RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON ARTIST ANA SILVERA
Hi, Ana thanks for joining us today. Introduce us to you and your musical history?
It’s just me, solo artist, singing and playing various instruments, then working with the people I most want to work with depending on the album or project. For me, the act of songwriting helps to orientate me, to carve out an inner sense of ‘home’ wherever i find myself. And that’s been quite some places as I’ve been quite nomadic and have lived in a lot of places – New York, Copenhagen, Berlin and my hometown London. I’ve helmed a number of tours and collaborations over the past decade and been privileged to work with some incredibly talented folk including Alan Hampton (who sings on my forthcoming album), Imogen Heap, Josephine Stephenson, Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy), Maya Youssef, Aidan O’Rourke (LAU) and last but not least my partner, the renowned double-bassist Jasper Høiby.
If you had to describe your music, what would you say?
Honestly, I struggle with this question. I think a lot of musicians do, unless they’ve absolutely nailed their elevator pitches! I usually plump for ‘alt-folk’…like my music exists in a folk sound world, and that’s what my voice sounds closest to, genre-wise. But I’m not singing folk repertoire, I’m performing my own original music, with a lot of different influences that probably comes a lot from growing up in London and the bombardment of sounds and cultures I was exposed to (in the best possible way…).
What makes you stand out as an artist?
Probably my focus on lyrics. That’s why I’ve called my album ‘The Fabulist’ – meaning a ‘teller of tales’. I love a good story or poem. I love it when words are carefully chosen, and chosen specifically to illuminate thoughts and memories and capture very specific, small moments. That’s what i strive to do. What made you decide to start being a musician?
Miss Kiverstein, my music teacher at school. She was terrifying but she made me realise I might have a talent for singing that not everyone had so it probably started there, age 11.
This album is very personal, is talking about personal topics something that you intentionally do as a way to externalise your feelings and emotions, or does it come organically?
That’s a nice question. I think often my songs start with an insistent image in my mind or a sensory recall like taste or smell or an unidentified emotion that exerts a pressure. If I am able to give myself time and space to unravel that, there is often a song waiting to emerge. It might not necessarily be a very successful song, or maybe it’ll be one of those magical ones that hatch fully formed. But there’s a feeling of something waiting to be born and it’s always good to follow that instinct – even if it doesn’t turn out to be a song to be shared, but just to help me make sense of things in my own consciousness.
You have a UK tour coming up: What was the most fun you have had on stage in your career?
There was a moment during the last London show I played – a Christmas show at St Pancras Old Church. As I sang the final bars of the closing song, the church bells chimed exactly in key and there was this sense of mystical alignment. That was fun! And just a few months before COVID hit. So my upcoming album launch at Bush Hall on 19 May is my first London show since the pandemic, which is crazy…
What was the worst experience on stage? Many years back, I got booked to play a festival gig in the next tent to a super loud Balkan party band…
What’s your favourite song to play live and why?
It all depends on the band configuration. I’m so excited for my upcoming UK tour in May as I will be on the road with three other musicians in the band which opens up so many new worlds of possibility and freedom. So I’ll be able to answer that question after the final gig of this tour.
Right now, what’s pissing you off the most?
On a personal level, Brexit. On a global level: insatiable greed.
Talk me through the thought process of this album.
How can I make the best album possible with these songs I’ve been performing, some for quite some years now. What about working with a great producer who can also play a shit ton of instruments that I can’t play? *Looks at shortlist* *remembers I’m friends with Gerry Diver* hi Gerry please can you work with me on my new album? Yes ok great.*scrabbles around for money, writes a million funding applications*. Repeat process with musicians. COVID happens. Long delays. The world is semi-normal again, album released on 22 April 2022. The end.
What was the recording process like?
A lot of fun. The bulk of it was an intense week in Gerry’s studio in South London with various musicians popping by. Then I self-recorded my vocals in Copenhagen,
What was the biggest learning curve in writing the album?
There wasn’t really, because ‘The Fabulist’ is a collection of songs written over quite a few years. So it wasn’t like I sat in a remote cabin to write an album – it’s more like a travelogue or a series of artifacts from my recent life, collected together. The most interesting challenge was how to produce the songs and what direction to take the songs sonically.
Would you change anything now it’s finished?
No…you can’t go there with a finished album. You go into such a crazy level of detail to get it to a point where you want to share it and then you have to just step back. It is what it is and I’m really proud of it.
What are your plans for the year ahead?
Just gigging the hell out of this record in the UK, Europe and beyond.
Tell us something about you that you think people would be surprised about?
When I was 16, I squatted in the Libyan airline embassy in Piccadilly, opposite The Ritz. I brushed my teeth by an enormous portrait of Colonel Gaddafi in a gilt frame.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?
The Fabulist is out on 22 April! I’m really excited for you to hear it wherever you listen to music.