Catch up with Anna Renee to see what inspires her work and get your copy of The Places You'll Go, available now.
What first got you interested in creating your own music?
Anna Renee: I executive produced this web series, Destroy the Alpha Gammas - it's like a pop musical - and so my character had a song in it and when I went in to sing it, it was like my first time going into a studio and singing and the producer said that I had a cool tone and I should write some lyrics for him and he would produce them and I started writing and I loved it and then, all of a sudden - 'cause I was acting at the time - all of a sudden I was getting auditions and not really wanting to go 'cause I was like "but I'm writing a song". So, I've just completely switched gears from acting to music now. It's the best thing that's ever happened.
You play piano, do you play on this EP?
Not on this first EP actually, the first EP, all the piano music, aside from "Sharks", Stevie Mackey, he's my voice coach, is also my songwriting partner and he wrote all the piano parts.
Is there a song on this new EP you're most excited for people to hear?
"Guilty" is probably my favorite song on there, although that one came out before so people kind of already heard that. I think that "The Places You'll Go", which is just the title of the EP, I'm really excited about that song. Stevie Mackey asked me to write about Dr. Seuss' Oh, The Places You'll Go! and he said he was going to sing it eventually and then I went and I wrote and, obviously, I wrote higher than I normally would for myself because I thought, 'well, Stevie's going to sing it', and he tricked me 'cause I ended up singing it and he just wanted to show me that I could go higher than I think I can.
Do you have a favorite track to perform?
Well, I have this new song that I just I love singing it. It's called "Lone Wolf" and it hasn't been released yet, we're actually producing it right now, but it's a little different style; it's more like dub step mixed in with kind of like an alt-J type of vibe but it's just so fun to sing, I wish I could show you. It'll be released in probably a month or two.
What do you keep in mind while writing these new tracks?
I try to allow whatever is coming to me to happen and to not touch it, whether it be what I'm saying or the genre or however it should be. Actually, one of my producer's, Mike, just told me something cool which I'm trying to take into consideration, especially right now. He's talking about how each song is supposed to be its own thing and it's kind of like having a kid, you know; you can't force your kid to be something it's not, you just have to let it be and love your kid and help them as much as you can. So, it's like a song but it's a creation like a child and so allow that song to be what it is and help nurture it as best as I can, without forcing or shaping it.
That's why I've been writing a lot of different genres. I've been doing EDM music and country and hip hop and I'll probably have those demos for other artists, but it's still really fun writing them.
So what's the best advice you've received?
To be excited about where you are and just enjoy it. Not so focused on who's going to hear this or where it's going to get placed, like in a big movie, just like enjoying being creative and enjoying having these incredibly talented musicians play on all these songs and watching them come together. It's all very exciting.
What do you want people to take away from your music?
I would like people to listen to it and hopefully it will help them become more self-aware and realize that there is strength in vulnerability and being yourself and being human; seeing the light and darkness and beauty in both sides.
If you were to sum up your album in one sentence what would it be?
Life can take you anywhere.
The reason I say that is because I had a head injury four years ago and it just completely shifted everything in my life. Where I was, I went to Barcelona for a year, like, all these things happened and it's just crazy to me, it still blows my mind now when I really think about how two years ago if you said that I'd be doing what I'm doing now I would not have believed you, I probably would have laughed, and I just would not have believed it at all.
Is there a song or lyric which has inspired you?
I'm really into Hozier right now and a lot of his songs. I love "Like Real People Do". He talks about, like, "why were you digging? What did you bury before those hands pulled me from the Earth?" and that's a great line. Very powerful.
Any sort of guilty pleasure type of songs?
Well, I normally don't mind people knowing that I love a lot of cheeseball music, but I love Selena Gomez's new song, "The Heart Wants What It Wants" and I've been singing along to that in the car when it comes on.
What would you want to say to your fans?
I would say thank you for listening and I hope that what I have to say can be a positive impact on their lives.