Scarlett O’Hanna

Precious Nothings

Out April 26, 2024

For Brussels-based Franco-Greek artist Scarlett O’Hanna, the decade between her two albums was necessary, “Sometimes it takes time to be alive” she confides. Singer, multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer Anna Muchin behind the artist name, released her latest album ‘Romance Floats’ in 2014 (Pop-up records/Moorworks), an opus in the contrasting indie folk rock vein, with tracks alternating between electric soaring and acoustic sweetness. Following the release of the album, the pressure of the social and economic crisis on her family and entourage in Greece led her to take stock of her art. A period of mourning that also marked the start of a vocal and sonic body of work beyond the music scene: original music for podcasts, dance pieces and films, sound pieces, voice-overs, translation. “I wanted to get involved in other forms of musical writing and sound creation. To be part of a larger ensemble, to serve other people’s projects. There was a relief and playfulness that I felt I’d lost in my own music. I learned a lot. She also finds refuge in radio and the words of writers, researchers, artists and scientists. “But I started to want to get back to that familiar place that songwriting was for me, and my voice through singing. That brought me back here”. Scarlett O’Hanna has refined her poetry and carved out a new sonic palette that reconnects with her earliest musical practices, the piano she began at age 6 and songwriting at 16, to return with her most accomplished album to date.


On Precious Nothings, O’Hanna reveals herself in all her splendor in seven songs marked by immediacy and the versatile mastery of her voice. The singles “Precious Nothings”, “Open Doors” and “Unafraid” echo themes that run through the record, such as the search for a sense of belonging: ‘City’s changing fast / Baby I feel slow / Hunger and pride monetized / Can’t see the sky it used to hold’; the troubles and comforts of living together, disillusionment: ‘You know how beating hearts open doors / How long can you stay outside one that’s closed’; self-doubt and self-acceptance: ‘There’s no lie in the pulse of your skin / It’s been much and not enough / Stand while you stand / Love when you love’. The lived-in atmosphere of the album’s title single, as well as tracks like “Stick With You” and “Cacti”, reflect this musical renewal: “When I wrote ‘Thieves’ and ‘The Jacket’ around the time of Romance Floats, I felt I’d pushed open a door. On Precious Nothings, I wanted to open it wide,” explains Scarlett, who approached the creation of the tracks directly via a “writing-production” approach, composing most of the songs using synthesizers and electronic drums: “I spent a lot of time at home looking for the sounds I wanted to hear. I often write from images, observing situations and charged feelings. I wanted to move towards a more cinematic approach to production.”


After pre-producing the tracks Scarlett O’Hanna entered Robot Studio in Ghent, where she recorded with co-producer Pieterjan Coppejans, who mixed the record, and then worked with Matt Colton on mastering at Metropolis Studio in London.


Returning with fresh artistic élan to seamless couplet-refrain forms destined to be rapturously repeated and performed live (starting with Nuits du Botanique on 28/04) Scarlett O’Hanna achieves the grace of a modern classic on Precious Nothings, recalling the ecstasy of new-wave’s heyday while remaining fully rooted in her present as a singer-songwriter. Precious Nothings reflects her evolution as an artist over several decades of spearheading her own albums, a long-term breakthrough made clear on the track “Unafraid” opening Precious Nothings: “These are unloving times to live but / At the end of fear is a door.”