text & photography by hunter Armistead
A Frame of Film,
A Line of Words,
Capture the Creative Culture of Our City
mmhmm is Raelyn Nelson (right) and Hannah Fairlight (left). They are wild—wildly talented, envelope-pushing, clever as the dickens. Raelyn, from Nashville, is a single mom with twin boys, Aiden and Brody, 10, and a girl, Vivian, 7. Hannah, from “the Midwest,” is married and has a 2-year-old boy, Rory. They are both solo artists; mmhmm is their joint project.
I first saw them by chance at the Crying Wolf. You can’t ignore them—way too much going on. Oh—and the chaps.
Rather than interviewing them, I had them interview each other:
When did music become what you do?
H: Around 18, when I moved to New York, and all I wanted to do was play in clubs and make it in music.
R: After I stopped nursing my kids … so 26ish?
Whom do you miss the most?
H: My mom.
R: My dad.
What are you reading right now?
H: Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die by Willie Nelson because Raelyn told me to.
R: Just Kids by Patti Smith because Hannah told me to.
H: Music is my best language, and it’s one of the best things I have to share with people.
R: I just love music. It makes me feel good. I just wanna play music all the time!
What would you consider a conservative outfit?
R: Pants, button-down blouse.
H: Nudie Suits?
How did you get the name?
H: There are no noes in mmhmm.
R: And you can’t say mmhmm with your mouth open.
Why is mmhmm important to you?
H: We say what we want. We write about sex and politics … When we’re up there together, we’re free. We aren’t limited in ways we might be with our solo bands. We’re breast friends.
R: Awwwww … you’re my beat buddy.