Hannah Jadagu: “If you look like me, sound like me, you can do it, too. Anybody can, so don’t feel intimidated by the guitar world”

Hannah Jagadu
(Image credit: Jack Duffy)

Hailing from Texas but residing in New York, 20-year-old Hannah Jadagu juggles studying Music Business at college with working on her own brand of effortlessly cool, lo-fi indie pop as a freshly signed member of the Sub Pop family. 

She’s been self-producing since high school, and found her sonic thumbprint in hazy guitars that wrap around introspective lyrics and shimmering single-coil tones, softened by clouds of chorus, reverb and delay. The self-taught writer/player/producer describes her trusty Fender Stratocaster as “the centre of everything”. 

“I’m not writing a song unless I’m playing,” she emphasises. But her approach has often relied on far less classic tools, too. Taking her cue from bedroom pop pioneers like Steve Lacy, Hannah recorded her early music (including 2021’s What Is Going On? EP) using her iPhone 7, GarageBand iOS and a few accessories.

“I bought this iRig at Guitar Center for 20 bucks,” she says, “and from then on, I was just literally connecting it to my iPhone, playing beats and mixing around with chorus guitars and reverb.”

Recently, she’s downed the handheld gadgetry and headed studiowards for the first time, alongside co-producer, Max Robert Baby. The partnership has already yielded the infectious Say It Now, and there’s a debut album brewing that promises to take a noisier turn.

“People are in for some louder sounds,” she promises. “I wanted no song to be confused with another, and I wanted it to be full of surprises.” 

Conscious of not wanting to “stray too far” from her DIY roots either, she resisted potential gear overindulgences, swerving the need for amps by recording directly from guitar to desk. “We used a lot of plugins,” she laughs, pointing to Valhalla’s analog-inspired bundles as essentials.

Live, she uses a Fender Deluxe Reverb, a Boss DS-1, an Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail, an MXR Analog Chorus and a Z.Vex Instant Lo-Fi Junky, which she dubs the “really wonky one” for its warped, out-of-a-record-player tones. Content, for now, with four pedals and one guitar, Hannah has no intention of rushing the discovery process –though she confesses to having her eye on a TC Electronic Rusty Fuzz and maybe a Jazzmaster. 

“This is not me being modest,” she insists. “I’m just messing around and whatever sounds good, I’m doing!” Her instinct and ability to travel in her own direction at her own pace are perhaps her greatest strengths. “If you look like me, sound like me, you can do it too,” she says. “Anybody can, so don’t feel pressure or feel intimidated by the guitar world.”

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Ellie Rogers

Since graduating university with a degree in English, Ellie has spent the last decade working in a variety of media, marketing and live events roles. As well as being a regular contributor to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and GuitarWorld.com, she currently heads up the marketing team of a mid-scale venue in the south-west of England. She started dabbling with guitars around the age of seven and has been borderline obsessed ever since. She has a particular fascination with alternate tunings, is forever hunting for the perfect slide for the smaller-handed guitarist, and derives a sadistic pleasure from bothering her drummer mates with a preference for “f**king wonky” time signatures.