Born in a Copenhagen suburb in 1957, Hanne Boel graduated from The Royal Danish Academy of Music in 1980 followed by a year at The Berklee School of Music in Boston.
Upon her return to Denmark, she worked for several years as a music instructor. She has taught at Aalborg University, The Rhythmic Music Conservatory, The Danish National School of Theatre and Contemporary Dance and at various music schools and clinics. In 2009 she initiated a five-year professorship at The Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen.
From 1981-1986, Hanne Boel was a member of the popular soul/funk band Blast, with whom she won the European Topstar Award in Belgium in 1984. She flirted temporarily with jazz, fronting a trio consisting of pianist Jørgen Emborg, bassist Mads Vinding and drummer Alex Riel. In 1987 they recorded SHADOW OF LOVE. The album slowly but surely sold gold.
This same period found her singing backing vocals for many Danish acts on stage and on records and working with The Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Fronting The Danish Radio Big Band gave her the opportunity to perform with the likes of trumpeters Harry “Sweets” Edison, Art Farmer and Clark Terry, saxophonist Johnny Griffin and vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater.
Hanne Boel debuted as a soul artist with her own band in 1988, and BLACK WOLF from 1989 earned her a Grammy for Vocalist of the Year as well as national fame. The success of her first album was a sign of what was to come: many of the following 14 releases have topped the Scandinavian charts. In 1990 DARK PASSION received four Grammy awards for Vocalist, Album, Hit (I Wanna Make Love To You) and Producer.
In 1996 Boel began working with vocalist Martin Hall. On the following albums they experimented with new technology, and as their collaboration became more formalized, they called themselves BOEL / HALL on their album from 2000.
Reunited in 2002 with her original producer, Poul Bruun, BEWARE OF THE DOG sold extremely well and earned her a Grammy nomination, and in 2004 a visit to the South Sea island Abaco inspired her next album, ABACO, where exotic instruments found their way into a music that blended soul, country and roots in a sound that was born in Denmark but found its expression in the world beyond its borders.
In 2007 PRIVATE EYE gave her audience a closer look at Hanne Boel. The elegant arrangements on this mature album focus on a great interpreter, but her own original songs attract special attention. In small reflective snapshots, Hanne sings of the tranquility that comes with age, the realization that the grass isn’t necessarily greener on the other side of the fence. About being – at least to some extent – the master of our own destiny. We believe the message in these songs, because they are written by an artist without pretense, merely insisting on her right to be who she is.
PRIVATE EYE is Hanne Boel’s second album for Warner after the success of ABACO. Until then she had released nine regular albums, a live CD and a compilation for EMI-Medley, reaching more than two million units over 15 years. On tour, Boel and her band began toying with some her old hits and playing them as they might have sounded, if they had been written in 2008. The packed venues reflected a massive interest, and A NEW KINDA SOUL featured one of her biggest radio hits ever, “Wedding Day”. Audiences embraced the album, making it one of the year’s biggest successes.
In 2010, after a long string of large productions, Hanne Boel returned to the jazz label STUNT, which had released SHADOW OF LOVE years ago before her career rocketed. On I THINK IT’S GOING TO RAIN – in perhaps the most demanding of all vocal formats, alone with a pianist – she confidently draws on the experiences of a long career. Recorded in the legendary Rainbow Studio, with Carsten Dahl at the grand piano, the album reflects two musicians - two souls - bound by mutual respect. Raw, genuine, stripped of all frills, the album presents so-called pop, soul and jazz interspersed with a couple of great standards and one of Hanne’s originals.
In 2009 and 2010 Boel began working with the Swedish pianist Jacob Karlzon. They quickly found a common approach, which continues to fascinate themselves and their audiences. They share a deep focus and an understanding of the demanding duo format on stage. However, they also developed a desire to add on a little more to a few of the arrangements. The result was THE SHINING OF THINGS. Backed by Karlzon’s jazz trio, Hanne – in her own words – “cut to the bone, artistically, musically and production-wise”. Once again in a mixed selection of tunes chosen with this line-up in mind, the album also features the famous Italian crooner Mario Biondi. Hanne Boel’s artistry and intuition come from years of experience. THE SHINING OF THINGS confirms her stature. Once again she pushes the boundaries of her music. Once again she has refrained from re-inventing bygone successes.
Over the years, Hanne Boel has toured extensively all over Scandinavia, and she enjoys immense popularity in her native Denmark and in Norway. She has also toured most of Europe and in Kenya, China and Syria. A large audience follows this wise singer with the impressive voice. The voyage is far from over. She has never shied away from a challenge, and certainly not from the open sea – with or without a sail!