Hana Malhas
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Hana Malhas

Amman, Amman, Jordan | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Amman, Amman, Jordan | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Pop




"iSpy Magazine: Review of Hana Malhas & the Overthinkers"

Hana Malhas is a transplant. Her hometown is Amman, Jordan, where she currently resides, but she spent a while here in the mitten. And her recently released EP “Hana Malhas and the Overthinkers” is definitely infused with the particular listlessness and longing that homesickness can bring.

But just because she isn’t a native doesn’t mean she doesn’t have any friends stateside – oh no. The Overthinkers (Malhas’ backing group) fluctuates from one other person to a full band that performs with her live but are not so much in evidence on the EP. Another partner in crime that she’s met on this side of the pond is Michelle Chamuel of My Dear Disco and Ella Riot fame. Chamuel co- produced “Overthinkers” and lends her distinctive vocal touch to a few tracks on the album.

While she isn’t alone, the visual when listening to this album is a solitary Malhas beneath a spotlight on an otherwise darkened stage. In her words, Malhas related that she felt the album is “full of subtle drama. To me, it’s about your subconscious love, your inner superhero or your darkest quiet place.” Those kinds of themes are best related in hushed tones in dim places, and that is how the EP feels. Her voice remains largely unadorned, a mix of Carly Simon and Dido (remember her?! She wasn’t that bad…).

Malhas’ voice echoes as though through an empty ponderous space on the album. The percussive element on “Overthinkers” is often limited to hand claps (a favorite of Chamuel) and instrumentally mainly breathy pianos and tinkling xylophones hold sway. This bare audio quality makes those moments when a harmony or fuller instrumentation sweeps in that much more breathtaking.

With not much for her lyrics to hide behind, we can thank our lucky stars that such a capable songwriter as Malhas is steering the ship. Lyrics like “let’s settle for destruction, at the end of the day I’ll quietly resign” give you a glimpse into her dense, tangled psyche and clue you in to why her band is “the Overthinkers.” - iSpy Magazine

"Rolling Stone Middle East: "Hana Malhas's Summer of 'Love' ""

The Amman-based artist’s latest single garners international recognition, award nomination

By Adam Grundey
July 07, 2013

Jordanian-born singer-songwriter Hana Malhas began writing solo material in Michigan back in 2008. How she came to be there is a familiar story for Arab artists: She went to the States to study business. “It seemed like all my friends were applying to business school at the time,” she says. “I thought, ‘Hey, that’s what I should do…’”

Turns out she was wrong. “Yeah. But here’s the thing; I think even wrong things happen for a reason,” Malhas says. “Right now, my life is split between business projects – for paying the bills – and a music career. And for a personality like mine, it works well.”

It might not be too long before her music career helps pay the bills too. This year, the song “How We Love,” from her EP Hana Malhas and The Overthinkers, was one of five nominees in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter Song category of the Independent Music Awards. It’s a slow-burning tale of the “aftermath of the final fight in a relationship,” picking through the “rubble, dust, debris and sadness.” Malhas lost out to Passenger’s widely acclaimed “Let Her Go” when the panel of artists judging the awards made their decision (the winner of the public votes has yet to be announced), but she wasn’t disheartened. “It’s such a good song,” she says of the winner. “It feels great to be recognized in that kind of company. I feel really honored.”

Although she’s only been composing her folk-tinged piano-driven material seriously for a few years, the 34-year-old has been playing piano since she was a kid. (She was classically trained on both piano and violin.) “I was at a chamber music camp when I was 16,” she says, “and up until then I’d never seen a live show that wasn’t an orchestral performance. One night, there was a ‘skit night’ – kind of like a high-school talent show. The bass instructor – a tall man with a white beard – got up and played a spoken-word song with just his bass. I was in complete awe. It’s like a switch went on, and I realized just how much of a storytelling medium music could be.”

She started ditching math classes to write songs on her piano. “The songs were really bad at first,” she says. And it would be another 10 years or so before she really decided to make music a “serious part of my life.”

