At just the budding age of 21, Los Angeles-based musician Hana Vu has captured a sentiment well beyond her years with her new single, “Maker.” The brooding pop tune, melodic and slow, paints a chilling picture of an individual in a downward spiral of doubt as they search for answers from a higher power and receive only static instead.
Vu’s new single, one that marks her international debut, perfectly preserves the abstract notions of wavering faith and leaves it on display for the world to understand. Feelings of self doubt and listlessness boil over into painful questions to a supposed “maker” as the song’s subject desperately tries to understand herself and longs for some sense of transcendence.
The accompanying music video, directed by Lucy Sandler, further captures a sense of bleakness in the mundane and follows a young girl as she goes from laying on her bedroom floor to traversing through Los Angeles — taking the subway and walking through different parts of the city all alone. Equipped with a polka dot backpack and her teddy bear, she wanders unnoticed. Then, as she rides a Metro train to the next stop, she walks up to leave as the doors open and reveal a sandy beach instead of the train platform. Ending with an aerial shot of our young protagonist peacefully floating in the ocean, the song and video end with a lingering sense of vulnerability and ambiguity.
Vu’s striking vocals and at times sparse instrumentals, led mostly by the banjo and piano, paired with the simple but emotionally rich music video create a palpable mood that permeates into the heart and mind of the listener. Together they personify the questions of faith not just in oneself but in the bigger picture of things in an elegant, tender statement.
“I am not religious but I imagined a sort of desolate character crying out to an ultimately punitive force for something more,” Vu explains.
Co-produced by Jackson Phillips (Day Wave), “Maker” is a beautifully constructed tune that showcases the strength of Vu as an artist, singer and writer who can masterfully capture the wavering depth and tone of human existence. Vu’s journey as an artist started at just 10 years old when she taught herself how to play the guitar. Before cultivating her own unique style, she played music similar to the vein of music her peers in there DIY music scene were playing but eventually transitioned to playing the type of music she was interested in.
“A lot of my peer musicians were surf rock/punk type bands and so I tried to fit into that when I was gigging around,” Vu notes. “But what I was listening to at that time (St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens) was very different from what I performed.”
Finding a home for her music on Bandcamp, Vu has built an unassuming but strong collection of songs to date and continues to work on forthcoming material.
Words: Patti Sanchez