A TELECASTER-WIELDING SONGSTRESS ANNOUNCES HER ARRIVAL WITH AN ALBUM SOAKED IN CRITICAL ACCLAIM. CHRIS FAMILTON INTRODUCES US TO ANNA CALVI.
Anna Calvi isn’t a name that many here in Australia may be familiar with but in Europe her debut self-titled album has received widespread acclaim and the tag of one the most promising new artists to emerge in recent times. Calvi indeed possesses a voice that can swing with ease from quiet seduction to soaring grandeur and a wonderfully distinctive guitar style that brings to life her dramatic and emotive songwriting.
On the line from London she discusses the vision she had for her debut album. “I wanted the album to be both extremely intimate and feel very vast as well. I wanted to create a whole world and atmosphere for each song. It was very important to me that the music told the story as much as the lyrics did. Despite being difficult at times I felt that recording the album was a very rewarding experience. I did the best job I could at that time, so I am happy with it,” Calvi admits. “It took a long time to make the album so it was nice to finally let it go out into the world.”
Already the waves of press hype and blog recommendations are spreading around the world and here she was featured as Album Of The Week’ on Triple J, something that seems to genuinely excite Calvi. “When I was writing and making the album I just wanted to make music I felt was honest, passionate and true to my artistic vision. There was a chance that no one other than me would like it, but my wish to make the music that I loved was stronger than my fear. I’m really happy that some people are connecting with it.”
Calvi’s guitar style and sound come across as important a part of her music as her voice; a fact she is keen to promote. “I feel very connected to my guitar – it feels like an extension of my voice. I was a guitar player before I was a singer. I like to imagine my guitar is other things than a guitar. I like to imagine it’s an orchestra or a piano, and having these things in mind keeps me inspired as a guitar player,” says Calvi.
Mood and intensity are two hallmarks of Calvi’s music and though she wrote the songs as fictional pieces they inevitably contain some elements of her as a person. She confesses to being very much in touch with her emotions which makes it relatively easy for her to dial into the positive and negative extremes of love and lust. “I think I am quite a passionate person and I am not afraid to feel things quite intensely. I think these attributes are present in my music but I think it’s also important to separate an artist from their work. One is never a complete reflection of the other,” she says.
Already some familiar doyens of the music world have joined her appreciation society with Nick Cave personally inviting her on tour supporting Grinderman and Brian Eno championing her work. Calvi is well aware that this type of support has been a door-opener for her. “I have always felt that the most important thing is for me to be creatively happy, and make music that is really true to me. However of course having support from someone like Brian Eno is a huge deal for me, I feel incredibly grateful to have his support.” she enthuses.
With so much buzz surrounding her album, Calvi seems destined to spend the rest of 2011 promoting and touring her album and she hopes to make a visit to Australia soon. Online videos of Calvi’s performances confirm she can replicate the album’s dynamic range of emotion on stage which will indeed be something to look forward to.
this interview first appeared in Drum Media