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Tualatin High alum launches music career

Hannah Beth returns home to get serious as a singer-songwriter


by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Singer-songwriter Hannah Beth Dedlow of Tualatin just released her first album, Just a Dream. Hannah Dedlow recalls that she was in a Corvallis coffee shop the moment she knew for certain she wanted to be a singer-songwriter.

The now 24-year-old Tualatin native was attending Oregon State University on a vocal music scholarship, but had switched to studying child care in the human development and sciences program. She felt turned off by the rigidity of music theory.

“I just really like to sit down with my guitar and write, and not think about the chords too much,” Hannah says. Still, she’d find herself sometimes waking up at 3 a.m., compelled to write down the song lyrics that were running through her head.

“I don’t necessarily sit and listen to something and say, ‘I want to write a song like this,’” Hannah said. “They just kind of come.”

So when friends playing a coffee shop gig invited her to come up for a song, she performed one of her own — a striking ballad called “Save Me.”

“I just remember singing and listening to the audience go quiet, and I thought, ‘This is really, really cool — people are just listening to my songs, and my voice,” Hannah remembers. “People came up to me (after) with tears in their eyes. They’d connected emotionally to the song.”

For more information about Hannah Beth’s upcoming performances, and to sample her new album “Just a Dream,” visit HannahBethmusic.com.

Hannah Beth is performing at a benefit concert, April 25 at the Governor Hotel, 614 S.W. 11th Ave., in Portland. For more information about this benefit, visit serendipitycenter.org.

Hannah eventually decided to pack up her guitar and return home to Tualatin, where she could work part-time and pursue her music career. One summer day, she was sitting in her parents’ backyard playing what would become the title track of her debut album, “Just a Dream.” Her father Tim was amazed at what she’d written, and the two quickly decided to work together to further Hannah’s fledgling career as a professional singer-songwriter.

“For me, it’s a labor of love,” Tim says, explaining that he, too, had originally attended college on a music scholarship. Now, after a career of working in the financial sector of regional companies like Tektronix and NW Natural, he’s excited to devote much of his time to helping his daughter achieve what is a common dream between them.

Hannah calls their collaboration “a natural thing.”

“Whether it’s me or someone else, Hannah needs someone else to work on the business side of things,” Tim agrees.

Now serving on a board of directors for a local nonprofit, Tim describes both the logistics and the creative side of working with his daughter as a “fun, effortless process.”

A musical background

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Tualatin High School graduate and singer-songwriter Hannah Beth Dedlow just released her first album, Just a Dream. Although Hannah had always felt at home onstage, it was playing the lead role of Sarah Brown in the musical “Guys and Dolls” as a Tualatin High School senior that taught her how to feel comfortable being in the spotlight for extended periods of time. She learned to find immediate comfort by playing something of a character — even when she’s performing her own heartfelt material, based on her own experience.

“It’s something that can be true for a lot of artists,” Tim explains. “Hannah would definitely tell you she has her introverted side. And yet when you saw her in ‘Guys and Dolls’ — wow! She just looked so natural, and that’s the same thing that happens when she performs musically.”

He adds, “Her mom will say, ‘Hannah, your eyes are closed when you perform sometimes.’ I tell her, ‘Sometimes you get lost in the moment.’”

Hannah agrees. “When I’m singing one particular song, I’m back in that particular experience. It’s a real expression of what I felt at that time. I can get lost in it.”

Watching her, Tim says, it’s clear that this is what she’s supposed to be doing. “It’s where she’s supposed to be.”

Hannah credits Becky Schmidt, her choir teacher at Twality Middle School, with opening her up to her own potential as a vocalist. TuHS choir director Kim Kroeger inspired her to pursue music, she adds.

Cutting the first record

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Singer-songwriter Hannah Beth Dedlow performs a song from her recently released first album, Just a Dream, at her parents home in Tualatin.With her father’s support, Hannah recently recorded eight songs at Nettleingham Audio, a studio in Vancouver, Wash., that she was introduced to through fellow TuHS alum and longtime friend Gus Berry. With Hannah and Tim doing the lion’s share of song arrangements, they were able to lay tracks down quickly. On one particularly productive day, Tim says they recorded four songs.

Hannah’s influences include successful female vocalists Bonnie Raitt and the Dixie Chicks — the women who taught her how to harmonize. But Hannah says she prefers to pull from a variety of genres to create her own style, and indeed, the tracks on her album range from blues to subtle ballads, with playful tunes like “The Whimsy Song” that showcase her desire to experiment with her sound.

And since then, Hannah — who performs as Hannah Beth — has started working with the Rain creative agency in Portland to explore music video concepts. They decided to start with “Business Woman’s Blues,” in part because the theme of a woman stretched too thin in work and life is relatable to so many — but also because of the song’s potential commercial appeal.

“It could be the song placed in a half-hour TV show,” Tim says.

The video will likely feature Hannah in exaggerated “working woman” dress, rising at 5 a.m., hair curlers and all, then rushing to an office setting dominated by an oversized phone.

“YouTube is such a huge exposure, (and is important) for getting the music out,” Tim says.

This has meant that Hannah has had to scale back somewhat on live performances, but she’s made some exceptions, like preparing for a benefit performance on April 25 that will allow her to collaborate with two notable Portland musicians: Aaron Meyer and Tim Ellis. Meyer, popularly described as a “concert rock violinist,” has brought his classical training and edgy approach to performances with the likes of Aaron Neville, as well as with Portland fixtures Pink Martini and Storm Large. Guitarist Ellis is a well-regarded recording artist who has played with a long list of iconic musicians, including Tommy Tutone, Tom Petty and even The Platters.

Although Hannah has never played with Meyer or Ellis, she is excited to know they already have copies of her music in preparation for their April performance together. They have only one rehearsal and a sound-check before they take the stage together in the Governor Hotel ballroom in front of an expected 300 people. It will be Hannah’s largest audience to date.

Full steam ahead

by: TIMES PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Singer-songwriter Hannah Beth Dedlow is getting help from father and manager, Tim Dedlow of Tualatin.Together, the Dedlows are trying to find a label that will market Hannah’s style authentically.

“The songs mean something to her,” Tim says. “So Hannah’s not in it just to sing any song, or to just kind of make it in the business. It’s really about singing songs that communicate.”

“I want to be proud of every single song,” Hannah says. “It really is me bearing my soul and my thoughts and my feelings.”

For more information about Hannah Beth’s upcoming performances, and to sample her new album “Just a Dream,” visit HannahBethmusic.com.

Hannah Beth’s benefit concert performance is on April 25 at the Governor Hotel, 614 S.W. 11th Ave., in Portland. For more information about this benefit, visit serendipitycenter.org.




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