With thundering vocals and a drum-heavy sound to match, Perth-turned-Melbourne local Anna O is one to watch. We talked inspirations, writing music and moving cities before she performs for Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (AWME) with HOWQUA and Yirrmal this November.
Who were you favourite artists to listen to growing up?
My music taste has always been all over the place! Growing up I was listening to lots of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong in particular, Eva Cassidy, anything top-40, I loved RnB. I remember my favourite songs in primary school were ‘Gangster’s Paradise’ by Coolio and ‘Breathe in Now’ by George. In high school, Missy Higgins was my absolute favourite. Like I said, all over the place.
I heard you recently went busking. How did that go? How is busking different from performing in venues?
Busking was SO fun, even better than I expected. I think it’s fun having to fight for people’s attention, and because no one has to stop and listen to you or buy a CD, when they do it’s a big win. The main difference from performing in a venue, other than the obvious lack of stage, lighting, sound etc. is the hugely varied range of people that you are playing to. It’s great exposure, that’s for sure. And it’s basically just taking our rehearsals out of our band room and onto the street.
What did you enjoy about working with producer Jan Skubiszewki on ‘Wish I Said’?
Jan’s just such a good guy – so easy to be around and work with. And then there’s his obvious skills and awesome studio. He took a song that the band and I had already put a lot of work into, kept the elements we had in there and then added his own touch – so we were just stoked that he wanted to use what we’d already done! He helped us make a song that we’re really proud of and I can’t wait to get to work with him again.
How does working with different people change the way you make music?
The more I’ve worked with different producers I’ve realised that they have a huge impact on the end product. It seems like that would be obvious, but it wasn’t to me at first. From my experience, each song kind of lives in it’s own world; it’ll have similar elements in it with my writing style, my influences, my voice etc. but the producer is very much an artist too and their sound heavily impacts my own. I love it; I feel like it creates more diversity in my sound and, if done well, shows a certain versatility too.
You’re originally from Perth. Why did you make the move to Melbourne?
I moved two Melbourne in June this year and dragged my band along with me too! We came because I’d signed with 123 Agency and Lemon Tree Music Management, who are both based in Melbourne. And it just felt like the right time to go somewhere bigger where there’s more opportunities and where we’d have the space to knuckle down and really work on our material and our show.
What’s has been your favourite moment on stage to date?
There’s so many. For me it’s always the “firsts”; the first time I saw someone singing along to one of my songs, the first time we played a new song on stage that we hadn’t played live yet, or the first time I got my friend Angus Dawson to come up during my set so we could play our song ‘Close My Eyes’ together.
If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you’d be doing?
Anything where I would get to create for a living, maybe some kind of design work; graphic or fashion or something. I do love clothes… my bank account will tell you that.
What are you goals for next year (and when can we expect more music)?
Too many to list, honestly! You can expect lots of music and very soon. My second EP ‘Symphony’ will be out at the end of October and then we’re back in the studio to record another in January. The band and I are writing constantly at the moment so we’ve got a lot of material we can’t wait to flesh out in the studio and release into the world.
ANNA O TOUR DATES
Thursday 12th November
The Toff In Town
HOWQUA with Special Guests Anna O (8.00pm till 11pm) and Yirramal