Hannah Jadagu turns small moments into big pop songs

What does it mean to be a pop songwriter in 2023? Part of the job is what it’s always been: delivering catchy melodies, terse lyrics and instrumental hooks; create perfectly defined verses and choruses; capture short attention spans while tapping into widely shared experiences.

“The pop structure is always present in my songs,” said Hannah Jadagu, 20, whose debut album, “Aperture,” will be released on Friday. In a video chat from her New York University dorm, she added, “I like a good hook or chorus. I love a good banger. I like a pop hit.

Jadagu’s dormitory is spartan. An otherwise bare wall is decorated with a poster of the face of a fierce-looking woman, of unknown origin; Jadagu saved him from a discard pile. Another displays a few posters and passes from her recent tours; Jadagu interrupted his university studies in 2022 to tour and write his album. His bedroom is now primarily a musician’s workspace, with his computer, a MIDI keyboard and three guitars close at hand. When she arrived at NYU, where she is now in her third year, she considered becoming a music supervisor and considered studying music as a business, but soon began to focus on her own songs.

Jadagu has a distinct visual presence — a cascade of long, blonde tresses frame her face — and an infectious smile, especially on display when quoting musicians she’s learned from, famous or less. She mentioned Charli XCX, Frank Ocean, SZA, Haim, Billie Eilish, Tame Impala, The Beatles, Ellie Goulding, CeeLo Green, Clairo, beabadoobee, Vampire Weekend, Steve Lacy, Snail Mail, MIA, Grouplove, Winnetka Bowling League, Ritt Momney, the Japanese House, Kevin Abstract and more. Many of them, she freely admits, had an immediate influence on the song she was working on when she heard them.

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