Now, inspired by – among others – Cat Stevens, Joni Mitchell, Bon Iver and Ray LaMontagne, her songwriting is garnering attention both at home and in the States (Malhas divides her time pretty evenly between Amman and Michigan) and she’s pulling in more live shows. The Overthinkers has become a catch-all name for “anyone I play with.” Malhas will take the stage alone (with piano and guitar), or with up to three others, depending on who’s available. “It seemed like the most suitable name for my type of personality,” she says. “And my type of music. And, as it turns out, also the type of listener that’s drawn to it.”

Live, she says, she prefers the energy that comes “even when there’s just one other person.” But it’s been difficult to find “steady” partners for her music. Particularly female musicians. “I’ve met a few, but nobody to actually form a project with.”

Her summer schedule is light right now; just a show in Michigan, one in Jordan and a tentative date in Dubai. She plans to use the next few months “trying to focus on writing some new material and experimenting with some new sounds.” She’s keen to add some electronica to her songs “and figure out how to get more of that into a live show, even if I’m playing alone.”

She’s also hoping to license some of her music to TV shows or films. A documentary crew has already approached her about using one of her songs. “That’s a world I’d love to get into because I love the effect that a show or movie has on me when the soundtrack is awesome,” she says. “I’d love to be part of that.” - Rolling Stone Middle East

"TV interview on Ro'ya"

http://youtu.be/vimui4iDoSI - Ro'ya TV

"There's Something about Hana"

By Timmy Mowafi
I had the pleasure of sitting down with Jordanian musician Hana Malhas this afternoon. If you like whipping out your acoustic guitar in the middle of the desert, singing songs about a girl then taking instagram photos of the mise en scene, you may well know her. Although she wouldn’t call herself a hipster, she doesn’t particularly like to put labels on things or herself. It’s an allegory for who she is; she glided into our seeming to be without a care in the world, excitable and visibly satisfied about being in Egypt and touring the Middle East. She lives between Amman and Ann Arbor, Michigan and has been making musical waves everywhere she goes. When she came in, her first music video ‘Just A Dream’ from her soon to be released EP ‘Hana Malhas & The Overthinkers’ had only loaded 49 seconds on YouTube. This, to be fair, was the extent of my research. Here’s what went down when we excavated more musing from the mind of Malhas…

Which artist would you convey yourself to be most like at the moment. In the current indie-folk scene…

Someone once told me recently I was part Ingrid Michaelson , part Joni Mitchell part Regina Spector. Maybe a little folkier than Regina. A little bit Norah Jones too.

The titles of some of your tracks from you last album ‘Shapeshifters’ are Just a Dream, How We Love, Sad ,Thin and Wreckless, Run… is your song writing inspired by:

A. Your previous romances
B. Lord of the Rings
C. Satusmas

Oh my god, that’s fantastic. I would say C. Satsumas

Who are the Overthinkers?

The Overthinkers are anybody that plays with me. I have to have rotating members in my band, because I travel a lot. They’re called the Overthinkers because it’s an extension of myself. I over-think everything and I think a lot of people relate to that. We’ve had people listen to the music just because of that name.

Is your music just for smart people then?

Haha, no you can go as deep into the music as you want to, or as little. You can just enjoy the melody or analyse the lyrics.

How did you get into music?

In the beginning it was classical training in Jordan. I learned violin and piano. Then I started writing songs in private and decided to do an open mic night. Its never been the same since. I think I’d say 2005 was a turning point. It was when I started taking song writing a little more seriously and started performing with other bands. 2008 was when I started my solo stuff. I had to be brave and just went for it. I just love the energy. Friends and family always say great things to you like, “GO FOR IT! You’re great!” but you never know if its just support or we’re really connecting with your voice. It’s more how I felt, I had a connection to performing.

Hana & The Underthinkers

What do you think in general of the Arab indie music scene?

I can speak mostly from my experience in Jordan and what I know there. It’s a smaller market than other genres but the people who are interested, really support it. They’re fans. The cool thing about it is people who aren’t exposed to that scene and come to the shows they end up getting really into it.

