Get to know the edgy alt-pop artist Anna Shoemaker! She recently released her single, “Won’t Make Me Cry” via BMG. Shimmering with an exploratory production and arrangement, the song—written by Shoemaker and produced by Will Baker—delivers the notable honest lyricism she’s become known for.
“I was just feeling like, damn, everyone I date is so dramatic and game-playing, I’m over it,” says Anna in regards to the inspiration behind “Won’t Make Me Cry.” “You’re not going to make me cry, why can’t we just be cool and real with each other? As a songwriter I feel like I romanticize everything in my personal life, but some days I think to myself, ‘this doesn’t have to be that deep!’ Then there’s a side of me that says, ‘yes it does, do it for your art!’ I guess it’s an attempt at protecting yourself from people who negatively affect you.”
The Brooklyn-based Shoemaker creates music that propels her well beyond the realm of singer-songwriter. Shoemaker’s captivating alt-pop craftiness is spiked with her dreamy, hypnotic vocals; all beaming on the new “Won’t Make Me Cry.” The track–which boasts a unique opening and a slow burn that is equally intoxicating and intriguing–is a continuum of her relationship with BMG that began with the 2019 single, “If You’re Going (I’ll Go).” The Philadelphia-born Shoemaker has created a unique hybrid of music that undoubtedly stands out.
Her most recent EP, Everything is Embarrassing (2020, BMG), caught the attention of American Songwriter magazine which noted, “while still catchy and pop, the new songs feel more vulnerable and personal than ever. . .raw and honest lyricism.” Shoemaker credits the expansive Philly independent music scene and her college experience as both major influences for her sound and writing. While at the University of Colorado, the budding artist would perform with just her acoustic guitar, which led to the alt-rock/pop sound that is embedded into her music today.
Connect With Anna Shoemaker Online Here: WEBSITE
Learn more about Anna Shoemaker in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time! So how are you keeping busy and musical these days during the pandemic? How are you staying connected to your fans? Are you finding that social media is even more useful now?
I’ve mostly just been in the studio trying to stay as creative as possible. I have a little set up in my apartment where I write and make demos. I think social media has been useful but I don’t take it too seriously. If I think about it too much it makes me anxious so I keep it pretty real and don’t try to curate it too much. I love when people reach out and say they’ve been listening to my music, we DM a lot I feel like they’ve become friends to me J
Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be a musician? What do you think motivates you day in and day out? How has that drive changed since you first starting writing songs?
I’ve always known I wanted to sing and perform, writing has always been something that I’ve used as an outlet so it all came together pretty naturally. For me it’s always just been a way to express myself. I was really shy as a kid so it was sort of a way for me to break out of my shell. To this day I find myself sort of manifesting the type of person I want to be in my music. It’s all very personal so it’s always crazy (and a relief!) when people say they can relate.
How do you think your hometown has influenced the kind of music that you make? If not, why is that?
I grew up listening to WXPN and then interned there when I was in college. For me that was my first glimpse into a music scene that wasn’t super mainstream. It made the music industry a lot more appealing to me and a lot less corny and overwhelming.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Was your family and friends always supportive of this career choice? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
Music has definitely always been important but I wouldn’t say it was always a focus. My family and friends all appreciate music for sure but no one I knew was making music or working in the industry. For me it was always sort of just my own private thing I did on the side until I started to put myself out there, then I started making friends with producers and other musicians but I think to me making music was very personal. I’m grateful for that because I think it’s maybe why the stuff I write is really real and unfiltered.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all? Is there anything you wish you could go back and tell your younger self about this industry?
I’d say something that’s difficult for me is the business of it all. It’s hard to separate your emotions and not take things personally when your art is so closely connected with who you are as a person. I feel like I’m just starting to sort of kind of SLIGHTLY figure things out, I’m not sure that I’d tell my younger self anything because I’m happy with where I am and what I’m doing! Maybe I’d say “dump him” lol
Let’s talk about your newest BMG single, “Won’t Make Me Cry.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it compares to anything else that you have released?
This song is really different from the other music I’ve put out. My last EP was very thought out and perfected in the sense that there were multiple versions of all the demos and a lot went in to getting each song to where they were. This was a song my producer Will Baker and I just sort of freestyled on a whim at the end of the session, it just kind of hits different. For me, the process of making music is the best part so finding different ways of making music is super rewarding.
What was it like making the music video for “Won’t Make Me Cry”? How creatively involved with the overall process were you?
It was fun! Sydney Hard really came through with the creative direction. Because the entire country was on lockdown we had the idea to just film as much as we could and send it to Hassan Rashid who is INSANELY talented. Sydney, my best friend Lily and I took a bunch of weird borderline unusable footage- Hassan was the one who really pulled it all together. He added a bunch of animation and just edited it to be a lot more interesting. I just wanted it to feel true to the quarantine moment without it being boring and expected.
What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future? Who has consistently been inspiring you and the music that you make?
It’s funny because I used to just dream of having friends I could work with, people I could bounce ideas off of and send demos to. The majority of my friends aren’t in music, and then when I did start to make friends with collaborators a lot of times it just felt professional and not super personal. Sometimes it gets lonely when you’re in your own creative bubble so now that I’ve really started to build relationships with these people I feel BLESSED. I’m really grateful to work with the people I do and get to call a lot of them friends, especially Sydney, Will and my manager Steve! They make me want to work harder and be better because they’re so good at what they do.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I was honestly really scared to put out this song. I cried on the phone with my manager for approx. 30 minutes the day before it came out. I hope people know it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to put yourself out there- you’ll be okay. <3