Today it is all about incredible singer-songwriter Anna Dellaria! Following the release of her latest single, Cut You Loose, released last month; we sat down to chat to her about her brand new single, plans for the rest of 2020, and all things music. And today happens to be a special day for Anna with the release of some stunning visuals for Cut You Loose to go along with the incredible track. Filmed in quarantine; Anna has delivered some retro inspired, Los Angeles based, sun-kissed isolation visuals, which are absolutely stunning, and the perfect accompaniment to the track. So grab a cup of tea, settle in, and keep on reading for the full interview with the lovely Anna Dellaria!
Anna: Hey, can you guys hear me… awesome! I’m up in the middle of nowhere in California and the Wi-Fi is a little bit of a struggle!
TSU: Haha! I feel that Wi-Fi struggle; the Wi-Fi over here is shocking!
Anna: Well thank you so much for taking the time to chat.
Chatting from opposite sides of the world, our conversation begins with the ever familiar talk of Covid and lockdown; and we begin to talk about what we’ve been up to, and how we’ve been using the time, while in quarantine.
TSU: How have you been doing?
Anna: I’ve been good. I’ve definitely been trying to use this time to stay productive, and write a lot of new music, forcing myself to finally learn some engineering and production skills. So yeah I’ve been good, how are you?
TSU: Yeah I’m good! Kind of the same; just trying to keep productive, learn new skills, and not get to bogged down by Covid and isolation!
Anna: Yeah! Gosh isn’t it wild the whole world is literally on pause to some degree, it’s kind of insane.
On the topic of quarantine, we began talking about the ways of staying creative during lockdown; and we delved into discussing Anna’s creative process, writing style, and the more technical side behind the music.
TSU: I know! Have you found that it’s affected your creativity, and how you’ve been making and writing music?
Anna: Um, I would say its positively affected it. I say that hesitantly cause there’s definitely been the ups and downs, like not being able to perform live, which has been really hard because it’s something that brings me so much joy, and also I think provides a different experience when connecting to the music. But outside of that, its definitely been really awesome to get back to the roots of just writing by myself and sitting down at a piano and going from there, vs. driving around town to meet with a bunch of producers and writers to see what happens. So its been pretty nice; and I’m definitely feeling like its provided a nice creative space on my own, which is different, and something I probably wouldn’t have realized if we weren’t all locked down!
“Its definitely been really awesome to get back to the roots of just writing by myself and sitting down at a piano and going from there”Anna on making music
TSU: I get what you mean! Lockdown definitely forces you to become more introspective, so I can imagine from a creative point of view, that’s really allowed you to tap in to things you might not have before.
Anna: Absolutely, yeah! That’s definitely been the experience; it’s really cool. Its definitely a new and somewhat familiar experience which is really interesting to come back to.
TSU: So have you been finding other ways to be creative, and to keep that creativity going, during lockdown as well as writing and learning more technical skills?
Anna: Yeah! Honestly, I think it’s going to sound super cliché, but reading! I’ve had more of a chance, again with the increase of time, to read more poetry and just free write. Which to me always provides a space to think about, even just my environment differently; and at the same time I think going back home, which is where I’m currently at, that has also provided a lot of creativity in terms of being around trees and fresh air which in Los Angeles can be surprisingly hard to find.
TSU: Especially with nature and poetry being so interconnected, I bet that really influences your writing and your style of writing?
Anna: Yeah, absolutely! It’s been really cool to experiment with that!
TSU: So what’s your usual creative process? Do you have a set formula of how you go about writing or producing a track or album or EP; or is it more “go with the flow” for each project?
Anna: So generally, it kind of switches a little bit. Something else I’ve kind of been trying to experiment with in quarantine is starting songs differently. Most of the time, I have this urge that something needs to come out or be said or be sung, or it’s a melody that comes to mind. Normally I would just run over to the piano and play the chords I know I want. What I’ve been doing instead a lot is actually going and starting on ProTools, so I’ll just look for loops that inspire me or feel like the mood I’m in. And from there, what I’ve been doing is just writing either lyrics first, or I’ll have words I wrote while I was out. Or a lot of the time I mostly start with a melody, and that kind of informs what I want to write about.
We then went on to chat about Anna’s latest single Cut You Loose. The track has an incredibly infectious up-beat pop/R&B vibe, laced with sass, attitude and a rhythmic drum beat that runs throughout. An ideal summer track, the song is light, carefree and empowering; with it essentially calling out an ex who never thought you would actually leave, and is now left waiting for you to come back. This then got us chatting about the newly released music video for the track, which dropped today; alongside some of her earlier releases this year, and what’s next for her, musically.
TSU: That’s amazing! And you’ve recently released your latest single, Cut You Loose, which is incredible. It’s kind of a different vibe from your earlier release this year, Sorry Doesn’t Work!
Anna: Thank you! Yes, very, very much, haha!
