Renouveau Media got the chance to interview singer and songwriter Annika Grace. As a poet who pulls inspiration from each personal endeavour she embarks on, Annika records her deepest thoughts and emotions.
Iuliana: Hey Annika! How are you? Let’s start off by telling our readers about yourself. How would you describe your personality in three words?
Annika: Hey, I’m doing well! Yes absolutely, I would say charismatic, restless (I’m always planning the next trip somewhere), and honest as I feel my lyrics always tell the truth of what I am thinking, the good and the bad. I can be very blunt at times and vulnerable through my music.
Iuliana: Have you found yourself feeling more creative during these uncertain times? Is it a welcome distraction?
Annika: I haven’t noticed too much of a different in creative overload during this time. I have realized that a lot of my inspiration comes from life and songs come as I’m living it, and with these uncertain times staying at home, I feel my creativity has been a little halted. I am lucky though to have some amazing friends who are also songwriters who I have been able to collaborate with over Zoom and Facetime to write some songs I am actually really excited about. In times like these, I find I am drawing from past experiences to help bring inspiration and it still definitely does the trick to help my songwriting itch.
Iuliana: Can you briefly walk us through your story? How were you first introduced to the music industry?
Annika: I started music at a young age writing poetry and playing the piano. It grew into a love for all things lyrics and music. I was first introduced to the music industry when I was about 15 years old when I started attending songwriting expos and networking. There I found a lot of the people I still work with today.
Iuliana: How much do you feel like your home city plays a role in your music? If so, what elements do you think come through?
Annika: I grew up in Los Angeles and also Chicago so I think the blend of both cities really helped inspire me and see different perspectives. LA can be a bubble sometimes, so getting out of that bubble really helped me get creative with my music. Chicago and LA both are full of artists, so tapping into that community helped me find my sound and who I want to be as an artist, while also being inspired by the creative diversity around me.
Iuliana: Who are the singers that inspired you to find your own voice and have it remain a driving force in your music?
Annika: I have always been really inspired by Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Regina Spektor and also artists like James Blunt, One Republic, Jhene Aiko and Florence and the Machine. Their vulnerability and poet lyrics are what inspired me to start bringing my own poems to life and start making music. Jhene Aiko and Florence both have poetry books out as well which I think is an incredible accomplishment and is a goal of mine as well. I think standing firm in what you want to say in your music and what your what your sound to be, not faltering to appeal to pop culture, is something all these artists do and I find it really admirable. Their lyrics are earnest and raw and their sounds are unique and timeless.
Iuliana: Can you elaborate on your production process? What comes first, words, a sentiment, the music, etc…
Annika: The words usually come first for me and then the music. I write a lot of ideas down throughout the day and then sit down and see what can come out of it. It either turns into a poem or a song usually, or both.
Iuliana: If you had a theme song, what would it be?
Annika: I would say my theme song would be ‘Put Your Records On’ by Corrine Bailey Rae.
Iuliana: How has it been taking part in virtual performances? Do you think these will continue once we begin to recover from this crisis?
Annika: I have really liked it! It’s fun to be able to connect with people from all over the world. Usually when I perform its only people from the LA area or wherever my show is, but lately the virtual performances have allowed me to do shows for people all over. Just last week I got to do an IG live show with a friend of mine from London. It definitely helps to expand your listener reach.
Iuliana: Please tell our readers about Saturdays at Seven. What’s the inspiration for it and what’s its mission?
Annika: Saturdays at Seven is a home for artists to come together. It’s a showcase where I pick seven artists every other Saturday to perform as well as a networking space. I host events like Lyric Night every other Tuesday (on zoom currently) where writers come together to share and collaborate. When I first started it, I wanted a space for myself and my friends to perform for each other and create relationships, especially if they were new to LA. Quickly, the word spread, and it has turned into a pretty large event where everyone is welcome to come and be able to call a little corner of LA their corner. We have had some incredible touring acts come through, reached capacity at my small apartment backyard (yes it is currently in my backyard), and have built a community of creatives that are continually collaborating and helping each other out.
Iuliana: What’s the future look like for you? In what ways are you moving forward? Any gripping new projects?
Annika: The future for me is full of new music! I have been busy doing a lot of zoom recording sessions with my producers and we have cooked up some really exciting new releases! I am moving forward into the future with a positive mindset and thinking of new creative ways to continue to do what I love in these crazy times. I have in the works a Saturdays at Seven music festival that will be happening in August over IG live as well as a new song coming out August 12th with LA based artist Jack Fruit.
Follow Annika on Instagram here.