I understand you were studying business. How does your education affect your music?

Well, I have a shit ton of student loans so it helps with my starving artist lifestyle!

Right, if Skrillex fought with Snoop Lion in a ring…

(interrupts) Snoop who?

Snoop Dogg is now Snoop Lion, he met a Jamaican priest and now does reggae..

Are you k idding me?!?! I’m so behind!

Anyway, if Skrillex fought with Snoop Lion in a ring of om ali, and Skrillex had a hand which is a pincer and Snoop Lion has a hand that is hedgehog-spiked, which musician would come out more fiscally responsible?

Based on deep thought and very reliable formulas, I think it would be Snoop Lion.

What advice would you give to kids who want to make mouth sounds like you in the Middle East?

Make sure you do what moves you, because there’s a lot of hassle so it has to be worth it. The second thing is to have control over what you’re producing. It’s important to understand the tools of how to actually produce music. Make sure you also know how to take that live quality and produce it digitally. Some people don’t have that knowledge.

Do you feel like the younger Arab generation are moving away from its heritage and culture by producing Westernised music?

I’d say the opposite right now. Within the music scene and the people I’ve interatcted with, there are a lot of people moving back towards Arabic melodies or blending Arabic lyrics with different musical styles. I think that’s important to do but I have to stay true to what im good at. I just wrote my first Arabic song but I dont want to pretend that I’m something im not.

Do you think musicians have to produce what is commercially viable to really make it?

The whole definition of “making it is different” for every artist. For me I’d love to hear my song on a movie - CairoScene.com

"Hana Malhas & The Overthinkers (June, 2012)"

http://www.jo.jo/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2538:hana-malhas-hana-malhas-a-the-overthinkers&catid=79:music-reviews&Itemid=310 - JO Magazine

"Ann Arbor's globetrotting indie-folksinger Hana Malhas marks new CD with Ark show, and a farewell (May 2012)"

When Hana Malhas arrived in Ann Arbor from her native Amman, Jordan, several years ago, it was to pursue a business degree at the University of Michigan. Now she’s an indie-folk musician with a busy international career.
So how did one turn into the other?
“I came to Ann Arbor to go to business school… I graduated, didn’t know what I wanted to do yet, so I ended up joining a band … I went back to grad school, then decided to launch a solo career about four years ago,” Malhas explained.
She and her band, the Overthinkers, will play at The Ark Thursday night to mark the release of her new, five-track EP. This is Malhas’ second recording—the first was “Shapeshift,” released in 2010.
Malhas —whose first name is pronounced HEN-a —sings mostly in English, and sometimes Arabic. One writer called her a “folk-rock songstress with a 10,000-watt voice.”
“I like to say it’s indie-folk-pop,” Malhas said of her music. “It straddles those two words. It’s piano and guitar-based. It tells stories. It’s very lyrically driven.”
Born and raised in Jordan, Malhas’ family still lives there. “I travel back and forth twice a year … it’s kind of nice. I get to play locally and regionally there and locally and regionally here. I usually go there once in the summer and once in the winter,” she said, adding that she’ll be heading overseas shortly after the Ark gig.
The songs on the new EP were co-produced by Michelle Chamuel (Thick Glasses Music, Ella Riot/My Dear Disco, The Reverb Junkie).
“I have to give credit to Michelle … she co produced the record, arranged it and performs on it,” Malhas said. “She’s an amazing voice and an amazing arranger. All the harmonies (on the record) are hers. They are layered and gorgeous.”
Although she often works solo, Malhas can often be found performing—like she will at The Ark—with the Overthinkers.
““The name for the band came to me because I decided that the best band names for solo artists are the ones that describe an extension of the artist's personality,” she explained. “Even if I don't plan too far ahead most of the time, I do overthink almost all the time. The result is that I set my own, often weird, pace for things—that's how I appreciate life.”
Malhas said the Ark show will feature seven performers, depending on the song, and will include harmonies, keyboard, cello, guitar, drum and bass. “The idea is to really bring to life what’s on the record,” she said.
For those who may be worried Malhas’ business degree is going to waste, rest assured that it’s not: Malhas has made sure there’s room for both in her life.
“I wasn’t entirely certain what I was going to do with that degree, but it kind of makes sense now for me. Having your own music career is like running your own business. I’m pretty sure I like the combination of the two things together, business and music.”
In fact, Malhas has a part-time job managing budgets for a local non-profit organization. “I get to play with Excel sheets for hours … a guilty pleasure,” Malhas, whose master's focus was non-profit management, added. “I know that am not interested in the corporate life that business school usually prepares you for.”
What she is interested in is learning and growing as a musician, which, unfortunately for us, means she’s decided it’s time to relocate. Malhas is moving to Atlanta this summer. “This is almost like a farewell show, although I have a home base here and I will be back for sure, but I won’t be living here,” she said.
“I want to get in touch with the music scene and see how it goes. Also, (Atlanta) doesn’t have as much winter. I think it’s time for me to be somewhere warmer.”
Check out Hena's new video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h1iicLLf77k&feature=youtu.be - Ann Arbor News

