SOUND OF THE WEEK PT. 63: ANAÏS

vor 9 months

Each week, OOR Studio reaches out to various artists, musicians, and those with all-around good taste.

TODAY, IT’S ABOUT HAVING THE COURAGE TO MAKE DECISIONS, REALISE YOUR DREAM, PURSUE YOUR PASSION AS A MUSICIAN, AND LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
Anaïs is a young singer-songwriter who lives in Berlin. When you think of the music of Anaïs, words like nostalgic, dreamy, bouncy, authentic, and playful pop into your head immediately. Last year she released her first EP, 44+2, and she also went on her first tour in Germany. The songs from the 22-year-olds are sincere and give deep insights into the emotional world and life, with themes surrounding and preoccupying young adults – relationships, mental health, and self-love. Anaïs’s voice combines this vibe with a deep longing for life and much melancholy. “Anaïs, can’t you see what people see?” – Namely, we see a very passionate talent and a promising future. It remains exciting around this young artist, but one thing is clear, it will not be quiet around Anaïs.

 

How would you describe your music, and what music do you listen to privately?
I often get told that my music is perfect for nostalgic night drives through the city, and I love this description. I listen to many different genres and artists, but I’ve always loved pop, R’n’B, and 80s/90s hits. Likewise, I love the contrast of wrapping melancholic lyrics into catchy melodies when I write songs.

You grew up trilingual, i.e., German-, French- and English-speaking. Was it clear from the beginning that you wanted to make your music in English, or was there a decisive reason for that?
The language decision was a very primarily discussed topic in my team. When I first started writing songs, I was playing around with all three languages, but quickly noticed that I had a clear preference for English lyrics.
I have a more extensive vocabulary of describing emotions and drawing pictures into other people’s minds in English than in French or German. Also, English is a very melodic and, therefore, very songwriting-friendly language. Nevertheless, I stay open to writing songs in these three languages to keep my writing process intuitive and honest.

Who has influenced you the most in your musical career so far?
I don’t have one precise significant musical influence I could think of. I’d rather say it’s a mixture of different genres, artists, and friends that inspired me while creating music. Of course, the big pop icons of our time, like Billie Eilish, Due Lipa, and The Weeknd, inspire me. But so are my artist and producer friends from France, like Timsters, Jean Castel, and NASAYA. I love working with them on a human level, but also their music, skills, and melodies influenced me during the making of my last and upcoming EP.

You studied law for a short time in Hanover. Would you like to take us back in time and describe what it was like for you to decide to drop out of law school and become a musician?
I wrote my first song ever during quarantine in 2020 with my ex-boyfriend. I had been studying law for a year already, was in the middle of writing my first thesis, and had remote courses. Furthermore, I already felt like law studies weren’t my biggest passion from the start, but the whole lockdown situation intensified this feeling. In the summer of 2020, I impulsively decided to release the very first song I wrote. No mixing, no mastering, I just uploaded the raw document onto Recordjet (an online music distributor). I can happily say that it was the best decision I’ve ever made. My friends and followers were immensely supportive of my song, and that’s how my management contacted me. Shortly after that, we officially started working together. I decided to quit my law studies and move to Berlin to start a whole new chapter.

Nowadays, social media is an essential part of building a career. Which platform do you enjoy the most, and which do you find the most honest?
I use Instagram and Tik Tok to promote my music, stay in touch with my followers, and share random stuff from my personal life. I enjoy both platforms a lot, but in different ways: Instagram is more personal, and the people there have actively decided to follow my account to see and interact with my posts. Therefore, it is very personal and supportive there. I love posting pictures from my musical and private life, fashion, or funny stories. Nevertheless, the content I post on it is rather selective. I don’t want to spam my followers too much. Meanwhile, on TikTok, I feel free to post random, more relatable, and personality-related content.

You write all your songs and are responsible for the production. What is the process like, and how long does it take until the song is finally released?
The process of making a song varies, but for me, it’s mostly like this: I’m in session with a producer. We find chords, a beat, or some type of instrumental we like. Then I randomly sing melodies with gibberish lyrics and record them on my phone. After that, I select my preferred toplines, decide on a story I want to talk about in the song and make the story fit into the melodies. In the meantime, the producer and I create a production around it, record layers of instruments and my vocals, and add sounds that make it more vivid. That mainly happens in one day. When I love the song, I listen to it a million times, send it to my team, ask for their opinions. I take the demo to my primary Parisian producer Timsters. We sit together for a couple of days, rethink the instrumental, and add my characteristic and favorite sounds to it. Afterward, my songs get stem mastered by Alex Dobslaw and are scheduled for release. The whole process from a first song draft to its final release varies, but takes around 6 to 10 months in my case.

