• Maia Joy

Ehahn on Showcasing the Complex Multiplicity of Emotions in Unhealthy Relationships

Chicago-born artist Ehahn is raising the bar in the indie-alternative music scene, bringing “bedroom pop” to an entirely new dimension. The Philadelphia-based singer, songwriter, and producer may only be nineteen, but after nearly a decade of musical experience, she accomplishes a sound unparalleled by any other creators in the alt-pop dimension. Her new single, “Forget My Name” feat. Real Remy, releases on April 9 and showcases the complex multiplicity of emotions in unhealthy relationships. Featuring a soft acoustic lyric and verse, as well as a gut-wrenching instrumental chorus, the track travels through strength, vulnerability, and everything in between. With her masterful musical acumen to her rich vocal, one thing is certain-- no one will be forgetting Ehahn’s name anytime soon.

How did you get started making music?

I got started [making music] the summer after sixth grade. My friend and I went to a Taylor Swift concert, and it was the Red tour-- it was so sick. Before that, when I was little, I wanted to be, like, a “rock star,” but it kinda faded away; I remember she played “Fearless,” acoustic, on the B-stage in the back. Seeing everyone sing every single word while she just played the guitar, to a song she wrote in her bedroom, made me fall in love with music. I was like, “that’s what I want to do.” The fact that you can connect that many people with just your own experience [was incredible]. After that, I begged my parents for guitar lessons; I started writing and singing and playing immediately after, and I never stopped.

Is Taylor Swift still a big influence?

Oh yeah, she definitely is. I used to say she was a “guilty pleasure,” but now I feel like everyone understands. She’s incredible, so she’s definitely still an influence; I feel like anyone [who’s making pop music], if they say she’s not an influence then they’re lying. She’s just insane.

I would also say Frank Ocean was an influence. I discovered him in high school and started listening to a lot of his stuff. I think he’s an incredible storyteller-- the way that he makes you feel both the music and the lyrics, it just makes you want to cry all the time, which is great.

I listen to a lot of different music-- when I make playlists, I try to not have songs by the same artist on it. I feel like I listen to a lot of pop music, but I also just listen to everything. (Except country. I don’t really listen to country.)

That makes a lot of sense-- there’s a lot of both [Taylor Swift and Frank Ocean’s] influences in your sound. How did you find that balance of vulnerability in your new single?

It’s about relationships where you’re getting used and you know it, but you also think “I still kinda like them, this sucks.” I kinda wanted to show the duality of [being vulnerable] and it sucks a lot, but at the same time, you’re mad. So I wanted to parallel that in the verse and the chorus, where the choruses are angry and the verses are really soft and have the piano behind them.

The single has more of an acoustic vocal/lyric coupled with a more intense instrumental and deep-seated beat. Was that a natural integration or did you pair those deliberately?

The first idea I had for the song was that piano part; I really liked it, but [I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it]. I sat on the line “forget my name” for a while-- I had it in a note in my phone-- but I didn’t want it to only be a vulnerable song, or only a sad song. I wanted it to be something you could scream along to at some parts; when I was working on it in Logic, I said, “let’s let the chorus be huge,” and I added a bunch of [synthesizers] and had them do weird stuff. I just wanted it to be a wall of sound at the chorus, a moment where you could just say “this sucks! You suck!”, so that part sort of came naturally.

You mentioned that the “Forget My Name” lyric came first-- did the rest of the track come about that way as well, or did it come from an experience?

It was kind of a mix. I had that line and thought, “I like that, that fits the song,” and built [the song] around it. When I write a song, it usually starts as something I might have been through, but I feel like I can get inspired by stories, even movies and TV shows. I try to pull from everything I can because I just want to capture this feeling that I felt, and sometimes I feel like real situations that I’ve ogne through are too complex so it’s easier to dumb them down than say “this is the story, this is my feeling.” You’re not always trying to tell a story-- you’re trying to express a feeling by telling a story. I’ve definitely felt that way, and I’ve had similar experiences, but I didn’t, like, meet someone in a room and smoke a cigarette with them. That didn’t happen, but it’s the same vibe-- I wanted to capture the essence of the two people in that story.

You also collaborated with Real Remy on this track-- how did that experience corroborate in working on such a vulnerable project? It’s so seamless, and feels like you conceptualized it together-- did it feel natural?

We went to high school together, so we knew each other. He’s a great guy, so I wasn’t really that nervous about [the project]. We had always talked about collaborating at some point. When I first approached him with this song, I had a different bridge written, and I liked it but it was too soft and too vulnerable; I wanted there to be something edgier about it, which is when I reached out to him. Literally fifteen minutes after I sent him a rough recording of the track, he sent me that recording, and it was exactly what I wanted-- I couldn’t have asked for anything better. Honestly, I was really lucky that he’s super talented and knew exactly what I wanted and delivered fully. It was definitely a little nerve-wracking, thinking “I really hope I like his part, because I really don’t want to put something in [the track] that I don’t like,” but he killed it.

How has COVID impacted your music making process?

Weirdly, it kind of helped in some ways. Last year I was working on a completely different set of songs, and I listened to them over quarantine and I thought, “wow, I don’t really like these-- I don’t want this to be my first release.” I had a lot of free time to work on stuff-- I figured out how to best utilize my bedroom studio and how to make it work for me, and how to make songs sound how I wanted them to. It did help with music. Everything else sucks, but it was kind of nice to have a forced break to be able to look at all the stuff in front of me-- a really weird silver lining.

What words do you live by?

Honestly? “Fake it ‘til you make it.” I honestly believe that’s the best philosophy to have in life. I think most people are doing that and they don’t admit it. It’s great because confidence is everything-- if you’re confident about it, people believe you, and then you do learn and it’s real. Even if you don’t know something yet, if you’re confident then you will learn, and people will trust you. That’s how I live my life, at least.

What advice do you have for newer artists just getting started?

Work with what you have to give. People get caught up in not having the newest software, specific instruments or things, but you can make it all work. Limitations in creativity are sometimes helpful, because sometimes when your options are too broad it’s hard to figure out what to do. Use what you have to practice and get better-- that’s like the Steve Lacy demo that he recorded on GarageBand on an old iPhone, and it’s an incredible track. Just use what you have, and you can grow and succeed.

What can your audience expect to see from you next?

I’m working on a larger release with five or six new songs, so I’m hoping to have that out before next fall.

Ehahn’s latest single, “Forget My name” (feat. Real Remy), is available on all streaming platforms as of April 9, 2021. Find her on social media at @ehahn18.

Introducing Ogma Magazine's first Studio Session: Indie-alt artist, Ehahn.