Eventim Spotlights meets London based singer-songwriter Anna Pancaldi


Eventim Spotlights met with Anna Pancaldi; London based singer-songwriter (and Queen Of The Accents!) at Maison d’être for tea, cake, lots of laughs, and to catch up on what 2014 holds for her…

You can catch Anna live at Discovery 2 at AAA (Under Archangel) on 29 May. Discovery 2 tickets are available now at eventim.co.uk

HK: Hey Anna, I’m glad we could meet up today! When did you first start writing songs?

Anna: The first time I remember writing something was when I was living in South Africa. I actually played it to a friend the other day! It’s called Do You Know What It’s Like to Be Me [laughs] and now when I play it back I just think it’s so emo! I started writing when I was about 11 and then I didn’t write again for ages and ages, then began writing again in 2011.

HK: Did you start playing guitar around the same time?

Anna: Yes, again it was when I lived in South Africa. I ended up with a small guitar, the type a kid would learn on, that I actually took travelling with me around the world [for 9 months] all those years later [in 2011]. I dotted in and out of it… [comedy accent] SHOUTS OVER COFFEE MACHINE [laughs]…and didn’t really take it too seriously.

HK:  So 2011 was the year that made you take music really seriously. What was it that made you really focus on being a musician?

Anna: I think I’d got into a bit of a rut. I was at university studying music, but I’d dropped out because my course didn’t focus enough on performance and songwriting, which were the areas I really wanted to improve and focus on. I just had one of those “what am I doing with my life?” moments and I realised music was the only thing I was passionate about, but I had just gotten distracted. I thought “right you need to sort your life out, because this is what you’re meant to do with your life and the one thing that makes you come alive, so you need to [northern accent] crack on!” Then I decided to go travelling, took my guitar with me and just wrote as much music as I could. It was a hugely inspiring time, wonderful getting out of a routine. Being in new places and actually having time to put all my thoughts down was a true gift. It took me a little while to get on the straight and narrow, but now I know exactly what I want, put my all into it and am incredibly focused. I am so grateful to have something I adore and really loving the journey as it moves along, as it’s so important to enjoy that as well as having a clear vision and game plan for the future.

HK: So what has been your career highlight so far?

Anna: Well…I got to do a bit of recording at Annie Lennox’s studio so that’s definitely, definitely a highlight. Her daughter Lola messaged me about coming in, and said that she’d found me online and that Annie was really impressed with my voice. That was, yeah… just incredible! To know that the Annie Lennox has heard my voice and was impressed by it is just ridiculous! Jaw dropping! I still can’t quite believe it! [spooky accent] She knows I exist!

HK: Whats your dream venue to play?

Anna: [instantly] Royal Albert Hall. I absolutely adore that place. I saw Paolo Nutini there recently, and the acoustics in there are incredible. When he performed a song stripped back to just guitar and vocal his voice just soared. It would be an absolute dream to play there.

HK: Who are your musical inspirations?

Anna: Reeeally varies actually because I love people like Doris Day and Judy Garland, Mike and The Mechanics…I’m a huge Jeff Buckley fan and I’m lucky enough to have had my voice compared to his quite a few times. That is the ultimate compliment. I adore Stevie Wonder. Jazz, Pop, love a bit of Hip Hop…all of it!

HK: Where do you think your love of music comes from?

Anna: … my dad is a singer so I’ve grown up listening to amazing music. I was just thinking about it yesterday! I grew up listening to Carly Simon, Carole King, Supertramp, The Gypsy Kings. I really don’t know – I don’t even remember when I first started to sing, but that has always been a part of my life and I’ve always loved it so I’ve never felt drawn to doing anything else, it’s the only thing I’ve ever taken seriously career wise. And I am glad there is no plan B option, I only want this one.

HK: How is 2014 shaping up for you?

Anna: I am going to be releasing my first EP which I’m super-duper excited about! It’s taken me a while to release something, as like every musician I am a perfectionist and I worry that nothing is good enough. I haven’t been doing much gigging of late; I’ve been off of the circuit focusing on writing for nearly a year, I just needed to take that time out. I am slowly doing a few gigs to try out new material and it’s amazing to be sharing new music!

HK: Can you tell us a bit about your setlist for the 29th May gig?

Anna: [Laughs] I thought you were going to say can you sing ‘em! [sings in a Northern accent into mic] La di da di dahh! I’ve got a track called Steal Away which I feel is quite different. My sets used to be on one level, whereas now I feel like they take you on more of a journey. I’ve been writing songs that are a bit more upbeat and a bit gutsier. There’s some slightly more ethereal stuff in there too.

HK: What is the song about?

Anna: That track in particular revolves around having faith and questioning things that you believe due to circumstances you were put in that are out of your control.

HK: I’m nosey – tell us about another song?!

Anna: I’m doing another one called Running To You – I always forget to name my songs! This could be the [funny voice] No Name, No Name, No Name, No Name EP! [Seriously] But this track is about the moment I’ve dreamt about for so long; when I will be reunited with my brother again.

HK: I cannot wait to hear it. Where are you recording the EP?

Anna: I am working with a few different brilliant producers so it’s going be recorded in various studios.

HK: You were in Nashville recently – tell me about that! Did you do some recording whilst you were over there?anna-pancaldi

Anna: It was fabulous! My friends in the amazing band Civil Twilight [from South Africa] live over there [Nashville] now. They’re fantastic, doing really, really well – check them out! When I left SA and moved to England it was around the same time they moved to the US. Whilst I was visiting them over there I recorded one of my tracks called Try and once that is all finished and produced we’ll be plugging it to American TV and Film companies. Hopefully that will open up some doors in America which is definitely somewhere that I would just love to perform. It will be great to see how people respond to my music and being able to try and plug a track that will be a great attempt at putting my foot in the door, whilst continuing to work away in the UK where I am based for now.

HK: On another note, I hear that you’re not the best at flight dates…tell us about the dizziest thing you’ve ever done?!

Anna: There are books worth of material to tap into for that answer, oh lord, where to begin…A new one was when I was trying to check into a flight from the Orkney Islands and it just Would. Not. Work! With my frustration growing, I decided to check my itinerary and saw that my plane took off four hours previously, the day beforehand. [Laughing] Whoops the daisies!!

HK: Anna…you know the saying is “whoops-a-daisy” right?!

[Both collapse laughing]

Anna: HAHA! Oh dear!

HK: Ok, so how on earth did you get home?

Anna: I caught two ferries, one bus and two wonderfully long train rides through snow and sunshine to get back to London, and I was sat with a guy who works on oil rigs – I have a random fascination with them – who I asked a plethora of questions to, so that was great! Moral of the story though – don’t make up flight itineraries! Funnily enough I’m travelling to the same destination this week and I hope I manage to board the correct flight…

HK: [laughing] That’s brilliant! Ah it’s been a real pleasure, thanks for chatting to me today! I’d best let you go to get to the airport in plenty of time, good luck!

Anna: Absolutely fabulous!

You can catch Anna live at Discovery 2 at AAA (Under Archangel) on 29 May. Discovery 2 tickets are available now at eventim.co.uk

Find out more about Anna Pancaldi at: www.annapancaldi.com

About Helena King

I love talking to new people and finding out more about what they do (yes I’m incredibly nosy!), and telling the world about all things event related. Always keen to hear about the latest bands and talk about new music!

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