On the Ground at Cannes Lions with DJ, Author, and Entrepreneur Hannah Bronfman
If anyone has a soundtrack to their life, it’s Hannah Bronfman. The DJ, author, and founder of HBFIT has music playing around the clock, from prepping meals that go hand-in-hand with her lifestyle book to making one of her monthly playlists. And people are listening—her 5,000+ Spotify followers are a testament to that. The key to engaging that audience, she says, is in understanding the vibe people are looking for while infusing a fresh musical perspective.
We sat down with Hannah in the midst of the 2019 Cannes Lions Festival, where Hannah DJ’ed Spotify and Hulu’s kickoff party and joined our What’s Next panel. She offered us some firsthand insight into the relationship between music and prevailing millennial trends—and the creative process behind her monthly playlists.
You participated in Spotify’s Culture Next Trend Report. This week at Cannes, you talked about some of the learnings of the report on a panel. What did you walk away with after that conversation?
As a content creator and someone who’s very active in my community and very on-the-ground in pop culture, I think these trends are things that I’m definitely aware of. It was just really interesting to hear a different perspective on them, including from the brand side, too. It’s nice that brands are really thinking about these things.
The report found that millennials are listening to international music more than any other demographic. Have you seen that in your listenership? Is it something that you try to incorporate in your sets?
Absolutely. I think now more than ever, we are really seeing that global music is a huge trend. It’s never been easier to learn about new artists and new music. If I like one song [I can easily] discover new music and new artists that I wouldn’t otherwise understand or know or have exposure towards.
Do you have a particular discovery tool that’s your favorite? Release Radar, Discover Weekly?
I love Release Radar, I love Discover Weekly. I also love following some of my friends. And then I constantly use Shazam. I travel a lot… and when I’m out in places that are foreign to me and I hear a song that I like, I’ll Shazam it, and then I’ll put it on Spotify and listen.
So what are some of the favorite new artists or international tracks you’ve discovered that you’ve incorporated into your playlists or your sets?
I love playing Doja Cat and Kehlani and then VanJess. They’re kind of newer artists that I’m really into, and I like the vibe of that music right now. And then I think more on the international side, Aroc! is amazing. I have a list that I just got from my friend who lives in Paris who’s been listening to a lot of music coming out of Nigeria. Which has these really authentic, amazing drumbeats, and it’s such a vibe. I think Afrikaans music is becoming a big trend in music right now as well.
You also had a chance to DJ the Spotify/Hulu party this week at Cannes. How was sharing the stage with Ciara?
It was awesome. It’s actually not the first time that I’ve opened for her. And I hope it’s not the last. She’s such an amazing inspiration. She’s unbelievably sexy and cool and just has such a vibe. Kind of an interesting crowd to play for, because I feel like everyone’s kind of like a music enthusiast, and so I was trying to play a little bit of Rosalia, some Lizzo, and then also get into some more mainstream stuff.
Is your playlist creation process the same as when you develop a DJ set?
No, actually. When I’m DJing, I very much read a crowd and go with my instinct. When I’m creating playlists, I really do try to create something different every single month. I like to use my playlists as a little bit of a place for discovery for people who are listening. Things that they might not necessarily hear on Top 40… so it’s a little bit more of a discovery than my DJ sets are.
In January you released your book Do What Feels Good, which outlines some healthy recipes. You spend your fair share of time in the kitchen preparing these healthy meals—what do you listen to?
Being in the kitchen is a very therapeutic moment of my day. I will sometimes put on reggae, or I’ll put on some jazz. Maybe if there’s a new album, I’ll put it on because that’s a really good, solid 45 minutes where I’m in the kitchen focusing on what I’m preparing.
How about podcasts—do you have a current favorite you’ve been binging?
I love Black Girls Texting. I love their conversations. I actually went on their podcast during my press tour for the book. And I just really fell in love with those girls.
You’ve been a guest on a lot of podcasts. Is there a difference in interviews via podcasting and than say an interview like this one?
1000%. Podcasts are single-handedly the most beneficial thing I did throughout my first tour. It’s incredible how addicted the audiences are to podcasts, and how each podcast is unique in how it’s talking about a topic. It’s also really cool to see the crossover in audiences since people are listening to multiple podcasts.
It’s more of a conversation. It’s not just so geared towards a specific answer or a specific routine. It’s very much conversational, and it’s about the interviewer and interviewee.
Don’t just take it from us – stream Hannah’s June playlist below.