"Singer/Songwriter Hana Malhas Live in Studio (June 2012)"

Ann Arbor-based Singer/Songwriter Hana Malhas talks with WDET's Laura Weber about her music and performs live in studio. Malhas is originally from Amman, Jordan and often writes and sings in Arabic. She recently released the self-titled Hana Malhas & The Overthinkers EP.

Click the audio player above to listen and feel free to add your comments below... - WDET The Craig Fahle Show

"Hana Malhas: One to Watch (May 2012)"

Hana Malhas (say HEN-a) was raised in Amman, Jordan, and came to Ann Arbor to attend business school at the U-M. She graduated a few years back, and now she says she'd like to spend the rest of her life making music. Based on the evidence of her career thus far, she has a good shot at it. One to watch, indeed. One rapturous song, "Radiate," from her full-length debut album, Shapeshift, sounds to me like a song with national potential.

The main attraction is not her Arabic background. She does sing in Arabic occasionally, and some of the imagery ("Some day I'll ask you to grow me an olive tree") comes from that part of the world. You might even enjoy an edge in her singing that speaks to having heard Umm Kulthum and other great Arab popular singers - her voice has a great deal of texture and soul. But her music does not use Arabic modes. It's basically folk-pop, piano or guitar based. The Swell Season is a reasonable comparison.

Instead it's Malhas's songs that are getting the attention of audiences at her shows over the past year or two, in the Detroit area and as far beyond as Jordan. The majority of them pertain to relationships, familiar enough ground for a twenty-something songwriter. But Malhas's songs are both deeply felt and full of fresh images. A song about a lingering attraction ends unexpectedly with "Some words are only meant to be sung." Some come from the downside of love, and Malhas has an unusual knack for using elemental nature images with emotional resonances ("I crumble like salt, and you sink like a stone"). She writes long verses that show evidence of a good deal of work done to bend emotion to a metrical scheme. A few of her songs have ambitious, dark lyrics that can be read in multiple ways.

I've seen Malhas twice, and both times I've been impressed by her stage presence and her way of responding to the distinctiveness of the occasion. At Hollerfest last summer she performed in the shadowy log cabin, accompanying herself on piano and joined by only a single cellist. The effect was haunting. Amid the bustle of noel Night in Detroit last winter, she appeared with her delightfully named new band, the Overthinkers, and passed out instant cameras to the audience, asking them to take pictures of her or each other and then return the cameras.

The Overthinkers will be appearing with Malhas at the Ark on May 31st (see Night spots), when she releases her new album. I've heard some rough drafts from it, and she seems to be going in the direction of writing band-based hooks that stick in your head. - Ann Arbor Observer, James M. Manheim

"GO LISTEN's Local Beats with Hana Malhas"

(From Go's September 2011 issue; pick up your copy today!)