Which song is closest to your heart, and which song have you been asked about the most?
The song closest to my heart is “ANAÏS“ because it is about my unfiltered feelings and thoughts about myself. It’s very personal, and I got emotionally naked releasing it last year. Still, I’m very proud to have talked about these negative emotions towards myself publicly because I know that many people feel the same way, and I wanted to make them feel less alone and understood. The song I get asked about the most is “Runaway”, probably because it’s my most-known song and many people recognize me when I play at festivals.

You say about yourself that aesthetics is very important to you. Which of your music videos so far do you like the most?
“44” is my favorite music video because it conveys the heartfelt message of the lyrics. I’ve had some experiences with friends and loved ones who suffer from body dysmorphia and severe eating disorders. They never really spoke up about it because it is still a taboo topic for many people, especially in the older generations. Therefore, I found it essential to give them a voice. I wanted to spread awareness that more people than we think, whatever body type, gender, or background they have, can be affected by it. The video was supposed to be a glimpse of hope that people who struggle would feel seen and understood.

Last December, you played your first own tour. To what extent did you prepare for it, and did you have specific rituals that you performed just before the shows?
My first tour was so exciting; I loved it! My band and I had three days of rehearsals before the tour started. We played the entire setlist over and over. Also, I collected some ideas for fantastic show elements I wanted to build into the set: dancing, crowd interaction, and stories I wanted to tell my audience. In 2022, I was lucky to play many live shows and therefore had time to find my feel-good pre-show routine. I get dressed first, then I do my make-up while listening to my favorite music. Afterwards, I run up and down the hallways to warm up my vocals for half an hour. The movement calms me a little. Before going on stage, my band and I tightly hugged in a big circle and imitated a rocket launch.

You had an extremely successful year musically. How do you process your experiences and successes?
Honestly, it all went so fast that I didn’t take the time to process all these beautiful things happening to me. But what always helped me throughout all the travels, exciting news, shootings, etc., was to talk to my friends and family. Verbalizing my experiences made me realize how thankful I am, and sharing them with others made them even more special.

In your songs, you address, among other things, mental illnesses such as eating disorders and body dysmorphia. These topics are highly sensitive and personal. What made you put these topics more in the focus of the music landscape?
I think it’s very important to address topics that are more intimate in music because that’s how people can relate to or become conscious of them. It’s a less brutal way of raising your voice on a very important topic. More people than we think struggle with body dysmorphia, severe eating disorders, or anxiety, even in our closest surroundings. With my songs, I wanted to contribute to public discussions about them. I believe that finding a piece of music that makes you feel understood in the way your brain functions is worth so much. I hope that through my songs, I can give people a platform to talk about their issues, become vulnerable, and offer them a safe space.

You’re playing mainstage at Dockville Festival this summer, which has always been your goal. What is that feeling, and what is unique about it for you?
I’m so happy that I get to play there this year! This festival was the only one I ever dreamed of playing at. It’s not the biggest or most known one, but I worked there as a bartender a few years ago. I had excellent encounters with the guests during my shifts and loved the artsy side of this festival. A few weeks ago, they booked me, and I, of course, immediately said yes! I promise it’ll be a huge party; I’ll invite all my friends over and celebrate this milestone with them.

How was it for you to tour or make music with artists like Giant Rooks, Nina Chuba, or Provinz, for example?
Being on tour with them was my favorite and most insane experience. Thanks to them, I got to play internationally for the first time. I’m so grateful that they took me on tour with them. They are all so incredibly talented, and on top of that, they are so fun and cool to be around. All of them are so humble, spreading good vibes backstage and in the tour bus and then killing it on stage at night — it’s out of this world!

What stands with you musically the next time? Is an album planned?
Now I’m finishing new songs that will be released soon! I’m excited to put new music out in the world; my team and I worked on an exciting new sound that I love! Apart from new songs, there will be many insanely cool festival shows this summer. My band will accompany me, and I look forward to traveling and being on stage with them!


Interview by Helen Weiss
Photo Credit: Stephie Braun

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