UP: Hey Anna! We are pumped to feature you on Unseen Plays. Let’s start this interview off with something we like to ask almost all the artists we feature. How did you get started in music? Where are you from? And really what led you to where you are now with your music?
Anna Katarina: I’m from Nelson, British Columbia – it’s a small but lively picturesque mountain town between Vancouver and Calgary. Music is just in my blood and always has been. There are videos of me dancing and singing since I was 3 years old, and I just never stopped! My mom put me in classical piano when I was 4, which is a big part of my foundation both musically and in regards to work ethic. From there I expanded into voice, violin, flute, and guitar. I’m an adventurer and love trying new things and exploring the world but there is something inside me that has always kept me coming back to music. I credit my success thus far to my incredibly supportive family and a lot of hard work! I feel so grateful for my circumstances but it’s important to acknowledge how much work I’ve put in – it feels really good to be seeing results!
UP: What were some of your inspirations for your new single “December”?
Anna Katarina: Musical influences for this track were Taylor Swift’s Folklore and elements of Maggie Rogers but once I got in the studio I think it took on a truly unique flavour that is my sound. Starting off with these artists as influences made me consider ways to differentiate the parts of the song that are less intuitive to me. I can sing high – so it’s natural to move into a higher register to make a section (usually chorus) pop. I didn’t want to do that with this tune, so I focused more on rhythm and groove within the vocal melody. That ended up giving more room for the bass and higher synth lines.
UP: Give us a bit more details on “December”. What’s it about?
Anna Katarina: I wanted to write a song about a specific moment in time. ‘December’ captures a conversation I had on a snowy dark road in rural British Columbia. It was melancholic and sad but overall for the best because it brought more closure and also made me realize how much better of a place I’m in now.
UP: Do you write and produce most of your music? And have you collaborated or worked with anyone else in the past few years?
Anna Katarina: I write all of my music. I do collaborations too, but this album is all me. Recent cowrites have been ‘Lost Without You’ with Peruvian producer/musician, Gunter Brenner; ‘Let You Down’ with Vancouver-artist, Chris Sol; and many of the songs released under my indie-folk project Rumour Mill with Aline Daigle. I love producing but not alone – I want to be fully involved because it’s my sound and me being represented, but I need to have another producer in the room. It makes for a much more creative and easeful process. It can be tricky finding the right person, but Andy Schichter and I were the perfect match for this project. He’s very creative and comes up with great parts, and is always willing to try any of my ideas.
UP: What would you say is your favorite instrument or tool for writing music?
Anna Katarina: Most recently I’ve been alternating between writing on guitar and piano. Sometimes I like to start a song without an instrument – just with vocals, adding the harmony later. Sometimes I set a parameter to work within: like writing using a specific groove or chordal structure. Other times, I just mess around and see what happens. I’ve also found it helpful to write on instruments I don’t often play because I’m less familiar with what chords are where so I often end up with interesting ideas that I wouldn’t have come up with on an instrument I know well.
UP: Here is our random question that we always include in our interviews. What’s one book you’d recommend to read and why?
Anna Katarina: Pillars of The Earth by Ken Follet. It’s historical, dramatic, revealing, a bit sexy, and is hard to put down. I have also been loving Kate Quinn’s books on World War 2. I like historical fiction a lot.
UP: Lastly, what’s the best place to check out your music and learn more about Anna Katarina?
Anna Katarina: All the usual suspects – Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, etc. The album is out on October 14th and will be for sale on Bandcamp and in physical form. Keep up to date with my journey on my email list (annakatarinamusic.com) and Instagram/TikTok, both @annakatarinamusic. 🙂 I also have a Patreon for those interested in being part of my journey.
Photo Credit: Daddy Leica