We chatted with producer and electronic artist Annie Elise about her new single “Again and Again“. She also goes into detail about her creative process, helpful advice she’s received, and much more. Check it out below!
Image credit: Madison Jonap
What can you tell us about your new song, “Again and Again”?
AE: When my mom first heard the song, her first question was “who is this about?” and the honest answer is that it isn’t really about a specific person or situation. “Again And Again” is a song inspired by navigating the ups and downs of new relationships in the digital age. So many of my close friends have been having the “what are we?” talk with friends they want to be more than friends with. It’s exhilarating, exhausting, and confusing for everyone, and it can often feel like an endless cycle of “are we friends?” or “are we more than friends?” until someone says something. This song is meant to encourage and sympathize with anyone who finds themselves in such a situation.
What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
AE: When musicians are first starting out, it’s super easy to get caught up in the rush of what an artist is “supposed” to be. But keeping the focus on the music and staying genuine in all aspects of the artistry is key. If you are writing music that you can’t relate to, or you’re trying to be someone else during your shows, people will notice. It can take a while to fully embrace yourself and your full potential as an artist, especially if you’re just starting out, but following your heart and staying true to yourself is so important as cheesy as that sounds! Say what you want to and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks.
What is your favorite song to perform live?
AE: Currently, my favorite song to perform is “Open Eyes,” which is the first single I ever released! It’s been so cool to watch my artist project grow while having that song remain a constant in my musical life. I felt invincible when I wrote it in my bedroom back home in PA, and I still feel invincible when I perform it. Some of my favorite places we’ve gotten to perform have been opening for ill.Gates, for a special feature on the Berklee College of Music YouTube channel, at the Springboard Midwest festival, and at Berklee Fall 2021 Convocation. That song feels like an old friend, and I’m so lucky to have it by my side.
Can you describe your creative process when you’re writing new music?
AE: As an artist/producer, most of the creative direction for my own music is left to myself. That’s a blessing and a curse – on one hand, it’s really nice to have full creative control, but on the other side it can be harder to take a step back and listen to the music for what it is rather than the critical ear I tend to listen with as a producer. But in general, I tend to write what I want to hear. Most of my songs start by me just freestyle singing over the beat and finding what my brain wants to hear next, and most of the time the song gets done in that session! I’ve only ever rewritten one line in my own songs after the writing session (it was in “Again And Again,” but I’m going to leave the exact line to your imagination!) and I would credit that to the method of writing what I want to hear!
On the production side, I do the same kind of thing but it manifests itself a little differently. I have a neurological condition called synesthesia that causes me to physically see sound and hear color, and it definitely plays a big part in the production. The guitar loop in “Again And Again” (played by the wonderful King Nivo) is dark blue and red, but on its own it is a little thin. On the choruses, I wanted more color – so we filled out the spectrum with a heavy sub bass and a lot of backing vocals. Instead of just relying on my ears, synesthesia lets me also use my eyes to make decisions. I’m very grateful for that.
What has been the best advice someone has given you about music?
AE: I’ve been fortunate to get some amazing advice from so many different people in the industry – teachers, friends, mentors, etc. – but the advice that stuck with me the most? “Trust your instincts,” as told to me by one of my first production mentors. I think about that advice often. It’s so easy to get in your own head and second guess every aspect of being a producer and an artist, especially in an industry where I am a gender minority. Remembering that my instincts as a musician are reliable is incredibly grounding.
Which musician would you like to collaborate with in the future?
AE: Just one? Man, there’s so many. Producing for Remi Wolf or Lila Drew would be a dream. I’d love to collaborate with Bad Snacks or Moonchild as an artist. But every collaboration I’ve been involved with so far has been really special – I just love making music with others!
Listen to “Again and Again” here
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