Zac, Taylor and Isaac Hanson who form the group Hanson stopped by this week to talk with Ron Bennington at the Sirius XM studios. The three brothers are best known for their smash hit Grammy nominated song “MmmBop.” Because of their quick success at such a young age, some people wrote them off as a flash-in-the-pan pop group, but there is much more to Hanson than meets the eye. They’re all grown up with kids of their own now, and recording under their own label. Excerpts from the interview appear below.
Isaac and Taylor Hanson are in Cannes looking for international distribution for their new album, Shout It Out. The album is released on their own label 3CG, which they formed in 2003.
As well as releasing their own records on the label, the three brothers are using the company as a base from which to explore and respond to what they say is “an industry in flux,” and to find new ways to assist artists to connect with their fans. “It’s impossible to replicate the relationship that develops when a band really connects with their fans, but that’s what we’re looking at trying to do,” Taylor said. He added that while social networking sites can help facilitate and reinforce the artist-fan relationship, there is still more that can be done.
The 11-week-old daughter of Zac Hanson and his wife Kate arrived just before Christmas, and her proud parents say it’s been a smooth, happy ride ever since.
“Junia is such a sweet gift,” says the Hanson drummer, 25, who also has a son Shepherd, who turns 3 in May. “It has been so much fun to get to know her and to watch her along with her big brother grow and change so quickly.”
These days, Zac is likely tops on his 5½-year-old niece Penelope‘s list — until now, Taylor Hanson‘s daughter, been holding her own as the lone lady among six little boys in the family (her three brothers and as many boy cousins).
Zac Hanson got an early holiday present on Wednesday, Dec. 15 – and it was exactly what he was hoping for.
The Hanson drummer and his wife Kate welcomed their second child, daughter Junia Rosa Ruth, who arrived at 8 lbs., 7 oz.
“We couldn’t imagine a better Christmas gift than this sweet little girl,” Hanson, 25, tells PEOPLE exclusively.
“In just the short time she’s been here, she’s enriched our family and our lives beyond measure,” he adds. “We’re looking forward to celebrating the season with our family and introducing her to everyone.”
Baby Junia joins brother Shepherd, 2½, and a half-dozen cousins ranging from age 2 to 8: Zac’s brother and bandmate Taylor has four kids while Isaac has two.
The new Hanson album may be called Shout It Out, but the boys didn’t have to scream to get our attention. We spoke to the soft-spoken and oldest brother, Isaac, who talks about their fifth studio album, which performer he would like to collaborate with, and their relationship with Weird Al.
When ‘MMMBop’ hit the airwaves in April 1997, everyone got their first introduction to a young trio of brothers with long blond hair and high-pitched voices called Hanson. While many pop acts disappear as quickly as they rise, these bright-eyed boys from Tulsa, Okla., have continued to produce a number of albums, start their own record label and even travel to Africa to help the fight against AIDS and poverty.
Being in the industry for over a decade, Hanson decided to celebrate their longevity with a series of shows called “Five of Five” at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City. Each night was dedicated to one of their five major albums, including their latest, ‘Shout It Out,’ on the fifth night. As the band prepared for their last evening of “Five of Five,” Hanson invited PopEater to come along for the ride.
Those who’ve dismissed Hanson as just another passing fad from the ’90s are under-informed. The band has earned three Grammy nominations, making Zac the youngest songwriter in history to receive such an accolade. They’ve sold over ten million albums, singles, E.P’s, and videos to date and continue to chart significantly with each independent release. Hanson is a model for how to survive and thrive in the dying, post-millennial music industry.
Of course, Hanson’s music will never be for everyone. As long as they remain a band, they will make catchy, radio-friendly songs, and they will always have that recognizable three-part-harmony sound, regardless of the general public opinion or cultural trends. The majority of their audience will always be screaming females (though a percentage of smart male Hanson fans does exist). The guys in Hanson are far from perfect songwriters or musicians. But they’re genuine and good at what they do—making pop music— and they are forever evolving.
So Hanson is constantly moving forward, but they’re old school, too (apparently they’re one big paradox). Sure, they’ll always be associated with the ’90s-pop-MTV-generation, but the inspiration for the music they make goes back way further than that.
Their musical tastes and values are deeply rooted in the music they grew up listening to. Little Richard; Ray Charles; The Band; Jimi Hendrix; Cheap Trick; Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young; Elvis Presley; Cat Stevens; Janis Joplin; AC/DC; Stevie Wonder; Eddie Cochran; Traffic. . . all of these artists are unarguably cool, right? Hanson has covered songs by these legends and many more in concert, starting back in the ’90s when they chose to play classics like “Crosstown Traffic” to theaters full of unknowing preteens and their appreciative parents.
By the way, while the rest of the world forgot about them back in 1998, Hanson has maintained a loyal fanbase that will buy from them and die for them. The band knows they owe their continued success to their (obsessively scary, 90% female) fans, and they do not take this for granted—they consistently give back to those who support them to make their fans feel special.
The band was one of the first to start a successful, paid, online fan club back in 2000 that remains a fan community and active resource of all things Hanson to this day. Hanson.net serves as a multimedia testament of their every project, including journal entries and video blog updates from the band and certain restricted access only available to paid members. One fan club member is randomly given the honor to be a “reporter” for each Hanson concert in exchange for a meet and greet with the band, so every show is well-documented on the official site in detail including set lists, photos, and interviews with the guys, all from a fan’s perspective.
Although Hanson might be a more liberal, non-creepy, modern day version of the Osmond’s, these guys are hipper than you might think. In a time when “indie” rockers are touted by major labels, Hanson is the true definition of a DIY band.
After the sophomore “slump” of their follow-up album This Time Around (a mere 262,000 records sold in 2000) and years of struggles with their label Mercury Records during the messy Island Def Jam merger, they parted ways with Mercury due to irreconcilable differences. Whereas countless bands in the same position were neglected and eventually dropped from their major labels when the overly confident industry of the ’90s was just beginning to collapse, Hanson got out of their contract on their terms and forged ahead on their own, by choice.