Go’s Ramzi Ghurani chats with Hana Malhas, Jordan’s own soulful folk-rock artist.

Follow Ramzi on Twitter @ http://twitter.com/ramzig

Go: When did you start on your music career and what made you get into it?

Hana Malhas: Does being an orchestra geek as a teenager count? Seriously though, music has always been there in my life. But I’ve been a solo singer-songwriter since 2008.

Some of the things I wanted to express to myself (and to whoever wanted to listen) just came out in song. Also, I was fascinated by the impact that live music had on me personally. I (slowly) realized I wanted to experience both sides of that energy exchange.

Go: Which era/decade of music had the most influence on you?

HM: I once had an 80s themed birthday party... (Pictures are safely hidden.)

Go: Which artists had the most influence on you?

HM: Tough question because how do you determine influence? I have a three part answer:

1. If it’s what I turn to most on my iPod these days, thats Sia, Asmahan, Adele, Bon Iver, Feist, Brandi Carlile, Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Ray LaMontagne, Emel Mathlouthi, and Fink.

2. If it’s who’s influenced my approach to music as a lifestyle, then it’s all the artists that I’ve shared stages and collaborated with. Nothing beats learning from each other!

3. If it’s what I listened to growing up, then it’s Cat Stevens, Elton John, Beatles, Michael Jackson, Barbara Streisand, early Jewel, Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, Guns n’ Roses, Bon Jovi, Bee Gees, and Simon & Garfunkel.

Go: What inspires you?

HM: A voice (human or instrument) that expresses undeniably honest emotion through music — they usually carry the most potent life messages.

Go: Name a city that aligns with who you are. And why?

HM: One part old city, two parts desert, two thirds beach, three eighths bustling metropolis (with all the conveniences but without all the noise), and a farm for fresh food. A lot of diversity in people and places. No snow please. Hm... I feel like I'd need more than one city. Let's not try to figure out what this says about me!

Go: What’s your opinion of the music scene in Jordan and the Middle East?

HM: I love being a part of this movement! It’s still in its infancy but Arab artists have so much to offer. We are pretty unique in our blends, whether it’s in music genre, languages used in music, lyrical content, or vocal styling and instrumentation.

There is a strong political undercurrent in the content of Arab indie music, especially now, and musicians are breaking free of conforming to anything. The daring sense of urgency and change is seeping into the music we make, which makes for such honest representation (and a lot of social commentary).

I also really like that there’s diversity — we're not all doing the same thing. I like to call my music “borderless indie,” because that’s what I feel it really is. And even though there isn’t enough community support for local musicians, we are creating spaces for ourselves, inviting people in. I think there’s still a long way to go with exposure and infrastructure, but it’s growing. Hopefully the limitations will shrink.

Go: What events have you particularly enjoyed being a part of in Amman?

HM: Funny thing, I’ve always wanted to play music at a location like the Citadel at Jabal Al Qal’a and it’s happening on 10 September, when I’ll be playing with Mashrou’ Leila!

Go: Where do you want to perform in the future?

HM: I love old theater venues! You know, the ones with ornate walls and ceilings, and where the sound acoustics travel well? Beautiful.

But honestly, in the future whether I’m performing in a living room for three people or a large stage with thousands of spectators, here's what I hope for: a connected wavelength with listeners; someone to help carry my gear (the keyboard is heavy!); and a good time. (Oh and a grand piano once in a while.)

Go: What does the future hold for you?

HM: Sun and chocolate cakes, I hope. Also, I’m finally working a second album! I love the new sounds; I feel like I have more purpose, kind of like going back to school as an adult — you actually truly appreciate what you're getting out of it. I’ve got a few shows lined up for the fall, and we’re finally going to start a music video project, but the focus is recording the new sounds. I get distracted easily... By sun and chocolate cakes.

Go: First Album you bought?

HM: Laura Branigan on cassette tape! I locked myself in my room as a kid and lip synched to, “Te Amo... God how I loved you so.” Also, I choreographed a dance to “Self Control.”

