Unwrapped: Annie Anna – Fame

We had a chat with Tuscon indie artist Annie Anna and found out some more about her relatable new single ‘Fame’

Over the last few years, rising Tuscon artist Annie Anna has done a great job of establishing herself as an artist, boasting an authentic and memorable country-tinged indie rock sound that has a relatable charm to its themes and the personal appeal of her charisma and artistry.

The artist’s latest single ‘Fame’ is a track that does a great job of showcasing this appeal, touching on the relatable story of seeing a friend changing in front of your eyes and straying from the person that you knew. The rawness of the artist’s sound and emotion in her vocals does a great job of giving this theme a credibility and honesty that makes it feel truly stirring and easy to find yourself swept up in, delving into subjects like chasing fame and online validation and becoming consumed by it. The track sees the artist crying out for a bit of authenticity and something real, and her sound reinforces this message perfectly. We loved the feel of this track and its message, so had a chat with Annie Anna to find out a bit more about it and how it came to life.

Hey! We love your new single ‘Fame’, what more can you tell us about it?

Fame is a confrontation of the pitfalls of social media and influencer culture. The song was inspired by my own experience with a former friend and explores many of the pressures we face online and the lengths that people will go for their shot at fame and virality. Primarily an indie rock/alternative song with elements of folk and blues sprinkled throughout, the song is intended to provoke personal reflection from the listener with regard to how they interface with others and portray themselves online.

What was the process like putting it together?

All of the vocals for this song were recorded by me in my home in Tucson, and everything else was done in my producer Riley Corbin’s studio in Kansas City. Despite not directly playing any of the instrumentals on the track, I did write some of the parts, specifically the drum part, the guitar part in the bridge, and one of the layered guitar parts in the final chorus. My home recording capabilities are severely limited, so instead of recording my parts directly, I did the next best thing, which was taking videos of me playing the parts and having Riley recreate them in the studio. He did a fantastic job of recreating them and nailed the sound that I was looking for.

‘Fame’ was actually interrupted because of my release ‘Wait’, which was not in my overall plan for the year. Because it got interrupted, there was a bit of a disconnect in vision between me and Riley that did make me nervous about the direction the song was going for a bit. However, we were able to reconcile the differences and create a song that I am honestly very proud of. I also specifically wanted to do a better job of showcasing my vocals on this song, and while this song’s melodies aren’t on the fringe of my abilities as a vocalist, I think they still go beyond what I have showcased thus far in my recorded tracks.

What were your biggest influences when creating the track?

In general, I take a lot of sonic influence from Hozier, and on this track specifically, we pulled some inspiration from his song ‘Dinner and Diatribes’. “Fame” tackles more somber themes than the Hozier track, so it didn’t feel fitting to give it quite as much energy as that song. To me, this song feels more like anger and frustration that has simmered to the point where you can channel the emotions constructively, so it has a more laid back energy than Dinner and Diatribes. I took some other influences from Matt Maeson, and I think Fame mirrors some elements of his song ‘Put It On Me’, as well as some of his more relaxed, solemn tracks. Outside of that, you can still hear some folk influences in the track, like acoustic guitar and clapping, but overall, this song definitely veers more towards the indie rock side of my sonic identity.

Have you had any real life experiences that informed the narrative?

This song was inspired by my experience of watching a former friend attempt to become an influencer. Before she started going down this path, her social media feed was much more personal and authentic, showcasing pictures of her with friends. Over time though, that was slowly replaced with pictures of her modeling expensive clothes, random products she was trying to sell, and designer bags. It was almost as if she was trying to fake a life of luxury online and show off while attempting to sell products, and I honestly got so sick of it that I muted her account. I followed her because I wanted to keep tabs on what was actually going on in her life, not to be sold stuff I don’t need. It was honestly very sad to watch her shed her personality in favor of becoming a blank canvas for advertisement. I wrote the song from the perspective I have, which is a former friend watching from a distance who is concerned about what the pursuit of “fame” is doing to her. It’s almost like the intervention that I wish I could have.

On top of that, I would be lying if I said I didn’t project many of my own grievances towards social media into that song. I wrote the lyrics while I was in the throes of trying to get my TikTok off the ground, and like many other musicians, I was struggling to reach people who resonate with my music. Creating content was draining me, and the low engagement was really doing a number on my confidence as a musician and my mental health in general. I was feeling a lot of pressure to follow trends and do very cringy things that are not representative of me as a person in order to reach more people. Worse, I was feeling a lot of pressure to write music for the platform instead of being true to myself, and I was angry that I felt that I needed to compromise my art in order to be heard. So a lot of those frustrations ended up being written into the song in one way or another. The pressure to constantly post snippets of your life without thinking, “selling” a curated version of yourself online, people online dropping you as quickly as they find you because “they don’t care about you”, and how much we all give up for a shot at getting attention are all themes mentioned throughout the song. As I’ve said in other interviews, while this song started out as nothing more than a conversation I would like to have with someone, it became so much more than that as time went on. I think a lot of people are feeling burnt out by the pressures of social media, and we need to have conversations about the dark side of the world within it. I hope that this song can help spark some of these thoughts and discussions in those who listen to it.

What else do you have planned for the near future?

Right now, my band and I are in a bit of a quiet period with regard to shows (summers in Tucson are typically slow in comparison to the rest of the year), so I am using this time to work on writing. I’m currently in the process of writing and recording my next couple of tracks, and for these two, I am trying to take a different approach to writing than I have in the past and write more of the instrumentation with my band. On my song Wait, I wrote and played every part in that song and had Riley mix and master it, and in that process, I found that I really enjoyed being more involved in the instrumentation. I also really want to give my band members an opportunity to add their own flares to my songs, since they are the ones who ultimately perform them live, and I want them to write parts that they enjoy playing time and time again. Over the past few weeks, we have been allocating some of our rehearsal time towards writing, and once we get through our show at the end of May, we’re planning on finalizing the parts and sending them to Riley for finishing work. I’m hoping to get one of the two songs out in the August timeframe, and I’m shooting to have the second one out sometime in October. Beyond that, I’m continuing to try and organize shows in Tucson, and my band and I are discussing branching out to some of the other towns nearby. I’m also trying to revert back into my “coffee shop musician” roots for a little bit and do some solo, acoustic shows in the area. We’ve got a lot in work, and I’m excited to see how these next few songs turn out!