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Music is Hannah’s therapist

Singer-songwriter turned mentor, Hannah Smedley, is helping others through the NDIS-registered program Lift Up Voices.

A current COVID-19 lockdown in Adelaide means Hannah Smedley, is taking a break from shooting the underwater music video that will accompany her newly released single, Plastic Jewellery.

Hannah says the filming has been tricky as she’s lip syncing underwater, while trying hard not to show how cold she is.

In December 2019, before coronavirus disrupted the world, Hannah was chosen to perform at the Civic Park Carols in South Australia, Modbury, in front of an audience of 45,000 people, along with Guy Sebastian and other guest artists.

The 19-year-old was also nominated for an Adelaide Youth Award that celebrates the achievement of young people who inspire and contribute to their community.

Hannah who lives with autism (also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder – ASD) says music is her “safe haven”.

“It’s the first thing I turn to because it helps me mentally. Sometimes in life things are difficult and I use that to write songs and express how I feel.

“Music is my therapist and my go-to. I enjoy bringing that to other people as well.”

Musical healing

Through the NDIS, Hannah has been able to attend and work for the NDIS-registered group, Lift Up Voices, which offers music and creative arts through programs designed to help develop skills, social connection and confidence.

Hannah’s mentor at Lift Up Voices helped her record Plastic Jewellery, and she is now working herself as a vocal coach with other young people a few days a week.

“I’m so honoured just to have the opportunity to mentor. It’s an absolute blessing.

“It’s spreading the love and helping each other and educating the youth to be kind to each other, no matter what.”

Hannah’s mentor also helps her navigate the technology necessary for her live performances, as well as set up for her gigs and use social media.

One of Hannah’s NDIS goals is to take part in a group or community network and, through her NDIS plan, she is also able to access sessions with a psychologist which would complement her musical journey.

Being a part of Lift Up Voices, Hannah says, has contributed to a healthy mindset.

She says that to maintain her positive mental health, it’s important not to feel isolated, and “it feels good” to sing about her emotions and experiences.

Good vibrations

Next, Hannah is keen to release an album which would be a “story line” of her life.

“I’ve noticed that when I sing songs that relate to me, I’m not the only one who feels that way.

“Whether you’re on the spectrum or not, I can see that other people go through the same things.”

Hannah says it’s important to “stop and think about what we’re doing in our lives” and check-in with each other.

“I like to write songs to tell people that being kind to each other is the most important thing.

“I don’t want to be known as the girl with autism who can sing. It’s more, ‘I’m Hannah and I’m here to mentor and inspire … whether you’re on the spectrum or not.’”

Young blonde woman sitting on stool, playing the guitar, and singingPlastic Jewellery on YouTube now.

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