Go: Any shout outs?

HM: Yes. To all the sound techs and engineers at live shows that take pride in their craft: THANK YOU!

Go: Any last words?

HM: Don't get me started, I'll never stop... Oh, wait! Buy a ticket for my show in Amman on - Go Magazine, September 2011

"Exotic Import Hana Malhas"

By Rick Coates
The Mideast meets the Midwest when Jordanian singer-songwriter Hana
Malhas brings her indie folk to the stage of the InsideOut Gallery
this Saturday.
Born and raised in Jordan, Hana (pronounced Hena) made her way to the
U.S. 11 years ago to attend the University of Michigan, earning both
undergraduate and graduate degrees from the prestigious Stephen M.
Ross School of Business. She fell in love with Ann Arbor and found a
financial position with a non-profit.
Crunching numbers is her day job; her nights and weekends are about
crunching chords. Her stop at the InsideOut Gallery in Traverse City
will be her first as a solo artist.
“I was in this band Lazy Sunday, and we played a coffee shop and a
festival up there about five years ago,” said Malhas. “I decided to
pursue a solo effort in 2008 and I recently released an album, and so
now I am touring on weekends in support.”
Malhas’ soulful, folkie voice is angelic at times and also has an
explosive rock edge to it.

She grew up listening and playing classical music on the piano and
guitar and was exposed to Middle Eastern music, but was equally drawn
to American music.
“My father’s CD collection was diverse; he had Cat Stevens, The
Eagles, Queen, Michael Jackson, and I remember my father walking
around the house singing Elton John songs all the time. So I grew up
exposed to a wide array of musical styles, including Arabic pop music.
I heard a lot of American music performed live by cover bands from
Jordan. I was a big Guns ‘n’ Roses fan as well. It wasn’t until I came
to Ann Arbor that I became exposed to music that was not part of the
Malhas is quick to point out that her Jordanian background probably
won’t be evident in her music.
“Most of my songs really fit the American indie folk sound. I have a
song, ‘Trooh,’ on the album that I sing in Arabic, but everything else
is English. Really, how my music is connected to both cultures is
lyrically. I write songs based on my observations of having lived in
the Middle East (she still visits at least once a year) and now living
in the Midwest.”

Her debut solo album “Shapeshift” was recorded in four locations
(including Jordan) with 17 American and Jordanian artists.
“This album is an introspective collection of songs that reinforces my
cross-cultural collaborative experiences,” said Malhas. “Lyrically I
explored several themes from war and solitude to relationships and
redemption, along with budding yet suppressed passion and death and
While Malhas is only working part time at her musical career, she has
both feet into it and plans to make it full time work soon.
“I love creating and analyzing Excel spreadsheets and making music, so
I hope to someday create projects that somehow combine both,” she
said. “The business of making music is changing and the independent
artist such as myself who prefers the alternative indie folk style
does have an opportunity to work full time at their craft. I have to
believe that my ability to crunch numbers will come in handy in this

Hana Malhas will be joined by Lake Folk, a roots-folk quintet from Ann
Arbor on Saturday, November 13 at the Inside Out Gallery in the
Warehouse District of Downtown Traverse City. For tickets or
additional information seek out InsideOut Gallery on Facebook or call
them at 231.929.3254. To hear a sampling of Hana Malhas go to
www.hanamalhas.com or find videos on Youtube.
- Northern Express, Rick Coates

"The Storyteller: Hana Malhas June 01, 2010"

A folk-rock songstress with a 10,000-watt voice and a repertoire of heartfelt ballads, Hana Malhas is a young star looking for success on at least two continents.

Words by Nicholas Seeley.

WHEN HANA MALHAS SINGS, it’s as if the music is taking over her body, channeling through her lungs in a sort of velvet explosion. She has an infectious smile, and a playful way of grooving onstage, performing with either piano or guitar.

At the launch event for her new album, Shapeshift, on May 20, she bantered with charm, notwithstanding the lingering trace of first-time jitters.

