At the age of six, Hannah Uzi (12) and her two sisters, who were living in Moscow at the time, regularly took singing lessons. Unlike her sisters, who did not necessarily enjoy singing, Hannah realized that she never felt more comfortable than with a microphone in her hand.
In the beginning, her performances started out as nothing more than her singing on the tallest kitchen chairs that she could find. Now, twelve years later, Uzi (12) has a much larger audience; she performs in front of hundreds of people and records her own music, in pursuit of a singing career.
She began like anyone else, working tirelessly to improve her vocal skills in the pursuit of becoming better and better at singing everyday. After a few years of vocal training, Uzi made her debut as a competitive singer in small-scale singing competitions in the Mediterranean island of Malta, after being introduced to competition by her music teacher. After participating in smaller competitions, she started getting invited to showcase her talent at singing contests representing Malta in various cities all over Europe, including Copenhagen and Milan.
“It was really cool because I was able to travel for free, and [the people who invited me] were able to pay all the expenses and provide places to stay,” Uzi said. “In Europe, the music is pretty involved, so I was pretty known there.”
Now that she has moved to the United States and attends TPHS, students may know her from her performances in school assemblies and events like TP Idol.
But Uzi’s success in the United States was not easily obtained. When Uzi first moved to the United States four years ago, she had no idea of what to expect in a new, unfamiliar country. Luckily, she was able to find comfort and form new friendships through the TPHS drama program.
“I was very freaked out at first about moving to the U.S., but with time, I was able to get adjusted and was able to find a lot of comfort in music at our Black Box Theater when I started doing shows and musicals,” Uzi said.
After she built up a reputation for her vocals, her friends and family effectively spread the word about her singing talent. She now gets consistent offers to sing at private receptions, and when she is not busy singing at private events in San Diego, Uzi can be found recording her own jazz-influenced songs every other weekend.
“Right now I am recording a few songs of my own,” Uzi said, “It’s really cool to see how different styles and music can come together to create [something].”
Uzi is a devoted jazz vocalist who prides herself on being able to take a song and add her own unique flair to it with improvisational techniques.
When it comes to singing, Uzi favors jazz over most other music genres because it allows her to show off her vocal range, while simultaneously delivering an emotional message to the audience. Her role models range from Michael Jackson to Rihanna, who have influenced her as both a singer and a person in many different ways.
“There are a lot of people that impact me,” Uzi said, “[For] some, it’s the song, the voice or the vocal techniques and the way they project their voice. There’s a lot of artists that I look up to and that I got a lot of useful things from.”
Aside from the fact that she greatly enjoys singing, Uzi has many motivations for singing. Among such motivations are singing for the people around her; it is Uzi’s goal to influence those who listen to her music and to connect to them on a personal and emotional level. Uzi also thinks that singing is a central way in which she can express the many thoughts and feelings.
“I feel like I can really express myself and what I am thinking and what I am feeling through music rather than any other form,” Uzi said. “Since music can express so much emotion and so much feeling, it can really go through someone and hit them so they’re like ‘This is how I feel.’ It’s cool to be able to impact a lot of people with your voice.”
Going forward, Uzi plans to move to a studio in Los Angeles, where she will continue working with a producer that spotted her at a private event and wanted to see her vocal range. She was later signed after she was able to show off the vocal skills she spent years perfecting. There, she hopes to create more tracks to further her career and passion for singing.
While jumping into the music industry can seem intimidating, Uzi has always had the support of her parents.
“My parents really want me to make it in the music industry,” Uzi says. “They love my creative side and it helps them understand my attitude. My voice makes them happy and they know that it’s all that I’ve ever wanted as a kid, as a teenager and now as an adult. They do want me to achieve my biggest dream, and are very supportive of what I do.”
Uzi is excited to see what her future in music holds in store for her, as she has always been determined to pursue a career as a musician since she was very young.
“That’s what gives me the most joy and happiness,” Uzi said. “Singing is honestly everything to me. It’s just become my other life.”
While it is undeniable that Uzi has undergone many pivotal changes not only as a musician, but as a person, she is confident that she harbors the same love for music as the inexperienced, yet determined, six-year-old version of herself, who sang her heart out on kitchen chairs.
by Vlada Demenko