By ANYA, Danish Electronic Soul-Hop Musician.
Words by Monique Schröder. Illustration by Sine Jensen.
After her debut video 'Greet Me', ANYA has become an inherent part of the power women in the Danish music scene. Her fresh electronic soul-hop and her charming personality not only captivate the audience but also music experts as she won the IBYEN award for Upcoming Artist of the Year 2015. We met her to talk about what makes her happy, her experience with rude interviewees and what’s ANYA’s like when she is not on stage.
(ANYA and her producer VASCO will be playing at Soulland Sound March 17, 2017)
When did you decide to make music full-time?
My decision to pursue music professionally was about 2 years ago. I was studying international journalism and I had plans to move to Hamburg to finish off my last year. Just before moving, we landed a record deal with Sony and I decided to go forward with this opportunity. I signed out of the university deal and started focusing on my music only. I quickly realized there is no money in it the first year or two. I’ve had to have part-time jobs but I’m doing it full time now without having a safety net. I wanted to go all in and see where that takes me, and I wanted to work on my music every day without any compromises. I feel like it is picking up, and some of my concerts are actually sold out. It’s a great feeling.
You meet so many people, was there ever a bad experience with an interviewer?
Yes! Usually people are very sweet and respectful but there was one knobhead who was extremely rude the whole way through the interview. I don’t even know if I can call it an interview because it was basically just him ranting on about how boring my music was. I have never experienced anything like it before and I found myself trying to defend my music to him. It is totally cool if people dislike my music and tell me on a professional level but it was just really disrespectful and uncalled for. We had just gotten off stage from a concert – and instead of having a drink and kicking back I had to sit and listen to this fool.
Photo by Jonas Fogh
What was the best concert experience so far?
Roskilde Festival was out of this world. There were so many people; it was insane. The night I played a full moon graced the sky – it was completely yellow and shining right at me. I couldn't believe it. It was also the first time I played with a big screen and every time a caught a glimpse at the screen, I thought to myself “What is my face doing up there?”. It was one of the first festivals we played at and it felt like the beginning of something big for me. It was truly amazing. Best audience ever!
What are your lyrics based on?
Most of my lyrics are just a piece of my mind from a certain period of my life. They represent whatever emotion had a hold of me at the time the song was written. All my lyrics are based on real experiences but sometimes it is a mix of personal situations and stories from my friends. “Snap Back”, for example, is not based on my experience with one guy only. It’s basically just about young men being too caught up by their own thing. Haha.
How did it feel like to see yourself in a music video after it was finished?
The first one we did was Greet Me, which is an actual live session. I was standing in a white room with Frederik Carstens and Carl Barsk behind me. They are the guys who produced the EP. It felt pretty safe – kinda like playing a concert. Snap Back was very different from the first video. For example, I had to stand on a container and
What do you do when you are off?
When I am off I watch a lot of series. I am a true HBO/Netflix addict and I have a lot of favorites. Right now I am really into Fargo. I think watching series is my rebooting space where I can charge my batteries and chill. I like having my mind focused on one thing only for a period of time because I tend to think about a lot of things at the same time. There is always stuff to think about – and even though it’s all good stuff - it can get a little out of hand. Sometimes it is nice to say “now I will only think about Mr. Robot for a couple of hours”.
Photo by Jonas Fogh
What’s your advice for people who would like to start a music career (or any career) but don’t know where to start?
Meet the right people. That’s key. When you find people who think music the same way you do, then the ball will start rolling. And trust that what you have is valuable. You don’t have to be the world’s best singer or pianist or flute player to be an interesting artist. You just have to bring something original to the table.
Who inspires you on a daily basis?
I think love is one of my greatest sources of inspiration. Love in all different shapes and sizes. In my own relationship but definitely also in the people around me: my roommates or my girlfriends for example. I also listen to Spotify and Soundcloud at least 3 hours every day, I think. I definitely get a lot of creative inspiration from listening to a lot of different music from all kinds of genres.
Photo by Jonas Fogh
What do you like the most about the whole process of making music?
There are definitely fun and not so fun stages involved in that process. The one thing that purely makes me happy is when I am riding my bike home from the studio. I always listen to what we produced that day. That’s when I get the biggest butterflies because it is so cool to listen to something that just emerged. Playing concerts and being on stage is also among my favorite things. Getting the feedback from the audience is probably one of the highlights.
What do you miss about being young?
I miss the carefree life and the summer vacations. You could get up whenever you wanted and do whatever you felt like for three months. These days a day off feels like a gift from the higher powers. I miss the freedom that you had as a child. But at the same time I am doing exactly what I want right now and it feels great.
Photo by Jonas Fogh