It was another gloomy day in our small river city in Minnesota. As I am driving to the local hotspot, Caribou Coffee, I go over the things I would like to talk about with Anna from her career perspective. Anna has been home for the weekend, she heads back to her second home, the Music City, tomorrow. The rain starts pouring down just as I snag the last empty parking spot in the Caribou lot, perfect. I run in with my trusty notebook in tow only to be greeted by a lovely man in the rain holding the door open for me, gotta love “Minnesota nice.” Kindly thanking him, I browse the overhead menu, already knowing that I will order a Caribou Caramel Cooler, my usual. They callout my name and I head upstairs with hopes that everyones favorite spot, the fireplace, would be open. Oddly enough, it was! I claim the two leather chairs as my own and shoot a text to Anna as to where I am. Five minutes later I am greeted by a smiling Anna with her black coffee, dark roast, in hand. We hug and exchange the common welcome, that is just as long as the goodbye, and agree to get down to business.
“I feel very strongly about being very genuine and authentic with who I am at my core. My personal statement is not easy to put into words right now because I feel like it is more than one thing; it’s my whole life and how I live.” I wanted to learn more about Anna on a deeper perspective. When I asked her what she would say is her personal statement, this was how she responded. I think it’s great, she lives her life on her terms, it’s who she is. “I would love for people to be encouraged to be confident in themselves and their desires by my live and what I am doing.” This was very inspiring. It is one thing to say “be yourself,” but a complete other thing to actually go out and do it. She lives her life in her shoes. When someone is able to confidently be themselves and march to their own beat, there is nothing more encouraging. “Describe yourself in three words” is a question we are commonly asked, yet we still struggle with it. It is a question that forces us to think and squeeze our entire selves and lives into three simple words. I asked Anna the same question, she responded with “passionate, optimistic, and driven.” We discussed this in further detail and came to the conclusion that it is important for artists to possess these three things. When the going gets tough, she comes back to these traits and they inspire her to keep moving forward.
Three words that Anna used to describe her music were passionate, emotional, and authentic. “I can really only enjoy a song if I am passionate about it and it is the thing that I can say holds true about my music.” Writing music that is authentic and real to who she is as a person is incredibly important to her. If she is not able to fully connect with a song, it does not feel true to herself. “I need to sing stories and words that I can connect with, so being authentic in my music is always a main priority.” When an artist is real in their music, it almost makes them that much better. When they connect with their music on a personal level, their audience is then able to do the same thing; connect and enjoy.
“I have always really loved music. I grew up in a home where music was a natural part of our lives.” Both of her parents had a great love for music. Her mom taught various church choirs, while her dad was vocal about his love for many bands.“I think that my dad and my brothers have really influenced me and my genre in many ways.” Her dad and brother were usually found blasting the likes of anyone from Coldplay and Death Cab For Cutie to the classics of The Beatles and Bruce Springsteen. “Those music and lyric styles really influenced my music because I think a lot of music (today) is just a more feminine and modern style of those bands.” She also said that her younger brother has an incredible taste in music and is always introducing her to new styles, ones that she has begun to incorporate into her own music. “Ever since I can remember, I have wanted to be a singer.”
Anna knew that her goal was something that she would have to work for. She spoke with many successful artists and songwriters and felt prepared to give all of her dedication, persistence, and energy to pursue music. With her first public performance being a freshman in high school at the annual talent show, she was in for a journey. Throughout high school, Anna took multiple trips to Nashville to participate in different songwriting workshops, quickly falling in love with the beauty of the city around her. She moved to Nashville without knowing a soul or much about the business side of music, eventually enrolling in Belmont University. Anna recently graduated with a degree in Music Business, she now knows more about what goes on behind the scenes and has made lasting connections along the way. Nashville was where she needed to be to start off, but can also see herself living part-time in Los Angeles if she found management that was based there. Anna hopes to be able to live off of her music and spend her time recording, touring, and working with charities, like World Vision, that are dear to her heart.
“I have pursued music because I have faith that God wants me to do it and because in my best moments I believe that my wildest dreams with it will come true.” “God has really worked on helping me become a person who is confident in the ways he made me.” This is something that everyone aspires to be, confident in who they are. We both take a sip of our “fancy” drinks as my phone beeps, I take a quick glance at it only to roll my eyes. She recognizes the look and and is right when she asks the question- “boy?” Chatting like old friends, this is what makes Anna and her music so relatable. She wears her heart on her sleeve and lets everyone see it.