We sat down with NY’s very own Anna Rose and got some inside scoop on her musical inspirations, new album, video and upcoming performances.
Where do you get your inspiration from when writing music and performing?
I’ve always been a real classic rock kid. I grew up listening to classic rock and growing up in the 90s I was able to really attach myself to that early 90s sensibility, kind of alternative rock. Right now I’m listening to a lot of blues, soul music and also some funk and NYC punk influenced rock. I’m pretty much based generally in rock and roll although I listen to some hip-hop and house music. I’m really all over the place, but what I really find inspiration from and can connect to the most is rock music.
And how does Jim Morrison and The Doors fit in?
The Doors are also a big influence of mine and in particular Jim Morrison and his lyrics. I find myself connecting to his lyrics a lot and I really hold The Doors kind of close to my heart. I just can’t seem to get away from The Doors, The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. To me, Jim Morrison and Mick Jagger are the ultimate rock stars. When people ask who my musical influences are they are the ones that immediately come up. My influences tend to be more male oriented, but that’s not to say I don’t love female musicians. I think there have been some amazing female musicians and there are great female musicians out there now. I just ultimately relate to the sensibility that Jim Morrison had within his lyrics.
We also noticed you covered an Arcade Fire song. Are you a big fan?
I love how unique they are and I can always pick out when something has been done by Arcade Fire. The song My Body is a Cage just really struck a cord in me and I began tinkering around with it on my own. Then when I was in the studio starting to record my second record, my producer said why don’t we get a recording of this real quick and we’ll have a couple of the guys throw in some parts. So we did it on the spot which is not my style. Normally, I’m a type A, New Yorker and I need to know the way things are happening. Usually when I come into the studio I have my arrangements ready and my band already knows what their doing. This is the first time that I went into the studio and let it happen organically and what happened felt so beautiful, like a special recorded moment in time. I wanted to put it out there and share with people and thankfully it’s gotten a really good response.
I saw them at the Hollywood Bowl in LA a few years ago and it was one of the best shows that I even seen. The entire band at the end thanked the audience and it made me realize that live music will never fade away. The connection between the audience and the musician is just so powerful.
You mentioned how playing live is so important. What makes a good venue?
When I was living in LA , I had a residency at the Cat Club, a smaller club on Sunset Strip right next to it The Whiskey. I’m always thankful to a venue that will give me the time to play. I’m always really thankful when that happens, but it’s more about the act of performing, getting to get out there and performing as much as you can and connecting to people. I think the more you do that and the more comfortable you get, the more fans you bring in. I enjoy playing small clubs because I find that I can connect to people. Performing is something that is really important to me. The venue is important as well and when the sound is great, that’s awesome too.
Outdoor shows are always really fun. I’ve played on Roosevelt Island and Governor’s Island. I really wish CBGBs was still around. It’s one of those places I’ve always wanted to play. Luckily I got to play at The Whiskey when I was out in LA, and that’s something that I felt like I had to do to say that I did it. I played the Roxy a year after I left LA and I did a show with The Stooges so that was probably the coolest moment ever.
When you are performing what makes a good show for you?
A lot of people ask me if I get thrown off when I’m playing in a bar atmosphere when people are talking, but it doesn’t really throw me off. The thing that really throws me off is when I’m not giving the focus to the show that it needs. If I spend my time before the show not thinking about the music, my performance and connecting to the song and instead think about my clothes or what I want my make up to look like, I‘ll get thrown off. My thing is that I’m easily distracted and I like to take the time before a show to really sit and connect with the songs and think about how I am feeling that day and what those songs mean to me and why I did the set list the way I did. Getting on stage and performing for people is basically cutting yourself open and letting your audience watch you bleed. You have to be very open to do it and at the same time your audience has to be open to experiencing that. If you aren’t fully open, they wont be fully open. Sometimes you just want to have a fun show and feel happy and giddy and that’s why the bar experience doesn’t really bother me because they are people having fun. I think as a performer you have to control your environment as much as you can.
It’s interesting to hear an artist talk about influencing the audience rather than the other way around.
Its important to create a relationship with the audience, no matter if you are playing in the subway or headlining a show. It’s the artists’ job to hold the audience’s attention, but at the same time you are forming a relationship with these people. I just like to interact and tend to do really dumb things on stage. I’ve definitely left my fly down before getting on stage and curse a lot. If I’m not guarded than I will be the most authentic version of myself. It’s like meeting someone for the first time, you want to make a good impression. The audience themselves and they way they are acting is never distracting its just a an aspect of performing and you just have to roll with it.
So what can we expect next from you?
We’re doing a new video for the cover of My Body is a Cage that I’m really excited about. I don’t want to give too much away but it’s going to be a special video and a great collaborative experience. I’m working on my second record right now which will hopefully be out in the next few months. I released the cover ahead of time to give people something to hear. I put stuff up on my website all the time so you can get a taste from some of my demos. I’m going up to Montreal to play the Pop Montreal Festival and of course Boston to play Ames Sessions. I’m really excited to get out on the road and show people what I’ve been working on. The first people to really hear my new stuff will be the audience up in Boston. I’ll be playing a lot of my new stuff. It’s an exciting time in my personal little universe.
Anna will be playing at Ames in Boston on Tuesday, September 20th. Check out her cover of My Body is a Cage.
Visit our new online magazine Back of House