The singer-songwriter arrives with ethereal debut “Pretty Lonely”.
Hannah Westerholm is getting comfortable with herself.
This week, the North Dakota-born singer released her first single “Pretty Lonely” – “a bedroom prayer on what it is to be alone with self-acceptance” – under moniker Half Wolf. With mellow guitar and ethereal acoustic vocals, the mesmerising debut marks the start of an exciting new chapter for Westerholm, who’s also recently relocated to LA. Expect more drops throughout year, but only in line with new moon cycles… Half Wolf has vowed to release music accordingly.
We spoke to the singer about her journey so far, why she’s preaching self-acceptance and what’s to come.
What are your first memories of music growing up?
My first memory would have to be when I was a kid my parents always played records while the family cleaned the house. It was anything from Pink Floyd, The Gorillaz to Fleetwood Mac and Buffalo Springfield.
What’s the story behind your moniker?
I’m a Minnesota girl who read a book about wolves. The book Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes turned my whole world on its head. My name is there to remind me and others of the inner wild within all of us.
Why are you choosing to only release music on new moon cycles?
I’m following the lunar cycles as a guide because it’s an outlet to further curate an atmosphere for Half Wolf. It’s a way to be creative even further. Sometimes it feels like my world is ruled by the moon, so it feels fitting that my songs are too.
How does it feel to be putting your debut track out?
Bonkers. I’m just having so much fun. I wrote and recorded this song back in Fargo, North Dakota in December. Now it’s August and I’m living in LA, so this track has brought me into a whole new world.
How does LA compare to growing up in Fargo?
I never want to experience winter again, I paid my dues. I’m grateful for it, though. I haven’t lived there for a handful of years but it shaped me into who I am. It’s an incredibly supportive artistic community. I got to spend all winter holed up listening to music and all summer street performing. It’s because I lived there I can appreciate LA so much. But I’m full-fledged Cali-girl now. You couldn’t pay me to go back.
What inspired the lyrics in “Pretty Lonely”?
I was sitting on my childhood bed back in Fargo looking at a framed prayer that my grandma used to have. It was a transitional time for me, to put it simply. Sometimes I feel like the song is a conversation between my Grammy and I, with her cheering me on. Also, I am really big on not making things harder for yourself by putting yourself down. I have never been happier with myself and this song is me realising I can know my worth but still allow for myself to feel through an emotion.
Why’s it important to you to promote self-acceptance and being open to your emotions?
Because emotions are complicated as hell! I’m one to suppress everything into a little tiny box of my subconscious and I love using my music to stir up my personal ecosystem. I don’t know, the older I get the more I realise that I’m not the only kid with anxiety and emotions can feel like big bad monsters. When I perform my songs, it’s like I’m finally looking under the bed.
Would you say you fit into a genre?
No, and I appreciate the phrasing of this question. In my opinion genre is dead. I don’t mean that in a dramatic way, it’s just irrelevant and music will benefit from it. I feel this particular track fits into a genre, sure. But what I’m set to release in the future doesn’t live in this world. I think what matters is that you hear the song and you connect with it. If you need to put a label on it, that’s okay, but I will avoid doing so at any cost.
What’s next for you?
Well, next month I’m releasing another single with an EP to follow in October. I’ll be focusing on performing for a while. I am also shooting a music video that I wrote, curated and produced. I have such a crazed love for creative collaboration that I have a lot of projects I’m excited about coming together. I’m working on writing, producing and directing a play and starting an artist collective.