Hannah Jadagu’s mom is an OG Drake stan. In fact, one of Jadagu’s earliest memories is her mom dancing in the kitchen of their Texas home. Drake was on (“probably something from So Far Gone” Jadagu says) and her mom was cuttin’ it up while cleaning.
“Do you know who this is?” her mom asked the young Jadagu.
“Lil Wayne?” she responded.
Her music knowledge has evolved since then. Jadagu is a recent signee to the legendary record label Sub Pop, the former home of Nirvana and Soundgarden and the current home to acts Father John Misty and Orville Peck. An A&R guy sent Jadagu a direct message in July 2020, a month after the pop singer turned 18, and now her debut EP is set for release this spring. While she is tight-lipped about much of the record, Jadagu says every track was crafted in her Mesquite bedroom, where her nifty home studio setup has birthed songs such as the moody “Sundown” or the high-energy “Think Too Much.”
Yet while Jadagu is clearly elated about the forthcoming EP, she’s not letting the news go to her head.
“I’ll have moments where I wake up and I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m a rockstar,’” she says, “but other days I’m like, ‘Nah. I still have so much work to do. I’m just lucky to be here.'”
Right now, “here” is New York, where Jadagu is a freshman music business major at New York University, but she grew up in Mesquite. Her days were scored by mixtapes made by her mom, the same mom she watched work tirelessly for her two daughters.
“We knew she was always gonna work hard for us,” Jadagu says, “so we had to work hard for her.”
The singer also says her mom has always supported her interest in music. If you ever hear her talk about her family, you might recognize the Jadagu you hear on her songs. Her voice has an upbeat lilt that sounds like a smile, even if the track is somber, and she emphasizes certain words with a mellifluous crescendo, her very own waxing and waning italics.
“She’s a grade-A accountant,” Jadagu says of her mom. “She works so hard for her family, and it’s all paid off. I owe it all to her.”
Growing up, Jadagu was always the laid-back one, the girl who went with the flow. Now, you can almost hear that in her music. Jadagu’s songs have an inherently chill quality that feel almost effortless — a trait that belies the hours the artist spent fine-tuning each song in her home studio.
Her fellow New Yorkers are always shocked when they hear the girl with braids and a clear sense of style is from Texas; during the traditional first day intros, she got plenty of surprised looks. Nevertheless, Jadagu has discovered more supporters during a year in Manhattan than she did throughout four years of high school in Mesquite.
“I loved growing up in Mesquite, but in Texas, you're like, ‘I just released an indie single,’ and people are like, ‘What is indie music?’ It takes less convincing for people at NYU.”
Exhibit A: When Jadagu wanted to film a music video for “Think Too Much,” all it took was a few texts in a group chat. The result is perhaps the most wholesome two minutes and 49 seconds you’ll see this year. Jadagu and her classmates dance throughout the city while the singer runs through a list of worries curated from convos with friends.
“I thought it’d be good if I asked people what they think too much about,” she says. “So I texted and DM’d a bunch of friends, then compiled their responses and wrote them in the song.”
That compiled list includes subjects such as education, relationships and fears of being a failure. It sounds like a downer of a premise, but Jadagu’s ethereal voice and lo-fi sonics (not to mention that wholesome video) make the song brim with infectious joy. The singer-songwriter is reminding listeners to get out of their heads and out of their own way, a happy message that is a bit of a departure for the young artist. Typically she creates more somber tunes reminiscent of fellow bedroom pop artists such as Clairo. She likes Kevin Abstract and is a big fan of anything produced by Vampire Weekend alum Rostam Batmanglij, but she’s anything but a music snob.
“I’ll have my days where I’ll hate on ‘Yummy’ by Justin Bieber, but other times I’m like, ‘that album Purpose is a banger,’” she says. In other words, she gleans some sort of inspiration from almost everything she listens to. Sure, the results usually sound a little somber, but recently, Jadagu resolved to make a happy song. She was so committed to it that it started to stress her out, which, of course, wasn’t exactly the desired intent. That’s when she enlisted the help of her friends, who were happy to share their worries, fears and anxieties.
“I think of ‘Think Too Much’ as a collaboration, because it wouldn’t be possible without my friends,” she says. “It may be easier to make a song like ‘Sundown,’ which is a little sad, but sometimes you don’t want that.
Sometimes you really, really want to be happy.”
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