The autumn breeze brushed through the city, a typical day in Helsinki. The city was full of colorful leaves and I felt a bit funny walking in my hometown because there are so many new things I haven't gotten used to, for example the big new city library Oodi. Nostalgic thoughts are running through me just before I see a familiar face walking towards me. A bright and warm smile woke me up from my thoughts and new excitement rushed through, it was Hanna Kekäläinen, a good friend from my dancing community!
Hanna's story of finding her true mission is inspiring and I was too curious not to ask for more! She threw herself out into the wilderness of entrepreneurship even though she didn’t know for certain what would come along. With her work she wants to bring the magic of music to people’s lives. On top of her musical career she provides various therapies such as massage therapies, meditational guidance, reiki and Indian head massage.
Her way of expressing herself through piano reminded me of those composers who shook something from the inside. Let's explore deeper into her musical world!
Your story is inspiring; you listened to your heart and did what you've wanted to do for a long time. How did it feel?
- Thank you so much. As my previous long-term work came to an end, I decided to take the chance and follow my heart. It was a big leap of faith but it felt really good. I used to think as a teenager that I couldn’t make a living with just playing piano but now I understood I was just trying to play it safe. Now I’m living my childhood dream, I really am. Music has always been a huge part of my life but to be able to compose - that was a complete surprise to me! Composing has opened up a whole new world for me and deepened my connection with music and also with myself.
What is the worst fear of being an entrepreneur?
- It felt really wild to pursue something so different than what I was used to when working in 9 to 5 job, but I’ve always admired entrepreneurs who work in many different fields and get to use all of their gifts and creativity; master their own schedules and live their passion. I never dared to dream I could live that way but now when I was in the middle of this surprising state of freedom I figured that it would be impolite to the Universe not to try since it gave me this amazing possibility to actually go after my dreams! I just had to trust that life will carry me to the right place. I believe that the right things come to you if you follow your heart!
I hear Debussy vibes in your work. In what kind of storms has Debussy been soothing?
- Debussy is perfect for any mood! It has helped me in times when it has been difficult to process my feelings and thoughts. When I’m playing Debussy, I feel like I’m discharging my energy and purifying my energy. In the most difficult times, I used to play for hours until I started to feel better. Music is magic. It can really heal people.
What inspires you to compose?
- People, cities, movies and visual things inspire me to stop and create but when I start playing, I don’t necessarily think about those inspirations anymore. I start by improvising. I just let go and the music starts to flow. I don’t really remember afterwards what I’ve just played so I record everything. And then based on those recordings I start to work on the song. Sometimes I receive complete songs only by improvisation, other times it can come out as different themes.
It really feels like magic.
How do you combine your piano music with work as a massage therapist? They don't collide?
- Not really, only my hands get sometimes a bit tired since I’m using my hands in both activities. In the future I’ll probably focus more on teaching and composing etc. but also love healing work and making people feel better. I enjoy the fact that I can express different parts of me and work varyingly music and care work simultaneously. It brings the perfect balance!
Are there any new songs on their way?
- Last fall I recorded two new songs, they’re out now on Spotify etc. And now I’m working on two more songs. Feels good! Last year I concentrated on my studies but this year 2020 feels so fresh and free. I’m so excited to see what’s on the way for me.
The first thing that popped into my mind listening to your music is that it would suit perfectly in a movie. Have you ever thought about making film music?
- It would be lovely to compose film music; especially the ambience and visuals in French movies speak to me. Certainly I would compose for anything else that speaks to me too!
The tree of life, describes what is close to her heart. Here’s an extract to finalize this interview:
"One beautiful summer night I was feeling a bit off so I and my ”manager/web designer/graphic designer” husband decided to go to the Lapinlahden lähde to soak in the healing power of the nature. The surroundings were so inspiring that we immediately got into the flow of planning my future business. I threw out a questions to the Universe: What could be the name of my new company and what kind of logo would it have? In only about three seconds we both got the same vision in our minds eye - a big tree, oak or small-leaved lime tree - and I had googled intuitively ”tree of life”. The symbolizm of the term resonated with me so deeply that I knew this was it. My future."
Thank you Hanna for inspiring us with your story!
Next time you check out a new French artsy movie, be sure to check out the credits, you might find a familiar name out there!