Seabreeze High School junior Faith Hannon has been writing songs since the second grade.
Seabreeze High School junior Faith Hannon dreamed of performing at Jimmy Hula's in Ormond Beach since she was in elementary school.
Hannon has always wanted to be able to share her music in the very town she has grown up in. Now, at 17 years old, it's one of her regular gig spots. To others who know her personally, and know of her other accomplishments, it may not seem like a big deal.
But to Hannon, it's huge.
“It feels like I’ve accomplished something that fifth-grade me wanted," Hannon said. "I always just want to make my past self happy, because then I feel like I really can move forward and make new goals for myself.”
Hannon has been writing songs since the second grade, though she started to get more involved with music in the fifth grade, when she joined choir. By eight grade, she had already started performing publicly, and over the years, she's played at other local restaurants and venues including the Grind Gastropub, Hard Rock Hotel in Daytona and the Flagler Beachfront Winery. Hannon is also part of her high school's jazz band.
She auditioned and made it into Florida's All-State Concert Choir and Florida Music Education Association's conference in Tampa for the past four years. She represented Hinson Middle School from seventh to eight grade, and then SHS from ninth to tenth grade.
For her junior year, Hannon decided to take a leap of faith and audition for the All-National Honors Ensemble. When she made the 235 person choir, Hannon said she didn't know what to expect.
It ended up being completely different from her experience in past All-State choirs. There was no sense of competition, she said — just different talented voices coming together.
“It was like angels, you know?” she recalled, laughing.
Hannon entered the ensemble program, which took place Nov. 25-28 in Orlando, as an alto singer and ended up singing a soprano solo piece. She earned it via an audition.
“It’s like everyone can hear that inner voice. That many people — I’ve just never sang in front of before. It just felt like I was singing in front of a really excited audience.”
Her most memorable performance so far, however, has been singing the national anthem during a Tampa Bay Rays game this past summer. There, standing inside the domed Tropicana Field stadium, Hannon was surprised at how her voice resonated. It was like singing in a big shower, she said.
“It’s like everyone can hear that inner voice," Hannon said. "That many people — I’ve just never sang in front of before. It just felt like I was singing in front of a really excited audience.”
Hannon hasn't gotten to where she is today without working hard. Before every gig, she practices her performance for one to two hours. She's also working on releasing an EP this year; Hannon records under Static Live Music in Edgewater.
While she started out as a pop singer, and then dabbled in rock music, Hannon found that the style she connects with is rhythm and blues. It took time to figure that out, and Hannon said people may not know how hard it is for a musician to discover their sound.
“You may not find that right away," Hannon said. "It kind of can be heartbreaking when you thought you had something and then you don’t have it, but it really pays off whenever you do find that sound.”
She's proud that she has, and thanks her friends, family, her middle school music teacher Linda Bishop and her SHS choir teacher Julia Hood for their support. Her friends regularly come see her when she plays local gigs.
Hannon plans on attending Daytona State College's music theory class in the fall under the dual enrollment program. In the near future, she plans to major in commercial music at Florida Atlantic University or the University of Miami with the hopes of someday opening up her own recording studio.
And wherever she goes, she's sure performing and music will always play a big part of her life.
“It’s not like any other feeling," Hannon said. "Whenever you sit down and you’re proud of what you’ve done and proud of what you’ve performed — it’s just like euphoric.”