“I´ve always been in love with you, always been in love I´ll always be in love with you…”
The concept of reincarnation and the story of romantic soulmates is just one of many topics that singer/songwriter, music producer and visual artist Anastasia Elliot is depicting on her upcoming album “La petite mort”.
“London” – her third single release off the highly anticipated LP dropped on April 13th. The contemporary rock-pop song pulls listeners in with progressive drum grooves, a strong emotional vocal performance and many twisted storytelling elements.
The track was written by Anastasia and her two co writers Cat Gravitt and Gerald O´Brien and produced by herself and Josh Crosby.
The video for “London” is still brand new and features hand-made costumes which the singer/songwriter designed herself. We were curious to chat with the indie music powerhouse and are excited to share this inspiring interview with you all:
Anastasia, thank you so much for your time and congrats on your latest release London. Tell us a bit about what the song means to you and what or who inspired it, would you?
London is the third single off of my upcoming album La Petite Mort and it’s basically about soulmates and being in love with someone across many lifetimes. I was inspired by the idea of unrequited love but decided to take it a step further. I wanted this concept to transcend many different lifetimes. Sort of a “Curse of rejection” type thing.
Love that! You co-wrote London with two successful songwriters, namely Cat Gravitt and Gerald O´Brien. How did the collaboration come to be and how long did it take to write the song?
Cat and Gerald have been long time collaborators and friends of mine. We wrote the song during an afternoon writing session. Cat was one of my very first collaborators and I love working with her. We have written many songs together. This one started to take shape during a session and we just had one of those moments of really vibing together. London was the result!
Cowriting is a big thing in your current hometown Nashville, also known as Music City. What do you love about this place and how much of an indie rock scene is there currently out there?
I moved to Nashville because of how much I loved co-writing here! There are so many talented songwriters here! The things I love about Nashville aren’t really music related anymore. I love my friends and the people that I play with here. I love the space and resources I have here to make my concepts come to life. The indie rock scene here is probably one of the things I dislike the most about Nashville. It’s not really known for cultivating rock music and many of my favorite artists skip Nashville when touring. The small rock scene that it has is very “clicky” and the infrastructure here isn’t really built around a thriving live music scene. A lot of great venues are closing and there is no sign of them being replaced. At least four great rock venues are gone for good after this year. I hope the next time you interview me I hope my answer is different but for now Nashville needs a lot of work.
Wow! I wasn´t aware. It is sad indead. I am a big rock lover myself and miss it on the radio (at least in Europe) as well. The chorus in “London” is very energetic and powerful and reminds me of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak”. Who were some of your influences growing up and who are some of your current go to artists when looking for inspiration these days?
First and foremost, I was heavily influenced by the opera and symphony. I grew up in that culture and always loved the drama and theatrics of those styles of music. Growing up I was obsessed with strong female vocalists like Pat Benetar, Kate Bush, Annie Lennox and Taylor Dayne. I loved how powerful they were! I also love the theatrical nature of bands like Queen and Evanescence. My go to currently mainly consists of playlists that my boyfriend creates for me. It’s always a surprise when I push the shuffle button. He is really good at discovering great new music. Some of my favorites currently are Radiohead, Florence & The Machine, The Mysterines, Idles and Heartless Bastards!
Not many people know that you are a classically trained singer and piano player. Would you share a bit of your backstory? What made you pursue a career in music and how did you shift from classical singing to becoming such a skilled pop/rock vocalist?
I began playing classical piano when I was 4 years old. I fell in love with dark classical composers like Chopin and Rachmaninoff. I started training in opera when I was 9 years old. I had a deep love for classical music but the strict life of conservatories wasn’t for me. I decided to use my knowledge as a way to try to bring it into the modern era. I always knew that pursuing a career in music was what I was going to do. I left High School in my junior year and moved to Nashville to begin developing my project. I don’t really feel like there was a shift for me but it felt like integrating my classical voice with more modern signing. My classical vocal background allows me to explore and stretch my voice in new ways.
That is very intersting and I think goes to show how versatile you are. I know that a lot of people struggle to combine classical technique with contemporary styles, as they sometimes are in conflict. I love how you just combine the styles naturally. So, what does songwriting mean to you and do you have a certain process you usually follow?
I would say my songwriting process slightly differs with each song. Generally I like to build a track and musical bed first and then I write the melodies after. That allows me to feel where the song is going sonically. Due to my classical background I have to feel moved by the music before I want to keep working on it. The song has to paint some sort of visual in my mind and then I describe that visual to get to the lyrics.
Interesting and makes sense, considering that you are also a visual artist. Tell us a bit about the music video for London. Did you direct it yourself? How did the ideas for the story and outfits come about?
