Premiere: “Shadowboxes and Porcelain Faces” by Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stones

A glimpse at the darkness afoot in our digital lives

At 22 years old, Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin Stone‘s front-woman has already performed more than 2,500 times. It’s a staggering number for a musician of any age, but Wicklund not only got an early start (at age eight), but also continues to sign on for extended stints on the road—including a 30-stop tour right now. Wisdom gained from these travels infuses her exquisite vocal range with heart. Such extended stage-time hones her songwriting and structure. And life as a lyricist in the age of social media impacts her output, too.

The track “Shadowboxes and Porcelain Faces,” whose video premieres here, offers a glimpse at the darkness afoot in our digital lives and the emotional toll it takes. Through both the track and video Wicklund conveys it with breathtaking authenticity and a clarity of vision. Jason Lee Denton directed the video, with footage of Wicklund’s time in Cuba woven through a live performance in a room lit by multiple smartphones.

“The lyrics can be interpreted in many ways, but for me it was meant to show how consumed by technology you can feel sometimes,” Wicklund shares with us. “Growing up in this day and age, there has been a screen in front of me constantly—especially during my last three years touring in the United States.” This motivated her use of the footage from Cuba—a week when she was completely detached from her phone. “It was very refreshing to detox and I came back feeling a lot more refreshed and a big reason was because of the lack of a screen constantly in my face,” she adds.

It’s impossible not to return to the time Wicklund’s spent on the road—and the importance of live performance for all musicians. “Touring is the most important element in my opinion—both financially and emotionally,” Wicklund says. “Playing live as a musician gives me a chance to celebrate my passion of live sound and a chance to personally connect with my fans. The one-on-one time with the fans after the show and to ability to hear their stories and how the music affects them drives me. These interpersonal connections can’t be recreated online and just feels so special in person.”

Video and images courtesy of Hannah Wicklund and the Steppin Stones