to realise that. Hanna’s country-pop sound is firmly lodged in the genre’s tradition of down-to-earth storytelling. This is not a woman who is calling us to escapism. Instead, she inspires us to show a little more love and compassion. It is about looking beyond ourselves, and thinking of others who may be “going through battles no one sees us fight”.
It is clear that Philippa Hanna takes a lot of inspiration from her Christian faith. Thankfully, when references to such are made, they feel natural and unforced. This is not a singer who has been sucked into the world of Christian worship music and lost her sense of identity or calling. Instead, she remains outside this sub-cultural genre: a country artist who is a Christian rather than a Christian who sings country music. It may be a subtle difference. But the feeling that her faith is allowed to emerge in her songs organically, rather than being forced, is what gives them an authenticity that makes a huge difference in one’s appreciation of her experiences in life and faith. To that extent, Perfect does not feel like one of those cheesy attempts to “christianise” a popular song. Instead, in the ordinary surroundings of her dining room, Hanna simply connects with Sheeran’s song and is called, in one way or another, to praise God with it, regardless of how many views it gets on YouTube. She shares it because it is her passion. Commercial appeal never comes into it.
I first heard Philippa Hanna on Good Morning Sunday, around the time she released her 2016 album Speed of Light. Since that time, her music has slowly grown on me. She’s been lurking in the background for a while. After Perfect though, she is now firmly in my sight. I’d have loved to have gone and seen her in Manchester as part of her whistlestop tour next month, but sadly prior commitments mean that I’ll have to miss out (this time). But to those of you who can, I urge you to go. If there’s one person who can sing away the threat of April showers, it is Philippa Hanna. She is a little ray of sunshine who, in small and significant ways, is making the world a better place 🙂
For tickets to Philippa Hanna’s tour, click here.
Featured Image (C) Philippa Hanna