An Interview With The Rising Singer-Songwriter and Multi-Instrumentalist, ANNA DELLARIA!
Posted On 23 Aug 2019
Meet the San Francisco-born and Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and performer Anna Dellaria!
Growing up in a “non-musical” household, she taught herself how to sing by studying the likes of Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, Kurt Cobain, Robert Plant, and even the Sister Act soundtrack. Amidst a tumultuous upbringing beset by physical and mental abuse and bouts of anxiety fueled by a broken home, music became a refuge.
Accepted into USC’s prestigious Thornton School of Music, she devoted ten hours a day to honing her voice—often sleeping in the practice rooms. Through the program, she caught the attention of early supporters and industry icons Lenny Waronker and Rob Cavallo, while performing backup vocals for John Fogerty, Chaka Khan and more.
By sophomore year, she released her debut single “Sudden” produced by Brian Jones (Vampire Weekend, Gwen Stefani), which garnered coverage from DJ Booth, The Four Oh Five, and Indie Shuffle, among others. 2017’s voice note recording of her demo “Bolder” landed a prominent sync on Younger and surpassed 385K organic Spotify streams in a matter of months, in addition to igniting collaboration with Shazam and Apple Music for the songs official release. With a rising profile, Ethan Allen tapped her to sing during a national campaign aired during the 2018 Academy® Awards.
Everything set the stage for the release of her single “I Choose Me.” Selected for 6 New Music Friday Playlists across Spotify – her voice captivates during intimate verses before booming with unbridled power on the refrain. With raw emotionality and practiced delivery, she strikes the perfect balance between intensity and talent. Now, with over 950k digital streams to date, Dellaria is set to release her first 3 singles from the debut EP expected this Fall.
“At My Worst” is Dellaria’s newest track released.
When asked about the song, the singer explains, “I hope this song enables everybody to be their boldest selves and celebrate their quirks or imperfections as the tools that allow us to be stronger, better and so much more. Most importantly, I hope the song inspires people to grab a friend or drink (or both!), and yell “Want me at my best? Then take me At My Worst” and vow to never settle for less, and to celebrate their “crazy” or “weird” sides.”
Learn more about Anna Dellaria in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! Where does this interview find you?
Thank you so much for having me! I’m actually in Los Angeles at the moment, but about to head up to The Bay Area where I’m originally from for a show.
Now that we are more then half-way through the year, how has 2019 been treating you? What are some goals that you have for yourself this year? How close are you to reaching them?
It’s really unbelievable how fast time moves! 2019 has been treating me well I’d say. Nothing too crazy (yet), and honestly just feeling really fulfilled with all of the music I’m making and collaborators I’m working with, as well as preparing to release all of this upcoming music!
Some goals have been to release 4 singles (which we’re all good to do! :), as well as just start to share myself more as an artist and songwriter. For a while I had this idea that artists had to have this feel of “celebrity” or “exclusivity” that felt very private, but I’m realizing the best way to connect with listeners is by being authentic and honest (about good and bad!) – so I’ve been making that a consistent goal and also working that daily.
Other outside goals have been to book a flight to NYC (check!), donate more blood (keeping up with that so far), travel more (still working on that!) etc.
Growing up, how important was music in your life? Can you recall the moment when you decided that you wanted to be a musician? Was it an easy or difficult choice to make?
Music is everything. It’s my soul, my brain, my body and is engrained in me so deeply it scares me haha. As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to sing and perform. I would put on shows for family (with cardboard box offices and curtains set up) and sell tickets to them at around 5 or 6. Following some wildness in my childhood with domestic abuse, and just general trauma – music became much more than a passion and a literal way to escape what was going on at home. Any time I sing it’s this crazy release that I wish I could explain to everyone well. However, not everyone feels that way so instead, I try to move others with the music I make in hopes that they too feel some bit of the impact it’s made on me.
So that being said – it wasn’t easy or difficult as much as it just was the only choice haha.
Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else? If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing? Would you be as fulfilled in life?
Not really, no. I love psychology and anthropology (just general habits and statistics about us as humans and why/how we do what we do and how we’re here). I think I’d be fulfilled in some sense, but honestly I’ll always keep making singing and performing. Regardless of the tangible success in my career, I’ll never stop writing, singing, performing.
What has been the biggest surprise so far about making music your career? What has been an unexpected or welcome challenge to it all?
Staying connected with the child-like spirit that started it all for me. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in “what’s in” or whether or not people approve of the music, of you! When I was 5 or 6 I didn’t give a d*mn about who came to my little cardboard shows or what they thought haha – I just wanted to give them the opportunity to enjoy in what I already knew I loved and was doing.
I used to think that just musicians or artists felt this existential crisis about our work, but in being a 20-something floating around Los Angeles you meet so many incredible people in all industries that struggle with the same worry and wonder. That’s been a really cool gift and realization to know that we truly are all battling ourselves and also trying to navigate life. Maybe we should do more of that … together…
Let’s talk about your single “At My Worst.” What was the inspiration for this track? How do you think it compares to your previous songs? How would you say that these new songs prepare listeners for your upcoming EP set for release this Fall?
