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Anna Belle: “Music delivers a layer of meaning and enjoyment to the human experience that every one of us needs, just like we need vitamins to function properly”

Anna Belle is a Missouri-based singer/songwriter and producer who is gearing up for the release of her brand new album. Last month, she put out a single called ‘mask’, and I instantly fell in love with the cheery and synthy little gem. Cards on the table…it’s a tune that I still jam to daily!

Intrigued to know more about the artist behind the song, I was thrilled when Anna agreed to an interview! Taking us through the inspiration behind ‘mask’, her rather unusual songwriting process, and which three albums she’d take with her to a deserted island, please give a big welcome to our new friend Anna Belle!

Thanks so much for chatting with us Anna! It’s awesome to be able to introduce you to our ever-growing audience! Let’s kick things off with an easy one…Who is Anna Belle and when did your love affair with music begin?

Anna Belle (which is my real first and middle name, if you’re curious) is my artist persona – or the truest version of myself. I knew she was meant to create from the beginning, but it was when I was around 10 years old that I started to understand what an artist was. My dad helped me connect my cheap Yamaha keyboard to the back of the CPU and showed me how to record on Audacity. It’s been kind of the same story ever since. Anna Belle makes music in her room. (It was a dorm room for a few years – I might get to that.)

My introduction to your music came with your most recent single ‘mask’. I have to admit…the synthy and upbeat little gem seriously wormed its way into my heart and soul. What does the song mean to you and do you remember its “birth” so to speak?

I was trying to put together an EP in late 2020 and early 2021. I was playing with the attack and release on different Roland FA-06 sounds and testing how my sustain pedal reacted with them. I came up with a strange, circular chord progression and imagined a song that was energetic and dancey, unlike a lot of my other tracks. It reminded me of Charli XCX or an older K-pop tune, so I wanted to put vocals on it and scrolled my Google Keep app for any lyric ideas I had written within the past couple of years. I found a set of lyrics called “without the mask.” It was crafted with both real and fictional people in mind… people who had concealed a part of themselves, whether it was their appearance or something deeper, because of shame and fear. It is tinged with romance, which is unusual for my lyrics, but I wrote it from the perspective of a love interest –  it made its theme of acceptance feel more meaningful.

I’m sorry to pose such a tough question so early on, but what tune of yours are you most proud of and why?

I love this question actually! I think it’s ‘Glass Delusion’. I wrote it after I was robbed (a story for another time). It’s hard for me to even listen to the old unmixed MIDI file that I keep on my SD card – I arranged it with so much care when I was struggling the most. The lyrics felt so effortless to me, but they are my best work. It also features my Yamaha DX21 which adds a genuine retro touch. The guitar is fake though.

You’ve mentioned acts like The Human League, George Michael, Cocteau Twins, and Lady Gaga as being influential on your sound. Is there anybody else you would credit, or give a shout-out to, for helping shape your musical soundscape?

Those artists are the ones I would consider to be most similar in writing and production style to my recent work, but there are others who inspire me more. I love Naked Eyes, Missing Persons, Enya, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, and of course Michael Jackson. When I started producing my own music, I was heavily addicted to K-pop bands like SHINee and Girls’ Generation, so they definitely influenced my craft too.

Could you tell us a bit about your songwriting process? Not specifically for any song but just in general. How do you take an idea and turn it into a piece of music?

I usually start with the tracks and lyrics separately, and then they eventually find each other. The songwriting usually extends to the very end of the process – some words will sound better than others once they’re recorded. My production process is pretty unconventional. I produce all the foundational tracks on one device (Roland FA-06) and then commit the MIDI files to audio. Then I transfer everything into Pro Tools and record everything else. People have told me this must be pretty inefficient and limiting to my creativity. Limitation breeds innovation!

What, to you, is music’s role in society?

It delivers a layer of meaning and enjoyment to the human experience that every one of us needs, just like we need vitamins to function properly. I will go a long time without listening to music on my own – I teach music as my day job so I don’t have a lot of time to listen idly – and without fail, I fall into an anxious stupor. The other day I listened to ‘Phantom of the Opera’ for the first time in too long. The world melted away instantly. No stress, no garbage social media, no self-consciousness, no impending work week… my mind leapt with joy and nostalgia. That’s what loving life is. It saves me every once in a while.

OK, Anna – desert island time! You’re allowed to grab 3 albums before being stranded on an island. Which do you go with?

Can I pick 30? Hmmm… George Michael’s ‘Faith’ is great. (‘Hard Day’ is a must.) The second would have to be Lady Gaga’s ‘Chromatica’. I grew to love every single one of those tracks. If I can cheat by taking a double album, I choose SHINee’s ‘The Misconceptions of Us’.

We can’t wait for your new album! Do you have a release date in mind? And, I guess in a broader sense, what do you hope for in your musical future?

I’m working on it! I’m hoping by this fall. I want to do things right this time by promoting it properly and taking all the time I need to get the mixes right. My process usually occurs in short, energetic spurts, so I’m waiting for the right moments to capture my creativity. I hope I can learn to shut everything else out and just make what I like. I don’t care to look at my streams anymore. It’s for me.


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