We had the good fortune of connecting with Hannah Parrott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hannah, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I have always been an over-worker. I think this stems from a good place of desiring purpose and excellence in what I do, but it easily turns into detrimental obsession if I’m not proactive. Through instances where I have seen the outcome of years of this sort of obsessive work-aholism in others and through my own trial and error, I have come to realize that work, while it is important and life-giving, is not strong enough to sustain the weight of my full love and devotion. I have seen the heartbreaking fallout of sacrificing everything for your career and it looked incredibly empty to me, an addiction that in the words of C.S. Lewis had become “an ever increasing craving for an ever diminishing pleasure.” I love my work, but I thrive in my work when I let other things feed and inform my soul. As an artist, I think it is imperative for me to live the human experiences (through personal and communal opportunities) that I will be embodying in music. I will have a hard time encapsulating what I have not sought to understand. So, in other words, balance is vital to my work and yet outside of my work. Living life, with community, enriches my art, but I have to have consistent times of stepping away from my work to do that. I have learned and am learning how to proactively be a whole human being, loved and loving, working and resting, giving and receiving.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am a composer for film, television, and media! I primarily work in film, collaborating with independent filmmakers, but I’ve also written a fair amount for TV, partnering with networks like National Geographic, Netflix, History, and Discovery Channel. As a composer, it is my job to take the vision of a director, producer, or creative lead and embody it in music. I seek to write music that is evocative, effective, and unique to whatever story is being told. My job is always to serve the story whatever medium it may be. What sets me apart from others? I think as artists we each have likes and dislikes, things we resonate with and gravitate toward. Then we also have our life experiences and moments of catharsis that enable us to relate organically to a story or idea. Each artist is set apart from others by the very aspect of being themselves. So I guess what sets me apart is me, not some skillset or singular fact. I can’t help but infuse everything I do with parts of who I am. I think that’s the way art is supposed to be, right? That being said, I do love writing for strings. I think a string orchestra is one of the most beautiful sounds on the planet. I recently wrote for and recorded a 70 person orchestra on a big soundstage in town, which has always been a dream of mine! It was glorious.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
If I had a friend visiting LA, I would make it a priority to take them to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for a concert or the Hollywood Bowl in the summer! Such iconic music venues in LA. I would also take them to one of the many beaches in the LA area (my favorite is Zuma in Malibu), afterwards hitting up a local Mexican restaurant (The Latigo Kid near Malibu, Casa Vega in Studio City, Casablanca in Venice). A coffee shop excursion would also be a must (love M Street Coffee and Groundwork). I’d also love to show them some of the beautiful hiking trails around here (recently hiked Point Mugu – it was gorgeous). So much to do and see!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to give a shoutout to The Society of Composers & Lyricists, a wonderful organization that has mentored me and warmly welcomed me into their community!
Sophie Crockett, Kendall Rock, Mallory Hauser