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Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter Anna Renee Roberts is getting ready to take the music world by storm. The 25-year-old spent years studying theater before deciding that music was the path she wanted to focus on.
She has two singles available right now, “Battle Cry” and “Guilty”. The music video for “Guilty” premieres next Friday, April 11.
Check out her interview below.
PW: Tell me a little about your musical background; what made you decide that music would be your priority over acting?
I went to boarding school for theater, and I’ve been doing acting for a long time. And then last year, I executive produced a web series, which is Destroy The Alpha Gammas
, and my character Jen had a song. The music producer who produced that was like, ‘Hey, I like your tone of voice. If you write me some songs, I will produce them for you’. I started doing it, and I fell in love with it, and then I all of a sudden was overwhelmed with acting and music. So I decided to book out a year and just focus on music. That’s what I’ve been doing.
PW: That was your first real experience with music?
Yeah. When I was really young, like second and third grade, I was in a mini band with my cousin; but I wouldn’t really call that a huge musical background. We wrote a song for our fathers for Father’s Day. It was like silly songs, you know, like comedy.
PW: When did you write your first song?
Well, that would be the first song, with my cousin Kim. But since I’ve been an adult and really focusing on it, I wrote my first song right after the web series. So it’s almost been a year since I wrote my first song. Yesterday [March 31] was the year anniversary of our wrap for DAG
PW: What was your inspiration for writing “Guilty”?
It’s kind of hard to say, because sometimes when you get into that moment where you’re writing and you’re present, things come to you; it’s an accumulation of things because I was just going through a breakup, and so there were the emotions from that. And also just really delving into self-awareness, and I think that every time I sing the song, it’s whatever I’m working on in my life at that moment. I also had binge watched Orange Is The New Black
, and I was like, ‘I’m gonna write a song that’s gonna be on that show’, which gave it the structure.
PW: What can your fans expect from the music video for “Guilty”?
Well, it’s gonna be really cool. It’s set in the 1950s, and it kinda has a surprise twist at the end. It’s exciting. I just saw the first cut of it, and I’m so happy with it. The director did an amazing job.
PW: April 10th will be your first time playing your own music live. Considering your background, you’ve been in front of a crowd before, but is this feeling any different?
Yeah, it’s very different. I mean, the only times I’ve performed for a live audience have been through theater. And it hasn’t been musical theater, it’s just been straight theater. In my improv troupes, I performed with audiences. When we did Destroy The Alpha Gammas
, that was my first time performing music, but it was also with playback over, so that was a little bit different. You know, I have nerves and excitement, and all sorts of feelings going into this. But mostly excitement.
PW: How have you been preparing for the show?
I had my first rehearsal with the band a couple of days ago, and then we have three more rehearsals with the full band. I have my voice coach Stevie Mackey, who I go to see. So I feel like I’ll be prepared, you know, the nerves aren’t gonna be coming from lack of preparation, which is the best thing.
PW: Are you working on an album yet?
I’ve kinda been focusing on singles and creating YouTube content. I was thinking of releasing a new video every six weeks. So “Guilty” will be released April 11th, and then we’re filming the music video for “Battle Cry” on the 7th
of April. That’ll be released around the 15th
of May, depending on when we can get the editor, because we’re still organizing that. I might do an album; I write all these songs, and then I have to pace myself because I have my producer backed up, because he’s also working at a full-time studio. I can’t quite get them out as fast as I can write them.
PW: Who would be your dream collaborations on an album?
Oh, wow. I would absolutely love to work with Pharrell, that’s the dream. I would love to work with Sara Bareilles.
PW: What’s your favorite song right now?
been listening to Pharrell Williams as I work out, and I love all of his songs for Despicable Me
. They’re just fun, you know? I love Avicii’s version of “Áddicted To You”. I’m doing that cover for my Hotel Café show on the 10th
. It’s in my head because I’ve been listening to it so much.
PW: What’s one goal you’d like to reach within the next year?
I would love to have performed at least ten different times, and preferably at at least five venues, and I would love to have eight singles released with music videos. At the end of the year, I would love to go on tour.
PW: What do you want your current fans, and anyone who might be discovering you for the first time, to know about you and your music?
I would like them to know that I try my very best to be honest with my music, and as vulnerable as possible so that it can resonate with as many people. And it’s coming from a very true place. I’ve been told that my music can be intense and dark at moments, but I feel like that is the core of human experience, to reach both spectrums of the emotion. I know people say this, ‘I wanna move people’, but even if it’s just one person who hears one of my songs and really relates through common experience, that would be amazing for me.
PW: You’ve lived in a lot of different places, so as an experience, has that influenced your music at all?
Absolutely. I feel so fortunate to have lived in all of these different places; it was because of my dad’s job. So when we were in second grade, we moved to Singapore, and then we moved to Jakarta, Indonesia, and then Beijing. And I feel like it cultured me and exposed me to a lot of things at a young age. Obviously, when you write, you pull from your life experience, and I also think it’s made me independent and bold in a way. I went off and lived on my own in Barcelona for a year, about a year and a half ago. And that’s become a thing that doesn’t even faze me. I’m like, ‘why not go travel on your own?’ I know some people might be a little scared about that, so I’m very fortunate for it.
PW: What’s your favorite way to spend a day off? Other than songwriting or anything music-related.
It would be yoga, and I’d get my best friend and we’d go to the beach. Sushi, for sure. So, I’m not doing music, but can I go to someone else’s concert?
Oh, and a voice lesson! It’s weird, because it’s a day off, but I’m my happiest when I’m in a voice lesson with Stevie. Oh, and reading; I love to read.
Listen to "Battle Cry" and "Guilty" (also available as a free download) below!
For all of you PopWrapped readers in the Los Angeles area, be sure to go and see Anna at her live performance debut at The Hotel Café
in Los Angeles on Thursday, April 10 at 8 PM.
For more on Anna Renee, visit her official Facebook page
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