Singer Carlie Hanson has gone from serving hungry customers at McDonald's in Wisconsin to performing for huge crowds in large venues across the country.
YouTube videos were her inspiration to make music and, after posting a cover of Zayn's "Pillow Talk" on Instagram, producers noticed her. After traveling to Canada with her mother, she made two songs with those producers "Why Did You Lie" and "Only One," which was featured on Apple Music's Playlist curated by Taylor Swift.
The two then went to California to make more music that has now led to her performing at Troye Sivan's shows. Sivan and his boyfriend shot her first artwork.
Her song "Mood" was written by her and Brett McLaughlin ( also known as Leland ), who closely worked with Sivan and Selena Gomez. The song was released on her 18th birthday this year in May.
Windy City Times: You are from Wisconsin?
Carlie Hanson: Yes, about six hours away from here in Chicago. I was born and raised there in Onalaska. I live in LA now. I just moved there in February.
WCT: Did you always want to make music?
CH: My mom said when I was two years old that I sang a Destiny's Child song called "Survivor" in the car. I have always been singing.
When Justin Bieber started being big that is when I knew I wanted to be a singer.
WCT: Did you start on YouTube?
CH: I tried, but I did not do as well as he did obviously. I put out videos and had my friends watch them. It never went anywhere and they were really embarrassing. I thought it was easy when I watched Justin, but it's not that easy!
WCT: How is your family with your career?
CH: My mom and my sisters are very supportive. I started this whole music thing by going to Canada and working with some producers called House of Wolf. My mom was invested in it from that time forward.
WCT: What was it like being in the studio with House of Wolf?
CH: It was everything. They have made my sound and I still work with them. I wanted to be in the studio when I was little. It is a dream to be in there.
WCT: Talk about your song "Only One."
CH: It was one of the first songs I ever recorded. My best bud Dale Anthoni wrote on it and has been a huge help in developing me. Dale and I got matching tattoos for that song. The song blew up and I didn't expect that all.
I am more excited about my new music. It is more urban sounding and not as pop. I am nervous, but excited to see what people say about it.
WCT: Is there a certain genre that you want to try but haven't yet?
CH: I don't want a certain genre. A good example is Post Malone. I can't put him in a genre. He's one of my biggest dream collaborations.
WCT: Was working at McDonald's a hard job?
CH: It was when it was super-busy. Lunch hour gave me anxiety!
WCT: Was there something you would never eat again from McDonald's menu?
CH: I didn't eat it until I started working there because we had 50 percent off the menu, but I was obsessed with McDoubles for a long time. I try not to eat McDonald's anymore.
WCT: How was turning 18?
CH: I didn't want it to happen. I wanted to stay 17 forever. I was going to buy a pack of cigarettes to celebrate, but you have to be 21 in LA. What can I do at this age? Vote? A strip club?
WCT: How do you feel about opening for Troye Sivan?
CH: I am pumped, but nervous. I have a tour that I am going on before that to get prepped with Jeremy Zucker. His fans are diehard and sing every word to his songs.
WCT: I spoke with another opener for Troye named Kim Petras the other day.
CH: We just hung out at an event that Bebe Rexha was hosting.
WCT: There is a whole new generation of LGBT performers in the music business now with Troye and Kim.
CH: I don't know if you saw my Twitter, but I actually came out the other day. I had a girlfriend, but we are no longer together. I had never been with a girl before. I was always dating guys. I met this girl and completely fell in love. They are just people. Gender doesn't mean anything to me at all. It is whatever is inside; as cheesy as that sounds, it's how I feel.
WCT: What do you want to tell people as a new artist?
CH: Always be yourself. If you are feeling nervous about going for it, just do it. Everyone is worried about themselves, so just worry about yourself. Don't hold yourself back!
Hanson opens for Troye Sivan's Bloom Tour on Friday, Oct. 19, at The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., at 7:30 p.m. Visit MSG.com/The-Chicago-Theatre for ticket information.