Adam Hanna: Gifted and on the Rise

by The Cowl Editor on February 2, 2017

Arts & Entertainment

Photo courtesy of Adam Hanna.


by Ryan Cox `18

A&E Staff


Call him what you will—“the next big thing,” “Providence College’s newest campus celebrity,” or “rising star”—they all describe the growing career of Adam Hanna ’18, a Lakeville, Massachusettes, native whose music has gained an incredible amount of support on campus in just the last year. Coming off of his sold-out performance at Firehouse 13 last week, I had a chance to sit down with Hanna to talk about his views on his newfound campus fame. His passion and drive for performance was immediately clear.

This was Hanna’s second performance at Firehouse 13. “The first time, there were maybe about 100 kids there,” he said. “I didn’t know what would happen, and the owners took a chance on me.” This time around, filling the hall beyond capacity, things were markedly different. “It was incredible. Kids are used to going to Whiskey Republic and instead they came to this hole-in-the-wall place. I think having a lot of different opening acts helped to draw a bigger crowd too.”

Hanna got his start playing guitar in fourth grade, and immediately fell in love with it. “As soon as I picked that thing up I never put it down,” he recalls. “It’s like a kind of yoga. You get to relax and forget about things for awhile. If you feel something you write it down.” Throughout his career he constantly looked to his father, a former performing musician and songwriter, for guidance. “My dad taught me my first chords, and I still write songs with him,” Hanna said. “It’s the best father-son relationship you can have.”

Since then, Hanna has released a number of EPs with original songs, and a cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “Thunder Road,” which Providence College shared to its Facebook page, his first taste of campus fame.Hanna admits that the “Friar Family” is what keeps him coming back to Providence College, despite the urge to drop out and pursue music full time. “They support you in everything, whether it is sports, academics, or music,” Hanna said. “I thank them for coming to my shows, and then they thank me for playing. Sophomore and junior year, there were times I almost considered not coming back, but little things like that make me come back.”

Hanna says his biggest musical influence is Springsteen, although he cites Freddie Mercury as well. Springsteen’s influence is evident in Hanna’s original lyrics and music, but both musicians influence his performance. “They left everything they had on the stage. There aren’t too many artists that do that anymore. People who try and create the whole experience, that’s what I’m trying to do. If it doesn’t look like I took a shower on stage, I didn’t do it right.”

Looking down the road, Hanna plans to release another new song in the near future, but for now he is focusing on honing his performing skills. Currently, he mainly performs covers of songs ranging from Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a a Prayer” to Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk,” but Hanna is looking beyond that. “I want to get to the point where people come to sing along to my originals,” he said.

For Hanna, the success he’s begun to gain is pushing him forward, and he’s letting that momentum carry him. “You can’t rest,” he said. “The last two days have been a mental break, but now it’s on to the next one. There can’t be a rearview mirror.”