Jay-Z and Me Part II
Being sampled by Jay-Z made singer Hannah Williams a bit better known. But it didn't make her rich. So she leaves her teaching job to go on tour. Does the gamble pay off?
In 2017 Jay-Z phoned Hannah… three times… and she missed the calls because she was surrounded by fifty of her music students on a coach back from Leeds.
For a decade, Hannah had been making soul music – juggling being head of music at the University of Winchester, fronting a soul band and being a mum to Leo. Her little known nine piece band, Hannah Williams and the Affirmations, had recently released an album.
It turned out Jay-Z had stumbled on a song from her album, Late Nights and Heartbreak, and had written his public apology to Beyoncé for cheating on her around Hannah’s voice.
After fourteen years at the University of Winchester, Hannah decided to quit her job to pursue music full time. Offers to play around the world started to fly in, and the press suddenly took an interest in what they were doing – yet Hannah quickly realised this was no fairy tale.
The track was one of the few songs from the album which the band hadn’t actually authored. Their friend Kanan had written it.
Two years ago, in the episode Jay-Z and Me, we followed Kanan as the revelation turned his world upside down – the song went platinum selling over a million copies, he was nominated for a Grammy, and the royalties began to roll in.
But for Hannah, as a sampled voice – not a feature, and not a songwriter, this was no cash cow. The story was only just beginning. After putting everything on the line for her music career, can the band make it work? And what does it mean for the most important things in her life - her son Leo and her husband Dave?
Produced by Polly Weston.