Hana Pestle is shrugging off a gloomy Wednesday morning in Los Angeles.
It doesn’t take long, though, for her to perk up. A conversation about her new music, classes she’s taking at UCLA, and a benefit Pestle will perform for the Girl Scouts Saturday in Billings all remind her how full her life is.
“I have the summer off to write and let my brain grow. It’s fun,” Pestle said.
A West High graduate and frequent performer at open mics and community stages when she lived in Billings, Pestle celebrated her 21st birthday this year and is growing more comfortable in her role as a professional singer/songwriter. Pestle learned about grueling road trips when she was involved in a serious accident outside Butte driving through a blizzard to get to Billings for a concert at the Babcock Theatre last November. The fact that she played that show even though she barely had time to change her clothes exemplifies Pestle’s character.
“If you go into this business thinking it’s not going to be a lot of work, you’re wrong. It’s kind of scary at the beginning. You’re driving, driving, driving 12 hours to get to the venue, then you unload all of your stuff. But when you’re on stage, everything you’ve done to get to that point pays off.”
Pestle will perform Saturday at the Garage Pub with openers the Jaded Ladies. The show is a benefit for an organization that Pestle has never been involved in, but her younger sister Skylar has been a Girl Scout.
“When I was in Billings, I taught guitar lessons to kids. I love kids and working with them. I love what Girl Scouts does for little girls and older girls. I’m excited to be part of a fun night.”
Erika Willis, chief development director at Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming, said the event highlights what Girl Scouts is all about.
“Hana was a good fit for us,” Willis said. “I love girls to see the real thing, women who are up there fulfilling their dreams.”
Pestle’s father, Daniel, was a drama coach and English teacher at West High when Pestle was young and she said she remembered feeling so honored when his students hung out with her.
“I thought they were so cool. I wanted to be like them so bad. They were nice to me and would sit with me. My mind was blown with their talent and that they would spend time with a little kid like me,” Pestle said.
Pestle figures sharing her music with young girls coming up is her duty. She said her determination and stubbornness are what helped get her where she is, on the verge of releasing another album and living out her dreams to earn a living as a musician.
“I was always a hard worker in honors classes. Some of my English teachers in high school changed my life. Ms. Bach and Mr. Evans, those teachers were so hard, but at the same time so much fun. Now I’m working hard, but I love it. All that put together made me who I am.”
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming, which includes 7,000 scouts aided by 2,500 adult volunteers.