When did you discover your love for your craft and what made you realize you wanted to pursue a career in it?
Schantell: I started writing poetry at the age of 10 and later transitioned to songwriting.
Hans: I started songwriting at the age of 12. I think it helped me through some tough times – my father passed at 14 and at that time I began to put my feelings to music. Over the years I’ve found great comfort in losing myself in my music.
To what or whom do you accredit your sense of style?
Schantell: My life experiences are what I draw upon. Inspiration happens all around me and I try to be aware of it all.
Hans: Well it’s funny because we aren’t always able to write in the style we want. We are who we are at the core and for me, it tends to be a ballad and pop-type sensibility, contemporary country too. But the music from the 1970s and 1980s are a big influence on me and I think that helps to make my ideas more melodic.
On your current project, how did you come up with the concept?
Schantell: Hans and I pondered for a bit but it didn’t take long for us to realize that recent events made for powerful fodder for this melody and music. I felt inspired by the concepts of remembrance, forgiveness, and hope.
Hans: A lot of the time it’s about little sparks that lead to bigger ideas – I had a lot of the music and melody. It could have gone in a number of directions but we landed on George Floyd and BLM, which sparked Schantell to combine heartfelt lines about both real events and general themes of loss and remembrance.
Some of her lines were so good that they sparked me to add cool structure to the song. And so back and forth we went. Then I wrote the outro on the inspiration of Schantell’s “For all the mother’s who worry….”. And I think that completed a song that hopefully can reach all kinds of people who are struggling in these times of divisiveness and inequality.
I think it turned out just right. We wanted it to be a song about the times but also a positive one, in the end, even one that could apply to anyone who feels left out or lost.
What are some of your greatest challenges, and what is your greatest attribute when it comes to your work ethic?
Schantell: I have a strong drive when it comes to my craft – My greatest challenge is finding co-writers. I spend 20 hours a week on cowrites and writing songs.
Hans: I just love it when I get an idea that I think is awesome. The simplest thing can inspire me – now, it isn’t always as good as I initially think, but that doesn’t matter. Someone once said, “The best way to get a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.”
What are your plans for the near future?
Schantell: Just to continue writing. Next year I plan to have a goal of 250 songs for the year.
Hans: The plan is to keep writing in a number of genres, but with a focus on rock and contemporary country. I think I tend to write emotional pieces so sync also makes sense.
Is there anyone you’d like to thank, any shout outs?
Schantell: A shout out to Songtown–Clay Mills and Marty Dodson, and great co-writers like Hans.
Hans: I’d like to thank Schantell, my wife Natasha, and my kids, and also my Mom. Clay and Marty at Songtown are so inspiring as well – they have created such an amazing community for songwriters.
How can fans find you?
What suggestions do you have for other artist like yourself?
Hans and Schantell:
To other songwriters: Do not give up. Keep writing and refining your craft. Don’t be judgemental, let it flow out of you without critique. Just let it out and you’ll often be surprised. Then keep mulling it over in your mind. Remember you are always songwriting, in the car, while making dinner, while watching tv. Let everything inspire you!