R&b/soul singer/songwriter ANE ("Ann-nee") unveiled her new single “It Is What It Is” on April 30th.
Produced by Malcolm Fong, “It Is What It Is” tells an autobiographical tale about maneuvering through the fast-paced, non-committal, modern era of dating.
“I want people to relate because the feeling I try to convey is something we’ve all been through,” says ANE.
Inspired by the likes of Donny Hathaway, Etta James, Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, and Nina Simone, the New Jersey native will be releasing her new EP Lonely Lovers Fantasy on May 20th.
“It Is What It Is” is available on major streaming platforms.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
Heyyyyy, I'm Ane, pronounce (Ann-nee), singer-songwriter, vocal arranger, freedom fiend, part time Jersey girl/part time NYC girl on a quest to figure out this thing called life.
What's your story?
Well, my story is constantly evolving as it should be! But basically, I have this thing I do...sing and write songs and I can't seem to get away from it. So, here I am still trying my best to leave pieces of myself <3
Could you tell us a little bit about your childhood?
Sure... I grew up in Bergen County, NJ. Born and raised. My parents are both immigrant FOBs from South Korea. They're very traditional. Growing up I was definitely the black sheep in a very strict household, sneaking in and out of my 2nd floor window to go out with my friends lol. I remember we didn't have TV for a lot of my childhood and I would always go over my friends' houses and be so jealous of all their Nickelodeon and Disney shows. I also grew up going to church every Sunday as most Koreans do... but now my mom is the only who’s still going. Without getting too much into it, church is not really my thing but I definitely developed a love for singing from singing at church, so I'm grateful for that.
Growing up, what were you passionate about?
Hmm.. seems so far away...lol. I was always into creating actually. I used to try to sew together my Halloween costumes and bell-bottom jeans. I'd also run around our apartment belting out all the songs by 90s powerhouse singers like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, LeeAnn Rimes, Celine Dion etc.
When did your love for art began?
I think I was always pretty introspective as a child, writing in journals since I was very young and singing at church. My mom being the tiger mom she is, made me take a lot of lessons in things like piano and Kumon. I used to hate our piano lessons for some reason but I'm really grateful she made me do it because although I'm not a pianist pianist, I can understand basic chord structure and voicings and how they can really affect the color to a song.
When did you start singing and writing songs?
As I said, I was always writing in journals and singing in high school choir but I don't think I really understood how much I wanted to choose this as my journey until I was around 16, 17 when I decided to pursue classical voice in music college. I made it halfway through my degree and then somehow realized I needed to try to put my poetry to music. I really can't recall how this dawned on me. It just kind of happened. I think opera was too theatrical for me. I wanted to sing about things that were more relatable to today's time and to me, personally.
When did you start getting involved in the music industry?
Still not sure how involved in the "music industry" I am. But, I guess the best answer to that is when I decided to take control of my own career and future by staying consistent with the art, networking, branding, and marketing...instead of constantly waiting for some magical industry exec to set off my career.
When did you realize you wanted to be an artist and release your original music? What did your friends and family think of it?
I've wanted to be an artist ever since I stopped singing opera but I was so lost in terms of sound and my songwriting was really underdeveloped. I think I really tried to release my own original music starting from my EP "Bitan" in 2017. Some of my friends understood it and loved it but some didn't quite get it since it was a reflection of a darker period in my life. I still don't think my parents have heard it lol. They actually don't listen to a ton of music. The only time my mom got real involved and excited was when I was in a singing competition in a local Korean radio station.
"It Is What It Is" is your latest single. What's the story behind this song?
Out of all the songs I've been writing recently, it was the one I felt was the realest. It was just the way I felt so I chose that as the single.
When did you start working on it? Could you describe us the songwriting process?
I think I wrote it in... January or February if I'm not mistaken. Each song is unique to itself so I can't say there is a perfect formula for the songwriting process. But I usually start off with a melody. Record it a few different times without thinking too much and just see what flows what feels natural and then I choose the best one. Then I play the track in the background and just freestyle by typing out words, lyrics, sayings. I kind of compare it to thrift shopping (I am a thrift junkie). I shop around and hunt for treasure (lyrically and melodically) and then I gather it all together and sort it all out, cut things here, paste things there and it becomes a song.
Malcolm Fong produced the song. How's it like to work with him? How did you guys meet?
Malcolmmmm! (fongbeats) Lol. He's great, super talented. Beautiful piano playing AND he can also play the guitar and bass. Took a second to mold our sounds together but he really came through on "It Is What It Is." His piano in the beginning. Real tears. lol. We met at a show few years ago and followed up online but we didn't start working together until recently.
What do you like the most about this song?
The lyrics. It's a real conversation.
What is your goal for this new single?
I'd really like to get it to the point where it spreads and people are Shazaming it and playlisting it and genuinely just want to play it back on repeat. I want people to relate because the feeling I try to convey is something we’ve all been through.
What can you tell us about the artwork?
Artwork by Yasin Muhammad (@yfmphoto). Had a ton of fun on this shoot. He also shot my artwork for my upcoming EP, "Lonely Lovers Fantasy." For this shoot, he took a piece of see-through cloth with different patterns and placed it over his lens to get that dreamy, hazy look. He really understood my low-key, dreamy vibe/personality and tried to capture it.
How would you describe ANE, the artist?
ANE the artist is a reflection of Annie the person. It's real but it's the reflection of my past, always a few steps behind Annie in real-time. ANE is celebrating the art of the past and presenting it to the people while Annie the person is taking in the moments and creating it as it comes.
Who's helping you build your artistry and your sound?
I am in control of my artistry and sound but I couldn't do it without the talented people I have crossed paths with. At the end of the day, this artistry and sound is a collaboration so I owe it all to the producers, mixing/mastering engineers, recording engineers, photographers, and marketing professionals.
Who inspires you the most, musically and in life?
Artists and people who are strong spirited but aren't afraid to show their vulnerability.
As an artist, what message do you want to convey to the world?
No particular message. I'm not a prophet or any sort of spiritually superior person. So, I just try to keep it real and write/speak/pray messages to the universe to use me as a vessel.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
Hm...many things really haha. I think what would make the world a better place is compassion. To really try to truly understand what it would be like in the other person's shoes. That goes for anyone from random strangers to coworkers to fighting with your loved ones. And to understand the art of forgiveness vs. letting go.
What biggest lessons have you learnt as a human being and as an artist?
One particular thing that comes to mind is to never give up. I know sometimes it seems easier to just give in to your depression and stop trying. But never stop trying. Not just career-wise but I'm talking about in life. Never stop trying to become a better person, to love harder, to treat your body with respect, to wake up everyday and try to really appreciate life and the people around you. Keep going and don't give up.
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