The music video for London is the third part in my visual series for my album. It continues the story from the space ship crash with the last single “Crash Landing”. This visual album is an abstract story that deals with love, loss, death and reincarnation. I did not direct this video, it was directed by Ryan Hamblin but we wrote the concept together. I also assisted in the direction and editing process. Writing the treatment and storyboards. The outfits in the video were an awesome collaboration with my team, Lacey Wooten and my mom Vicky Elliot. They are brilliant at what they do and couldn’t have made the vision happen without them. Each outfit was inspired by many different themes and textures. We wanted the costumes to embody different time periods and we started with a more victorian look for the classical scene. We were also inspired by video games for the throne room scenes. I would describe the pod scene as clinical space age haha! I wanted to put my high fashion stamp on all of these era’s. Each costume has a very in depth story behind how it came about.
Wow! I love how invested you are in every detail for your music and visuals. The outfits do stand out and I love them! Let’s talk about something dear to your heart for a bit. Next to being a musician, you also run a youtube series called “Purple Sessions” in which you interview fascinating people about creativity, mental health and wellbeing. Why are those stories important to you and what do they have to do with a plane crash?
In 2013 I was in a plane crash on my way to finish my song “Crash Landing”. Prior to that I was raised in a very emotionally immature place and did not possess the skills to cope with what I had just been through. This experience set me on a great life journey of learning how to heal PTSD and trauma. Over my many years of exploring topics of mental health, I discovered so many wonderful people and methods of healing. I wanted to find a way to bring these things to the masses and that’s how the podcast/video series was created. I love sharing things that have helped me. I try to bring on guests that have very inspiring stories that we can all learn from. My goal is to help my fans get the tools they need to live their most creative and fulfilling lives.
That is amazing! I have so much respect for that! Speaking about mental health….I guess we all struggle with certain things that are due to our day and age. I am referring to the constant connectivity, the comparison trap and the pressure to be a DIY everything. You master a lot of these things, but I wonder, do you find it difficult to balance your art mission and the business mission? Do you have any tips for other indie artists like yourself?
The art mission is always central to everything. I would say that sometimes the things that are necessary to have a successful art business are demoralizing and challenging. I think it’s a struggle to find ways to make it fun and not feel like a dancing monkey. Luckily and unluckily I am not the person who can easily fake things so it’s hard to play the game and stay true to myself. My advice for indie artists is, don’t ever let someone’s opinion of you change what you like to make. Stay true to yourself but always be willing to ask for help. Make friends with as many people as you can and help others whenever possible. My best advice to indie artists is to learn. Learn as much as you can about the music industry and when you think you are done learning, learn something else. Nobody will look out for you as well as you can look out for yourself.
True! I personally find it very frustrating how social media platforms got us on the hook and currently it seems like algorithms track down any “promotional” content and keep it from being played out! As an artist what is your relationship with social media? What are the positives and the negatives and how do you weigh them against each other?
I love the connectivity that social media allows but I hate how you have to pander to an algorithm. I don’t think social media is really set up for the creative brain. I think it’s sort of used against creatives. It seems like all that matters to labels is your social media following rather than the music. Most musicians know how to write songs but creating content and keeping up with every platform is exhausting. I don’t think it’s very good for mental health but it’s a necessary evil. The positive aspects are reaching a lot of people in a short amount of time but you are always chasing trends and virality. Unique art doesn’t really have a chance to breathe.
I agree 100 %. But to brighten things up, let us come back to London! Like your other singles before (Crash Landing and Cigarettes & Gasoline) the song displays amazing storytelling elements. How important is storytelling to you and how do you think we can still cut through the noise in a world of super short attention spans and Tik-Tok 15 second dances?
Storytelling is central to everything I do. It’s hard for me to create small content if it doesn’t have a purpose to my overall story. I don’t really have the answer to how to break through in the 15 second world. Short form content really isn’t my forte but I am trying my best. I definitely enjoy creating long form and elaborate content. I don’t know if I have a good answer for this. Maybe I can create some good short form stuff to bring people into my long form content.
One last question. What are three traits every songwriter should bring to the table in today’s music industry and why?
Have an open mind. It’s important to approach every session as if you haven’t written before. Know your strengths and weaknesses as a co writer. Ie. If you are more melodically dominant, find someone who compliments what you are good at, know how to pair yourself with writers who are strong where you are weak. Lastly, the ability to play, not just an instrument but have fun. Don’t get stuck in the box of the same four chords and repetitive sounds. Try to push the limits!
Thank you so much for your time and all the best for you!
Photo Credit: Derek Jones
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