TSU: So, do you have a distinct direction you want to go in this year, or are you just taking it bit by bit and track by track?
Anna: So I think, initially because the process a little bit like “one by one” and lets see what feels most like me, which I think is a result of being influenced by so many different incredible artists and genres, which seems really cool at first by gets really confusing when you yourself are trying to narrow it down into a sound. And so, I think moving forward, what I’ve found in focusing on creating just by myself is that the sound is probably closer to Cut You Loose. It will definitely always have some pop elements in it with the melodies, but a little bit more R&B influenced. And what’s coming up next is a basically debut EP in the fall; and there are about two other singles that are definitely closer in sound to something like Cut You Loose, that’s got a little bit more vibe, little more attitude, and then of course got have a good little ballad somewhere in there!
TSU: I’m really looking forward to your upcoming EP! And as you go towards figuring out your sound, and putting together collative projects; do you find it’s sort of “everything goes” as you’re trying to figure out who you are as an artist, and developing as an artist? Or are there sounds or themes that you just tend to stay away from?
Anna: Oooh. I definitely think everything goes. Except anything that obviously feels forced. As long as it feels natural and authentic; and even if it’s uncomfortable, I think I’m always able to tell when it’s “oh I want to do this but it’s just different” verses like “oh I did this and it sounds really forced and disingenuous”. The primary thing I stick to when figuring out what works and what doesn’t is who you collaborate with, that has a huge effect. When I first got to LA, I kind of tried the “speed dating of sessions” and like getting together with producers and writers. It was really cool and helped me learn a lot, but I think you end up confusing yourself. The biggest help was really connecting to two or three producers, and keeping the writing really close. But I’d say the biggest rule of thumb for me is what feels authentic.
TSU: Amazing! And along those lines, you haven’t really had any features on your tracks so far, so is that something we can expect on your next couple of projects going forward?
Anna: Yeah! So I have one song that has been done for quite some time and it’s featuring an incredible artist and rapper, Muggs. And then, the next two singles were produced by a producer that I absolutely adore, they have their own artist project. One goes by Lost Boy, and the other I think I might have to hold of telling, but I’m very excited about those collaborations.
TSU: That’s so exciting! And going back to Cut You Loose, you’re just about to drop a music video for the track, which is also really exciting! So how do you come up with your creative concepts for the visual side of your music, and get that to compliment the audio?
Anna: Yeah, man! So with Cut You Loose, it was one of the ones where from the beginning, the first image I had was just me. Normally I can see the setting, even when I’m not planning on doing a music video. I think visuals just always tag along when I’m writing the lyric, and the one for Cut You Loose was definitely strong in terms of; it was just me out and about in the street or the car, talking to a camera in a weird way – obviously the camera implies like a person – but kind of just letting go and being a bit silly and quirky. Because of quarantine, we couldn’t get directly in a car, but me and my very good friend and incredible director/editor/photographer/ everything in one, Matt Allen, kind of went around Los Angeles and tried to really capture the energy of finally letting someone go that’s been holding you back. It’s definitely this freeing and liberating experience of walking through LA being sassy and sad all at the same time. So I’m really excited to share that!
TSU: I’m really excited to see it! And you also released some other visuals earlier this year for the track Break Me Down which were stunning! What was the inspiration and concept behind that?
Anna: Thank you, so glad you enjoyed those! Break Me Down was definitely a push in order to share, so I’ve actually had that song written for about three years. During the pandemic we kind of had this plan of “okay, we’re going to release Cut You Loose” and then obviously the world kind of froze. And for me, a lot of it imitated the feeling when you’re in a deep depression and everything does feel like it’s slowed down and almost frozen. And I know a lot of people felt alone, so it felt like the right time to put it out. That video itself was done very quick and I’m incredible grateful to the entire team! I literally had this vision of contemporary or modern dance being involved to portray a lot of the emotions. It was incredible to find Emily, who did an incredible job dancing, and then I found all of the interspliced footage, so that was really fun to be a part of finding footage and going through shots that felt like the song.
TSU: So with things like that, do you find it easy and find it’s a natural process of deciding things like what track goes on what EP, or what song is released as a single… do you find that a natural process, or is it something you deliberate over?
Anna: I would say for me, honestly, it’s so hard! It’s so hard to narrow down all these single parts of yourself to some degree and then choose like “this one needs to be on here”. I think some of them are a little bit more apparent, like for winter I’m probably not going to release a super upbeat “it’s warm outside let’s go hang out” kind of vibe”, not that those are ever as simple as that. But outside of the obvious ones like that it’s definitely been a huge struggle; especially because the biggest thing I’ve had to learn is that I write a lot just for myself, just to get things out. I have hundreds of songs that I think aren’t necessarily for my artist project but just things that needed to be said. So for me it’s been a journey to draw the line between what’s writing for the project versus what did I just need to say that day.
TSU: I get what you mean because it’s such a vulnerable thing, songwriting, and I can imagine that in a way writing is just therapy; and sometimes even if it’s not going to be heard, those thoughts and feelings are just something that need to be written down and expressed.
