Monday, November 16, 2020

Annie Elise Visits Section 36!

Photo by Jordan Leigh
Section 36 Music has another visitor! Annie Elise is a wonderful singer, and I was so glad she wanted to visit with us and discuss her upcoming single, her goals, and more. I’m sure you’ll love everything she has to say.

So, let's see what happens when Annie Elise visits Section 36!

I’m really excited about your upcoming single “Open Eyes”. What can you tell me about it?
“Open Eyes” marks the beginning of a new era for me as an artist. I’ve been learning so much about electronic production, and I’ve been writing songs more. In the past, I’ve used these things to collaborate behind-the-scenes with other artists- but now, I get to release this work under my own artist profile, which is both exciting and incredibly rewarding to me. 
The song was written about the stage near the end of a relationship where things are getting old and you begin to drift apart. This song in particular was inspired by a friend of mine who was going through these emotions in her relationship. She called me one night, and I didn't feel like I had much advice, so I wrote "Open Eyes" quickly to try to sympathize. When I sent her the song a few hours later, she cried - the power of listening and understanding is an important one. The line "I used to dream that you'd think of me the same way I do ('cause I know that I do)" really resounded with her, and others who have worked on this production with me.

You’re currently attending Berklee College of Music. What’s the biggest thing that opportunity is providing for your career?
Berklee has been a wonderful place. I’m sure if you talk to any
Photo by
Jordan Leigh

Berklee student, they’ll tell you that the networks you make there are invaluable - and I would say the same thing! So many things right now would not be possible without the people I have met at school. I worked really closely on Open Eyes with Sebastian Olaya, a fellow Berklee student, and we’ve become a really great team. It’s great to have such smart and talented classmates who push you to be better at what you do. My professors have also been wonderful assets - I’m currently completing a studio internship with one of my professors, and I’ve loved every second. 

Who/what would you consider to be your biggest musical influences?
Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of electronic artists that kind of swing between functioning as a producer and as an artist. One of my biggest inspirations lately has been Bad Snacks. I’ve had her Neat Tape 2 on repeat for the last month or so. I love how she is able to make her synthesized lofi and hip hop beats appeal to a commercial audience. That’s really inspiring to me, as a female artist/producer who is hoping to accomplish the same thing. There also isn’t a huge surplus of female music producers in the industry, so every time I see someone who is absolutely killing the game I’ll really get into their music or whatever they are doing. It’s really motivating! I’ve also been a frequent listener of Spotify’s Anti Pop playlist, which is home to the same type of music. It’s not exactly pop, yet it’s commercially viable enough to be widely listened to while also staying incredibly innovative. I’m a big fan. 

You gave a TEDx talk on “Seeing Sound: How Synesthesia Can Change Our Thinking”. What was that like to put together?
Photo by
Jordan Leigh
The TEDx talk was probably the most unexpected thing I’ve experienced so far. When the event coordinator, Bob Vasile, reached out to me about speaking, I really thought I would just be speaking about my neurological condition to an audience of about 300 people. If you aren’t familiar with synesthesia, it’s a neurological condition that causes two or more senses of the brain to be connected. For me, it causes me to physically see sound and literally hear color. While writing the talk, it was suggested to me that I should consider talking about how the condition plays a role in my production. Before that point I hadn’t really thought about that before - but synesthesia does play a huge role in my music. Often when writing or producing I’ll look at what I’ve done and I can tell from the colors what is missing. If it’s missing yellow, or if the blues are two overwhelming, there are things I can do sonically to fix it. So in that way, I guess I use synesthesia as another set of fresh ears. Before the talk, I had never considered that to be beneficial. Now, it’s one of the biggest reasons artists ask me to mix their music! I was really passionate and careful about speaking my truth about the condition while also providing a larger context for the general population. I never expected that the talk would be viewed so many times - I think it’s currently the most-watched TEDx talk on Synesthesia that exists. One time a professor showed it as part of their curriculum in my class. I’m so happy that my talk resounded with so many people, but it sure is surprising to see just how far it went. 

Other than COVID, what would you say is your biggest career challenge?
Oh man, the answer that changes depending on the week! To
Photo by
Jordan Leigh

be quite honest, right now it’s been a little bit of insecurity surrounding the artist project. I absolutely love what I’m doing, but after working for other artists for so long it is sometimes hard to feel confident about myself as an artist. I often get caught up in comparing what I am doing to unrealistic expectations I set for myself. For example, there are a lot of things that don’t overlap between a producer’s job and the job of the artist! Personal promotion and a social media presence is one. I sometimes feel like I’m missing something that other artists just know instinctively, because they’ve always been an artist. Of course that is not true, but there’s a huge level of vulnerability that comes with it. Transitioning from working behind the scenes to being the artist is definitely difficult. I have faith that it will get easier with time. 

What are your immediate career goals?
I hope to continue producing music for myself and others. I get such joy out of writing and creating the sounds to go with a song. Sometimes the song you write isn’t meant for you as an artist, and other times it is! Open Eyes is an instance where I was the artist that I wanted to have the song. I have a goal to write and produce ten other songs with my production partner by the end of the year - and who knows where those songs will end up? But Open Eyes is just the beginning for Annie Elise as an artist. I’m very excited and incredibly grateful that it was able to happen. 


I definitely want to hear that single! (In fact, you should all go pre save it now!)

As always, I want to thank Annie for visiting, and for sending along the pictures to accompany the interview.

I know you’ll all want to follow along with Annie to see what she's up to. The best way is to follow her online on Instagram and visit her website. They're great ways to make sure you don't miss a thing!

You can also visit her Section 36 Music page. There you'll find more links, pictures, and samples of her music. It's a great way to enjoy everything Annie has to offer all in one place.

Thanks again Annie, and good luck in reaching your goals! 

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