Tony Cummings reports on the "Never Have I Ever" girl
Tens of thousands of independent artists are today taking the opportunity that streaming brings to get their songs released. But the harsh reality is that a tiny fraction of these recordings will ever be heard by very many people and fewer still will be heard on the radio So Australia's alt-pop singer Anna Leeworthy has already climbed a mountain in getting her infectious single "Never Have I Ever" into the Cross Rhythms Top Ten.
Anna hails from Albury, on the border of New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. Blessed with Christian parents - in fact, both mum and dad pastor a church - she grew up in a musical environment. Anna told Karen Harding, "My mum was musical, so I was raised surrounded by music. I learnt piano from a young age, but I always just wanted to sing (I'm glad I learnt piano though, as it helps me when I write). My parents are pastors of a church so from early on I was on stage every Sunday playing piano and singing backup vocals. It wasn't necessarily 'performing', as church felt like family, but it did help me develop confidence to sing in front of people without feeling nervous.'"
At just five years old Anna wrote her first song. "Writing music was something I always loved doing, writing (even if just journaling) has always been such an outlet for me." It's one thing to use a writing gift as a means of self-expression but eventually gifted writers want to put the art before some kind of audience. "I woke up one day in May 2020 and realised, if I don't start releasing the music I'd written five years ago, I never would - and that scared me! So I immediately went to my computer and submitted my first single, 'Say So', to be released."
Anna's EP 'Go Figure' features songs that she wrote between the ages of 19 and 24. She spoke about a couple of them. "'Fight' was written in 30 mins after an argument between my sister and me. We are best friends which is why this is one of my favourite songs. It's now an ice breaker for when we start to get a bit frustrated with each other - we'll just sing (really badly) 'Let's not fight'.
"'Go Figure' was written in a small room with a fire in Dan's (my husband) family home, right before Covid-19 lockdown. I was reminiscing about how Dan and I met, all the little stories we had, and that's how this song written. It was such life saver for me to keep creative throughout the world's toughest lockdown! As I had significantly more time to myself, the lockdowns really just allowed me to write more and more! I'd aim to write at least one song every day, and the more I wrote, the more I'd reflect and stretch my ability. I was also able to delve deeper into who I want to be as an artist, so the more I finetuned that, the easier the creative process became. Before, my music was a bit more impulsive, but the people I met throughout lockdown taught me how to become a more considered and deliberate artist."
Her singe "Sirens" was released in October 2021. "This track was written about the mythological creature, a siren. The feelings the track explores are relatable and quite frankly 'normal'. But it felt kinda cool and 'exclusive' the write it from the perspective of a mythological killer. It took 30 mins at a piano, and then months of finetuning with my producer/friend Nick Zaharias. It's funny how quickly a song can initially come together, but then you really need to perfect it in the studio, produce the track, mix everything, etc, and that takes time!"
In September 2021 Anna told Karen Harding, "I made the decision to take down all my music from last year! It's a beautiful thing to be able to hear/measure your growth, and when I drew a comparison between my latest single 'Misfits' and my 2020 projects, they just weren't at the same standard. Since my 2020 releases, I've been writing. like, every day! I've met some amazing producers, been on tour backing Tones And I, and have really just been practicing my craft! Right now I'll work from home 8am-4pm, then I'll get out for some fresh air, and then I'll be back in my studio writing/recording (both with myself and others via zoom, etc)."
Influenced by the likes of Benee, Clairo and Lorde & Yebba, it's Anna's single "Never Have I Ever" which has now broken through with plays on Australian, US and UK stations. As she says about her music, "My emotions are accessible like an open wound to hopefully resonate with any young women out there looking for signs that they're not alone."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.