Earlier this year, we featured Los Angeles-based artist Hana Vu in one of our weekly New Music Sunday roundups, incredibly impressed with her single “Maker.” The track, co-produced by Jackson Phillips, explored themes of religion. Though 21-year-old Vu is not religious, the song was inspired by the imagining of “a sort of desolate character crying out to an ultimately punitive force for something more.”
With second single “Everybody’s Birthday,” Vu tackles the anxiety and “depressive introspection” that one can experience on their birthday: which is “an era of being alone, and can feel infinite,” she said in a press release. If you’re reading this and you don’t live with anxiety: I am incredibly envious of you. The feelings that bubble up and boil over every year on my birthday are ones I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy: struggling to be excited and grateful for turning one year older while simultaneously feeling responsible for everyone’s enjoyment around you only begin to describe what it feels like.
When I first heard “Maker” earlier this year, I sent it to the Staged Haze team. Brittany mentioned that we should feature Vu, because her music “feels different than a lot of the stuff we get,” which seems to be exactly what Vu is going for. Thanks to continued collaboration with Jackson Phillips, the team has created a world of music that is entirely Vu’s alone: including incredibly deep, soulful vocals, paired with banjos, disco synth, and new wave rock.
“Everybody’s crying in the hallway / I guess it must be everybody’s birthday / All the time.”
“Everybody’s Birthday” comes ahead of Vu’s upcoming album Public Storage, set to release on November 5. The album is her debut on Ghostly International. The album is named after the public storage spaces Vu and her family used while moving every few years.
Vu sees the art of making and releasing songs in a similar sense: “these public expressions of thoughts, feelings, baggage, experiences that accumulate every year and fill little units such as ‘albums,” she said in a press release. During the writing process, Vu lived next to one of these stage buildings: noting that its presence felt like “a metaphor to a record that sounds far bigger than the bedroom it came from.”
Listen to “Everybody’s Birthday” below.