“At My Worst” is a really sassy, pop-bop-y song that was inspired by this idea that the worst parts of ourselves sometimes allow for the best, and we can’t deny that. So rather than excuse or apologize away our quirks, flaws or insecurities why don’t we just celebrate them for allowing us to also be bold and big and amazing.
The sentiment is similar to “I Choose Me”, and also keeps the thread of trying to love and empower yourself amongst navigating the craziness that is life. Every song on the EP has a perspective on just that. Whether it’s screwing up in relationships, or just deciding to say “f*ck it, this is me!” or even acknowledging the vulnerability and fear: all sides are represented in this debut EP and I’m really proud of that.
While it’s difficult to pick, can you choose a few of your favorite songs on this EP and how did they come to be on this collection?
Oh man, because of the above it really is difficult! They’re all so unique in their own way. I will always love “I Choose Me” – I think it’s a great balance of the production I love, songwriting and vocal performance. However, there’s this song called “Sorry Doesn’t Work” that’s so stripped back and really showcases the writing and the vocal in a completely new light. I can’t wait to share that one 🙂
Where can people see you perform next? Do you plan to tour more this summer or later this year? What has been a favorite performance of yours so far?
I am dying to tour! I realize I have to wait ’till there’s a bit more music out to really tour what I want to, but there are definitely some dates up and down the West Coast that we’re looking at to start 🙂
A favorite performance recently was a SoFar Sounds Show I did up in San Jose. The audience was so engaged and I had so many people share with me that the music affected them deeply. That’s why I do this so that made my whole week. Also cool to know in beginning to release those songs now.
How do you think you have grown as a musician since you first started making music?
Intention. Previously, I wanted to do everything all the time and tell all the stories in one single song. That made for about 4 different rhythms, 6 different genre influences, and one really fuzzy plot! haha. It’s been really amazing to look back and feel good about the growth that’s happened to lead me to a place where each song has a purpose and I know that I can just make more if I want to showcase other sides. I guess it’s really just patience with it all.
What has it been like keeping up with your social media accounts and all of the different platforms? Is it hard to stay up to date on it all? What would you say is your favorite way to connect with your fans now? What has social media done for your career so far?
In all honesty, I despise Social Media for the negative impact it’s had on so many – especially our youth. The comparison issue is way too real and unfortunately deeply affecting the well being of millions of people. I love that it can be really great in connecting listeners or even family and friends, but I don’t know that that outweighs the toxicity it’s created when you open up (and soon become addicted to) an app where all you see are people showcasing their “highlight reel”: their best selves, best memories, etc. all perfected and edited to look amazing. That’s not reality.
I love DM’s and getting messages from listeners! maybe we can all go back to AIM or something where all you had was a little dramatic quote/status and some music to attach haha.
Who are some of your favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? Who would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
This question is always so hard! I am forever in awe of Beyonce for not only her voice and performance, but the way she’s so gracefully dipped her toe in every genre of music and done so artistically and seamlessly. I also love Sufjan Stevens for his lyrics that sometimes hit too hard, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Lauryn Hill, Carol King!
I would love to work with Jack Antonoff. I think his skills as a musician, producer, writer, artist etc. are unbelievable and I feel like that’d be a really cool collaborative experience.
If you had an unlimited budget and your schedule was free, what would your dream music video look like?
Oh no! This is so hard! haha. I honestly don’t know exactly but I know that it’d be somewhere that offers the best of all things (city, nature, culture, etc.) and be almost like a short film in terms of length and plot. I’d want it to really showcase a different perspective of the artistic vision and intent while also commenting on an issue that needs support. There’s so much going on in the world, and I think videos can have a great impact when done right to bring awareness to those issues whether it’s climate change, politics, relationships, inequality and more.
What has been the coolest place/TV show/commercial that you have heard a song of yours? Where would you still love to hear a future song of yours played?
I’d say that hearing a Voice Memo I recorded on a train going to San Diego air in the finale of “Younger” when the two main characters have this big moment was the coolest. I was completely surprised and it was really amazing to see a song / just music in general really add to the story of a TV Show or just compliment the story well.
I’d love to place my song in a commercial for empowerment of womxn! If Elizabeth Warren or Kamala Harris wanted to use my song – I’d lose my ish for real lol. Even brands like Nike or foundations like Women and Girls, etc. would be amazing to be apart.
At the end of the day, what do you hope people take away from your music?
I hope they are moved in some way. Whether it inspires you to dance and vow never to compromise yourself for anyone else – or forces you to tear up acknowledging that sometimes we make mistakes or lose relationships, etc. I just want to move people and I’m so excited to hopefully do just that with these new songs.
Would you like to share anything else with our readers about your music?
Thank you for listening. Your support means the world and I can’t wait to share this next single, “Mama Said” on August 27th! More shows coming soon and if there’s a city you’d love to see me perform in DM me as we’re planning the next shows 🙂