She’s still a relatively young performer, who took the stage for the first time only a few years ago, but she understands what a concert is all about. For Malhas, the chemistry of a live show is what makes a musical act survive in an era where huge labels are facing increasing financial woes.

The music business can’t be just about selling CDs anymore; it has to involve a personal connection between artist and listener. By those lights, having a vibrant performance culture is what makes a music scene tick. Malhas is hoping her music will catch on in Amman, of course, but also that she can be part of the push for a bigger, more vibrant live scene here.

To read the full interview with Hana, pick up a copy of the June issue of JO -- on stands now. Or follow the links on the right to see more multimedia from our featured artists.
Hana's album, Shapeshift, is available in Amman at Jo Bedu and Books@Café, and online at iTunes and CDBaby. - JO Magazine


Hana Malhas & The Overthinkers (June, 2012)

Shapeshift (March, 2010)



She delivers soul-stirring songs with great intensity. Martin Bandyke, Ann Arbors 107one

Hana (pronounced HENa) sometimes describes herself as a nomad, but at the end of day is lucky to call two communities home. She hails from Amman, Jordan and has stitched Ann Arbor, MI permanently into her heart seams. Malhas chases summer every year from one region to the other, performing music whenever she gets the chance. On stages in both the US and the Middle East, she is a storyteller with an expressive vocal delivery. JO Magazines Nick Seeley describes her as a songstress with a 10,000-watt voice its as if the music is taking over her body, channeling through her lungs in a sort of velvet explosionshe has an infectious smile, and a playful way of grooving onstage, performing with either piano or guitar.

Hanas latest EP release Hana Malhas & The Overthinkers (2012) features the song How We Love, nominated for the 12th annual Independent Music Award in the Folk/Singer-songwriter Song Category.

The EP is as cohesive as it as complex and offers an invested emotional experience. It was co-produced by Michelle Chamuel (Thick Glasses Music, Ella Riot, The Reverb Junkie), who added all vocal harmonies and instrumental arrangements. Hanas voice is at times haunting, and hard-hitting at others. While her 2010 debut LP, Shapeshift, featured 17 American and Jordanian artists recorded over two time zones, this new record is more focused, elemental, and intimate. In her own words, Hana describes the album as full of subtle drama. To me, its about your subconscious love, your inner superhero, or your darkest quiet place. She talks about the recording process, Things just happened and we made use of our surroundings, but the choices were very thoughtful from crafting the words to selecting an old piano. Nothing was rushed.

One listener/writer, Philip Logos describes the album: The songs are relatable, not because of universal themes or catchy tunes for frequently both music and lyrics take an unexpected (and therefore interesting) turn but rather because of the unabashedly exposed nature of the writing, which can only be the product of Hanas sincere approach to connecting with her audience.

Hana sings mostly in English, and sometimes in Arabic, and she performs solo and/or with her band The Overthinkers (which varies from duo to full band). Her favorite venues last year included: a headlining show at The Ark in Ann Arbor, the Citadel in Amman, and a Sakia stage, on the Nile river in Cairo. Shes performed intimate listening rooms bars, festivals and outdoor stages in these beautiful places: Michigan (Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, Detroit, Dearborn, Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Albion), New York City, Chicago, Boston, Milwaukee, Jordan (Amman), Lebanon (Beirut), and Egypt (Cairo). Shes shared the stage with artists such as Serena Ryder, Chris Pureka, Ella Riot, and the Crane Wives. Hana is looking forward to the growth that comes with expanding stages and cities.

Her voice has a great deal of texture and soul[Malhass] songs are both deeply felt and full of fresh images. A song about a lingering attraction ends unexpectedly with Some words are only meant to be sung. Some come from the downside of love, and Malhas has an unusual knack for using elemental nature images with emotional resonances (I crumble like salt, and you sink like a stone). She writes long verses that show evidence of a good deal of work done to bend emotion to a metrical scheme. A few of her songs have ambitious, dark lyrics that can be read in multiple ways. -James M. Manheim, Ann Arbor Oberserver

Band Members