There aren’t many people who can claim to have contributed to global hits and mastered the knack of pop in their teens. But Anna Straker is definitely one of them, having worked with some A-list names and writing/recording/producing her own dynamite work such as How We Are and Late Night Swimming. Today she reveals her first EP, Serious (below), so we caught up with her to find out a bit more…
First and most important question: where is the best place to go Late Night Swimming, and what are your general tips?
Any rooftop pool in the city. Preferably with at least one best friend and some kind of alcoholic beverage. Must be after 11pm. And jump in!
Jokes aside, it was a great first track. After being behind the scenes for other asks, was there any trepidation in stepping out solo? Or was that always the plan?
Always the plan! Since I was teeny tiny. I’ve always wanted to be centre stage.
What was your experience of working with acts like Years & Years and Rudimental?
Working with established artists is a great learning experience. And super cool to hear backing vocals on a TV advert or come on the radio in a taxi.
You write, sing, and produce all your own stuff. Which part do you love/hate the most?
I pretty much love everything. The fact I get to do all these different things makes my job so fun! I guess my least favourite thing is winding up my cables after a gig.
There’s a lot of chat out there about a lack of female producers. There are more coming to the fore, but what advice would you give to young girls starting out in the business?
Don’t let anyone tell you not to do something because it’s a ‘boy’s job’. Know that you can do anything. Don’t doubt yourself. Fight the stereo types. Flourish, and don’t be apologetic about it.
How did you get into the music industry yourself?
I had a bit of a Bieber moment – I posted a video on YouTube of me playing Emeli Sande’s ‘Heaven’. Then I got a message from an amazing man called Mike Spencer and lots of hard work later I’m here!
“Don’t let anyone tell you not to do something because it’s a ‘boy’s job'”
How We Are and Serious are both absolute jams. Tell us a bit more about their genesis and the thought behind them.
Thank you! ‘How We Are’ was an old song I wrote which I revisited this year. When I wrote the lyrics I was thinking about being an adolescent in a world where we’re told not to follow “pie in the sky” careers (as a teacher once told me!) and it’s about saying f*ck that! This is how I am, and I’m not gonna change that. ‘Serious’ came around after a conversation about people not taking music seriously. People releasing songs just for fame and money, forgetting about the music. It’s directed at the artists and the business men behind it all. Those are the people that I can’t take seriously.
What are you hoping people take away from your debut EP? And what’s next for you?
There’s two levels to this EP, and I hope people can experience both feelings when they listen. There’s the unconfined exuberance of being an adolescent: spontaneous partying and with being with your friends! And then there’s a deeper, stronger side. Tracks like ‘Desert Floor’ and ‘Serious’ represent my strength, my independence. I want the listener to feel as undefeatable as I do.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I’m listening to some Anderson.Paak, Mount Kimbie and the Stranger Things soundtrack.
Final question we ask everyone: favourite Beyonce song?
Work It Out. All about those Foxxy Cleopatra vibes!