Anna: Exactly! It got me through my entire childhood, anytime I was upset or in a weird rocky place I would just go to the piano and sing as loud as I could. So it’s definitely been my form of therapy, for sure.
TSU: So what can we expect for the rest of 2020? I know that’s kind of a difficult question right now, but do you have any goals you’re hoping to achieve anything you’re wanting to be putting out?
Anna: The perspective has definitely changed! But in terms of releasing music, that has not changed, and I’m so excited to kind of just spend the next six months consistently releasing music which, up until 2019, was not something I did at all. And so, what the rest of the year kind of looks like is sticking with the singles route a little bit longer, and then a compilation of songs both previous released, and new, on a EP; probably looking at October at this point. Yeah, so a lot of new music and then I think for me; previously there were a lot of live shows, but I think at this point my refocused goal and things I would love to achieve are really just building closer relationships with fans and people who are just joining the music and just discovering it for the first time. So I think that looks like some more live streams, and maybe just shooting some everyday… I’m always like “who wants to see the process, that’s so boring” but I think I’m going to challenge myself for the rest of the year to try to open up and share some insight into that process and what quarantine life looks like for artists.
TSU: I guess that’s one good thing that’s come out of quarantine is that a lot of artists have been doing those things you’re describing there, and have had that chance and time to show the process of music making and creation and do the livestreams with fans and really just get back to the “basics” of music.
Anna: Yeah, absolutely! I think it’s definitely helped create a more personable relationship. Especially even for bigger artists where I think there’s an issue in terms of how we perceive celebrity, and the responsibility of a musician, to then become kind of this spokesperson for a lot of things just about their life and keeping things on brand. And I think it’s been really awesome in a way to actually watch everybody get put on the same production level. Like watching Lady Gaga do her Beats 1 interview on an iPhone, right when an up and coming artist is also doing the same thing. But I think having that all across the board even platform and playing field just appear, has been interesting and liberating for those bigger artists and musicians who constantly feel the pressure of having to out perform and create this larger than life thing. And now it’s a really awesome time that we can see them as human, and people that we can connect to.
TSU: Exactly! And especially with production having to be so stripped back, like you can’t do these big budget music videos at the moment or even necessarily go to the studio; everyone seems to have gone back to basics, creating music for the love and putting a real focus back on the music itself which is really nice.
Anna: Absolutely! I fully agree, it’s definitely refreshing!
TSU: Well I’m so excited to hear your upcoming music later on this year and for the music video to come out in a few days!
Anna: Yes, oh my gosh! It’s going to be a really wild rest of the year for sure but I’m so grateful. And thank you so, so much for having me and just chatting about the music!
Following our chat about Anna’s music, her new single, and upcoming plans for 2020; before saying goodbye, we had quick chat about life and our personal favorite music! So here’s a little snippet of that conversation!
TSU: Do you have any artists you’re listening to, or are particularly inspired by at the moment?
Anna: Oh my goodness, I’m also definitely going to have to ask you the same question because I’m looking for new music! I tend to go back to stuff that feels familiar, like I love James Blake for every occasion and I always just come back to him for some reason!
TSU: No way, he actually went to my school!
Anna: No way, did he really!! He seems like such a cool guy. He’s actually one of the people in quarantine who has done a couple of those lives where he just puts his iPhone up, and it’s made me realize he’s just a normal person which is awesome; like I know he drinks coffee out of weird geeky mugs. But yeah he’s one that I love, same with Kimbra, they kind of hold these separate spaces. I find when I listen to music that’s like super churning or buzzy, I don’t know what it is I can’t get into it, but I think it’s finding music that’s in its own little home that isn’t constantly in my face… for me, I definitely steer away and closer to artists that I think create their own space which is really awesome, like the James Blakes.
TSU: I totally get what you mean, I love those artists who have their own little niche and own vibe.
Anna: Yeah, definitely! But who have you been listening to?
TSU: That’s the hardest question for me! I’m definitely someone who kind of listens to anybody and everybody, but at the moment I’ve been listening to a lot of Mac Miller and a lot of Tom Misch. It still makes me so sad to think that Mac Miller isn’t with us! I’m a massive Ariana Grande fan so she’s always on my playlist.
Anna: I love that! That’s incredible, what an awesome collation. Definitely Kehlani, all of those, she’s incredible! I can go on and on about Kehlani but I will refrain haha! That’s so awesome though, I’ll have to check out your playlist.
TSU: Yeah!! I’ll have to check out yours too and update my music selection.
Anna: We can do like a cross collab playlist or something!
An absolute pleasure to chat to Anna, definitely make sure to go and check out her brand new music video for Cut You Loose; and to keep up with Anna, and all her latest music and news, follow her on her socials down below.
The interview has been edited for brevity and coherency
Music video and feature image photo cred @Matt Allen