Today, New York City based bassist, composer and educator Hannah Marks announces her empowering debut album, Outsider, Outlier due out October 20 via Out Of Your Head Records and is available to pre-order now. Alongside the announcement, Marks shares the first taste of the forthcoming project with the cathartic title track and self-directed video out everywhere now. The title track sees Marks playfully find power and beauty in her own company.
Outsider, Outlier, Hannah Marks’ unapologetic forthcoming debut album, masterfully blends jazz and rock over ten dynamic tracks that thoughtfully explore the human condition. A well known rising bassist and jazz musician in New York City, the project allows Marks to present a new side of her versatile, dynamic artistry. Outsider, Outlier documents Marks’ search for belonging, love, and empowerment through examining key relationships in her life. Musically, radical tempo and stylistic changes represent the tumultuous nature of unhealthy relationships and ensuing bouts of anxiety. Marks uses elements of campy musical cliches and musical theater-like melodies to poke fun at her emotions, treat them with playful energy, and create a safe yet cathartic space to process her feelings. Using both the electric and double bass, the album documents her struggle to trust in herself and others — ultimately ending on a hopeful note with the lyric, “What scares you first will help you grow.”
All music and lyrics were written by Hannah Marks and alongside her, collaborators on the album include Sarah Rossy (lead vocals), Lee Meadvin (guitar), Lex Korten (piano), Nathan Reising (alto saxophone), and Connor Parks (drums). The recording is a testament to her resilience during a tumultuous time, during which she took a deep creative dive into her artistic mission and purpose. The album was recorded at Bunker Studios in Brooklyn, NY with Caroline Davis as the in-studio producer and Meadvin heading up all post-production. It was engineered by Todd Carder and mixed and mastered by Meadvin.
The forthcoming album allows Marks to reflect on the difficult moments and relationships in her life and proudly celebrate how far she’s come, and how they’ve made her who she is today. “Composed in my early twenties, ‘Outsider, Outlier’ is a manifesto on how to empower yourself by breaking free from harmful relationships,” Marks shares. “The girl that experienced these events was innocent, lonely, and heartbroken, only to emerge a secure, loved, and whole woman.” Blending her deep-rooted jazz education and her love of rock music and her influences, the project carries a sound all its own alongside acclaimed musicians. Marks continues, “Throughout the process of writing this album, I embraced the grunge and experimental rock music I grew up loving but had always set aside in favor of my “serious” jazz pursuits. I chose not to abandon my jazz background, instead gathering a group of accomplished improvisors to bring a free, daring spirit to the music. “
The title track, out today, emerged while Marks was taking a classical composition class at Indiana University. It was in that class that Marks first heard composer Kate Soper’s Voices From the Killing Jar, from which she ultimately drew inspiration, pointing specifically to movement V. Diving into the song’s subject matter, Marks shares, “The lyrics are haughty and disdainful, channeling my frustration with a friend group that was icing me out at the time. My status as an outsider and outlier work in conjunction, giving me fuel to distinguish myself from my peers that I no longer fit in with.” Here, in her sincere search for belonging, she finds power in the very things that make her different from those around her.
Channeling Alice in Wonderland, another source of inspiration, in the track’s self-directed accompanying video, Marks roams through Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. Playful and dreamy, Marks shares about the visual, “I wanted the video to feel as quirky and unhinged as the song does.” From frolicking in the woods, to having a tea party and playing a game of croquet, Hannah Marks finds peace and joy in her own company.
Hannah Marks was born and raised in Des Moines, IA where she first played guitar until she discovered the cello in fourth grade. By the end of high school, she found the double bass and never put it down. At Indiana University, she immersed herself in the Jacobs School of Music and by 2019, she had moved to New York City and attended the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in Washington D.C. where she met trumpeter Marcus Printup, vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, and pianist Jason Moran. Early in 2020, Marks performed in Printup’s WBGO concert series, and with the other two members of the group–keyboardist Miles Lennox and drummer TJ Reddick–DownBeat’s Phillip Lutz who covered the concert, wrote that the young musicians, “demonstrated great maturity as they dispatched a set of guileless originals filled with simple but artful melodies and subtle but swinging propulsion.”
Marks has played a slew of festivals such as Detroit Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, 80-35 Music Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival and Indy Jazz Festival and also leads a jazz group, Hannah Marks Quartet. In addition to her own music, Marks is passionate about education and has led masterclasses on music and entrepreneurship at colleges across the country, including Brown University, Indiana University, and University of Denver. Now, Marks is gearing up to bring listeners into her layered, expansive sonic universe with a deeply personal debut album that is a culmination of her talent, lived experiences, and wide breadth of musical knowledge.
Hannah Marks Bio
Hannah Marks is a bassist, composer, and educator living in New York City. Marks’ debut album, Outsider, Outlier, is an explosive rendering of her search for belonging and empowerment. A nod to her love for punk, noise and free improvisation, Outsider, Outlier releases on Out Of Your Head Records on October 20, 2023.
She has performed at festivals like the Detroit Jazz Festival, Hyde Park Jazz Festival, 80-35 Music Festival, Iowa City Jazz Festival and Indy Jazz Festival. In addition to her experimental rock project Outsider, Outlier, Marks also leads a jazz group, Hannah Marks Quartet.
As a side-woman, Marks has been described as having “a fresh, modern, and original approach to playing the bass” by Marcus Printup. Marks has played bass for Geoffrey Keezer, Nasheet Waits, Terri Lyne Carrington, Anna Webber, Miles Okazaki, Ingrid Jensen, Kalia Vandever, Matt Wilson, Ted Nash, Morgan Guerin and Marcus Printup. Marks’ discography includes playing on Geoffrey Keezer’s Grammy award winning composition “Refuge”, Kristen Lee Sergeant’s Falling with saxophonist Ted Nash, and Heartland Trio’s debut album Year One.
Marks is also passionate about sharing her love of music with a range of communities. She has led masterclasses on music and entrepreneurship at colleges across the country, including Brown University, Indiana University, and University of Denver.
Since moving to New York, Marks has been an artist-in-residence at Old Greenwich Presbyterian Church in New Jersey and a curator for Green Lung Studio in Brooklyn. She is teaching on faculty at The Spence School.
Marks is a MacDowell Fellow (2023), an alum of the Stanford Jazz Workshop Mentor Fellow program (2022-23), the Woodshed Network (2021), Betty Carter Jazz Ahead (2019) and the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music (2018).
An alum of Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, Marks studied with Walter Smith III, Kurt Muroki and Jeremy Allen. She was a member of IU’s top jazz group, the Plummer Jazz Quintet, led by Walter Smith III. She hails from Des Moines, IA.