Artists today seem to be under a great amount of pressure to be new, interesting, and unique. With hundreds of years of music already gone, there seems to be little room for new sounds or themes, and critics and consumers alike seem to be thinking, “has it all been done before?” Cue Anna Straker, a musical jack of all trades.
At only 19 years old, Anna is a vocalist, songwriter, and producer, meaning everything she releases is written, sung and produced by Anna herself. Having reached over a million Facebook views on a technical cover she created of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You,” Anna quickly launched herself into the public eye, and was invited by some reps from Bacardi to play at their Over the Border event in Japan. So, Anna packed her bags and headed to Japan to play some shows and work on other projects, but not until she was done performing at Glastonbury Festival. Now, with some traveling and a record already behind her, Anna is working on creating new music, beginning with song, “Ignite Me” (Never Fade Records).
The soles of my shoes are
Sticky, sweaty, breathy
All of life is here
Listen: “Ignite Me” – Anna Straker
“Ignite Me,” is a spoken word-style song that details a night out, which somehow manages to feel sexy yet at the same time dreary and melancholic, but, don’t most nights out feel that way?
Strobe lights, wide-eyed
I heard about a third room
So I’m following smoke
I’m out with this bloke
And there’s this door
And I ask him what it’s for
And he’s like
“You’re too fragile tonight, you must not see.”
But I need something to ignite me
In five minutes, Anna details her story, and takes her listener on a poetic journey. While the theme of partying has definitely been talked about many times before, it hasn’t been done quite like this, making Anna Straker an artist that stands out in the crowd.
Meet Anna Straker
Atwood Magazine: Hi Anna, how are you?
Anna Straker: I’m good. Just got back from Japan, I’m a bit jet lagged!
How was Japan?
Anna Straker: It was amazing! I’ve never been there before. I thought I was going to love it, but I’ve never fallen in love with a place right on the spot like that. We were jam packed. We were doing some filming, and I played two shows…
What were you filming? Were you working on a music video?
Anna Straker: Yeah, we were working on the music video for my next single, “Ignite Me.”
That's so cool!
Anna Straker: Yeah I hope we got some good footage! We shot everything on an iPhone.
That’s awesome. Speaking of, let’s talk about “Ignite Me.” I love that it’s spoken word!
Anna Straker: Yeah, it was different than anything I’ve done. I started off with a little bit of spoken word, and I really liked it, so I just did that [spoken word] with the whole song.
I love the song! Could you tell me a little more about it and the inspiration behind it?
Anna Straker: Thank you! Yeah, it was an old song called “Sparks,” and it was kind of about the dreariness of a night out. It about the melancholy-ness of it and I was trying to write about that in a beautiful way. It really reminds me of the stuff that I grew up listening to, which is really cool.
Are you working on releasing a full album or are you going to be working on singles and just releasing those?
Anna Straker: I’m not quite sure… I’m working on an album, which will probably come out next year. In the meantime, I’ll keep releasing new music and playing out live.
That’s great! Where are you pulling inspiration from for your upcoming album/singles?
Anna Straker: Well, I’m so into the tech and electronic side of playing music, and I’m into synths and producing and everything… I’ve just really gotten into the nerdy tech side of playing, so that’s been inspiring me a lot. And there’s this bar in London called The Four Quarters, and it has all these old games in there. You buy a beer and get four quarters to play a game, which is where the bar gets its name. I really liked that place and it has really inspired me.
That sounds like such a cool place! Bringing it back to “Ignite Me,” will there be more spoken word on the album?
Anna Straker: I’m always trying it out with other songs. It always could be on the album.
That’s great. I think that choosing to do spoken word was so unique.
Anna Straker: Thank you! That’s what a lot of people are telling me. I like spoken word because it’s like poetry. It has such an impact when you say words instead of sing them.
That’s beautiful. I feel like that’s why a lot of people are drawn to rap and hip hop; it’s like poetry.
Anna Straker: Yeah exactly, but I’m not a rapper and I’m not gonna say that I am, so I like the spoken word.
I was told you sang, recorded and produced everything by yourself!
Anna Straker: Yeah, I did!
Do you want to do it that way for the album, or are you going to work with other people?
Anna Straker: I have the most input with everything, and I always want the most input with everything… not because I’m selfish, but I just like being in control. I would like to collab with other people, though!
Who would you want to collab with?
Anna Straker: I’d love to do a track with Flume. I love Lorde… I think we could put a really good song together. Oh, there’s so many people; Little Dragon would be cool. There’s a few!
What are your plans for the upcoming year?
Anna Straker: I’d love to do more shows outside England. Japan was the first show I did outside England and it was really crazy. I’d love to do more, but I don’t have any plans yet… I’ll definitely do loads of writing and just loads more stuff.
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photo © Alex Knight