Posted On 16 Apr 2015
Tag: 105's BFD, 30 Seconds To Mars, Aaron Axelsen, All Access, All Access Music Group, Anya, Artist Interview, Bay Area, Best Breakout Music Acts of 2012, BFD, Bobby Ozuna, Brandon van Auken, Captain Murphy, CBS News, Chopin, David Dutton, DDT, Diana Cortez, Diplo, Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, Foxes, Frank Door, GetDown, Grammy, Gwen Stefani, happy, J Dilla, Jade Castrinos, Jay Aguilar, Jimmy Eat World, Julia Roberts, Kickstarter, Kimbra, Knocksteady, LA Women, linda, Little Dragon, Low End Theory, Lykke Li, Maker Studios, Maybe, Moscow, No Doubt, One Less, Pretty Woman, Raphael Saadiq, Runnin, Russian, Ryan Cox, Ryan Leslie, San Fransisco, Scriabin, Shoreline Ampitheatre, Stone Temple Pilots, TATU, Tea Leaf Dancers, TED Talks, YouTube
Moscow-born, Anya Kvitka is an incredibly promising singer-songwriter. Her background and 20 years of classical piano training have certainly paved the way for true talent. Anya’s 2011 live performance of Runnin’, recorded at Knocksteady (now Maker Studios), was ranked in the YouTube Top 100 list the day of its release.
She has completed a successful Kickstarter project to fund her latest two singles, “Maybe” and “One Less.” With her band, the getDown, she has opened for Grammy® winning artists such as Foxes and Ryan Leslie. She was part of the biggest musical festival in the San Francisco Bay Area’s BFD — for 30 Seconds to Mars, Diplo, Jimmy Eat World, and Stone Temple Pilots. Anya has also been a featured artist at TEDx Talks Bay Area.
To learn more about this gifted musician, check out the following interview with Anya:
I understand that you are from Moscow originally and moved to the states when you were 7. Do you think there is any Russian influence to your music? Would you like there to be in the future?
I think the Russian influence in my music is mainly from a disciplinary standpoint. My culture is pretty notorious for being pretty disciplinarian LOL, but honestly, it has helped me constantly move forward with music. I have also kind of used some traditional Russian folk choral music as inspiration for a few songs, for sure.
Tell me about getting on CBS News’ coveted list as part of the Best Breakout Music Acts of 2012. How did that all come together?
Honestly, I just saw it online one day….I had no clue I was even in the running. It was definitely an honor and a very humbling experience — to see your hard work pay off is always rewarding, and always kind of reassurring. I think any artist can tell you that self-doubt is part of the creative journy, and having such a well known organization to acknowledge your work is always a great experience.
I recently watched several of your videos from 2011. How do you think you have changed or transformed since those days?
It’s definitely been a little while since those videos came out! I think, honestly, nothing has really changed for me because I’ve always just been the type of person to keep pushing myself past my comfort zone, past my boundaries. I always try to take my music and my visuals to the next levels. It’s a challenge, but I think also the nature of my artistry.
The Bay Area music and arts scene is amazing. I would never have been able to cultivate my craft in the way that I have without having such an eclectic environment around me. I’ve been so blessed to grow up here. I do feel, though, that LA truly is the epicenter of entertainment, and in terms of being in the business of music, I think is just much more fast paced. But I love the bay. It’s such a large part of who I am and what I do. I do think a move to LA is in the near future…but only so I can blossom in my career and buy a house in Oakland or Berkeley eventually
You have a song called “LA Women”. Can you describe who you think is the LA Women?
The song was kind of inspired by the movie Pretty Woman. Moreso, I’d say, Julia Roberts’ character… I kind of wrote it having a hustler type of character in mind. Obviously a woman haha. But yes, in my opinion, an LA woman is kind of someone who goes after what she wants, doesn’t take no for an answer, and is super ambitious. She knows her worth and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty.
What are your favorite songs to perform? Which songs are you most proud of?
I love performing a cover we do for a song called “Tea Leaf Dancers” by Flying Lotus… It’s always been one of my favorite songs, and it kind of lets me just vibe out on stage and bond with the audience…it gets the feels going.
I’m most proud of some of the new material I’ve written…I feel it’s my best work to date, but I haven’t released it yet
I love performing with my band. The show instantly gets so much more hype. The band just creates a complete show experience — musically, visually, everything.
What artists have consistently inspired you and your music?
There are so many, of course. But off the top of my head — Erykah Badu, J. Dilla, Flying Lotus, Chopin, No Doubt, Scriabin, Lykke Li, Little Dragon, a lot of Russian bands too — DDT, TATU, linda. And so many more. Haha.
You’ve been able to collaborate with a lot of talented musicians. What experience has really stood out to you?
I think honestly one of the first times I went to this studio in Oakland — my producer, P Y R ∆ M I D took me to Bobby Ozuna’s studio; and he’s worked with so many legends (Raphael Saadiq, Erykah Badu etc.) Seeing the Grammy’s he’s gotten and that they were for some of the songs that made me want to be a singer, that was definitely a crazy experience.
Who would you love to work with?
SO many. But I love Kimbra…she’s bananas. Flying Lotus and Erykah Badu have always been dreams. And Gwen Stefani, that’d be a dream.
Your music videos all seem to be very artistic with different styles and themes. Where do you get the inspiration for them?
Inspiration is always super random. Some melody line, or a lyric will just inspire some visual in my head and then I build the entire concept of the video from that one little image in my head.
The best thing is the end result — it’s always so amazing to see a vision that was in your head for so long come to fruition. But the process can definitely be grueling…it’s usually a super long day and preparing all the outfits etc for it is actually kind of difficult sometimes! But it’s so rewarding, I wouldn’t rather do anything else. It’s really an amazing process. I’ve also been so blessed to work with the directors (Brandon van Auken, David Dutton, Frank Door), the hair stylist (Jasmine Lazzarino) , and make up artists (Jade Molina, Ryan Cox, Diana Cortez) I’ve worked with. They are all so good at what they do and the videos would never even happen without their contributions!
Thus far, what’s a favorite memory or something funny that’s taken place (in-studio, onstage, or elsewhere)?
I have two — both were on stage — one was when we played Low End Theory in Los Angeles. We ended up opening for Captain Murphy and there were SO many people there, it was a bananas show. Just amazing experience.
The second best memory is definitely us playing Live 105’s BFD, Aaron Axelsen is such a huge support of my music and has really helped me by putting us on some amazing shows — BFD was definitely one of them. It was Shoreline Ampitheatre’s biggest selling show, so many people and the crowd was so responsive and hype. It was amazing.
I think I just want people to feel something and connect to the music. I want people to be able to play my songs 20, 30, 40 years from now and still remember how they felt the first time they heard my music.
When it comes to your career, what are some of your 2015 goals?
-I want to go on tour this year!
-Also I’m working on a few EPs in preparation for an album.
-Mainly, though, I just want to continue creating music and being able to reach as many people as possible.
All photos courtesy of Jay Aguilar- @abcdefghijayjay