GROWING UP IN ‘SLOVENIA’ TO MOVING ALL THE WAY TO ‘CALIFORNIA’ I CHAT WITH ‘ANJA KOTAR’ HOW SHE WAS TRAINED CLASSICLY,THEN GOING TO MUSIC SCHOOL TO 2019 AND RELEASING HER BRAND NEW SINGLE ‘BRAIN’, GIVE IT A READ BELOW!

What is your name?
Anja Kotar.

What is your genre of music?
Pop.

Give us a little bio about you.
I’m a singer songwriter who grew up in a tiny European country called Slovenia, but moved to California with my family seven years ago. My first album, NOMAD was produced by 3-time Grammy Nominee, Pascal Guyon and won her the Best Pop Song award from the American Songwriting Awards.

What made you go in to music?
I grew up training classical piano so music was a huge part of my life ever since I was a little girl. My parents initially put me in music school because I kept dancing, singing and performing around the house and they thought that maybe there was something there.

Are you signed?
Not *yet* 🙂

You are set to release your new single ‘Brain’, tell us more about the single.
It’s a Pop bop about being in love in current times as a millennial.

What is the meaning behind the single?
It looks at different types of modern love relationship behaviour, but ultimately promotes being in love with someone for who they are, not how they look; hence, the chorus line: “I want you to love me for my brain, not my body”.

Describe the track in two words.
80s road trip.

What was the writing process like?
I came up with the idea for this track after the solar eclipse in the summer of 2017 (super random, I know!). My family took a road trip to Idaho to experience the eclipse and on our way back home, we stopped in Salt Lake City. I remember we were trying to find our car in the garage when I got the idea of “brain not my body” so I took out my phone and created a voice memo. I just listened to it the other day and it sounds insane haha!

What was the recording process like?
After we got home from the trip, I sat down at my beloved piano that we brought over from Europe when we moved, and started putting chords together with the initial idea I had from Voice Memos. I had the first half of the song finished in less than thirty minutes.

Who did you work with on the single?
I was looking for new producers to work with back in the fall and decided to go through Instagram to find young, ambitious musicians. I looked at who was liking bigger producers’ photos and saw that Noah Taylor was on almost all of the accounts / photos I looked at! I checked out his profile and saw a video of him working on one of his original songs in the studio and it sounded absolutely incredible! After watching that I knew I *had* to work with him so I quite literally slid into his DMs, and the rest is history.

Will we see a music video for the track?
Most definitely yes! Visuals are a huge part of my music as I feel they tell the story of the song in a new light and perspective. I’m excited for people to experience the song by itself then also through the video which adds a new layer of meaning.

Will we see an EP or Album and if so, what can we expect?
Right now, I’m focusing on releasing singles that explore the relationship of millennials with technology. All of the songs are  directly related to each other and continue the same storyline, so I’m actually releasing an EP through individual singles.

Do you have any shows coming up?
Yes!

If so where will you be heading?
I’ll be doing some secret shows with SoFar in Los Angeles this summer, but the details are still a secret 🙂 All I can say is I’ll be playing stripped down versions of unreleased music.

What else can we expect in 2019?
Some of the best music and visuals I’ve ever had the honour of being a part of.

Do you have any collaborations coming up with any upcoming artists? Yes! I released a Pop House track with Seattle producer Joza back in March, and I was in Seattle again in May because we were writing a summer jam together! The chorus is currently one of my favourite hooks so I’m looking forward to other people hearing it as well.

Would you be up for collaborations if other musicians wanted one with you? and who would they have to contact?
Of course! I think collaborations are a fantastic way to connect with the music community and create something unique by bringing together people with different experience and perspectives. If anyone wants to collab, they can reach out however they like – whether it’s Instagram messages, email (music@kotar.us), or a messenger pigeon 🙂

Do you play any instruments? Yes, I play the piano.

Who are your influences?
I love all 80s music (Michael Jackson, The Police, Queen, etc.), but I also love contemporary Scandinavian Pop (Robyn, Sigrid, Dagny, etc.). I try to listen to as many genres and broad music as possible and pull ideas and inspiration from a lot of different places.

How do you get inspiration to write songs?
Usually they happen randomly at moments when my brain is very stimulated. I recently started doing this thing where I walk by myself around the city that I’m in (without any directions or GPS), observe the world around me, and as I’m doing this, an ideas pops in my head. I take out my phone and record it, then go home/to the hotel room and put together a mini demo of the song.

Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Hopefully, doing shows all across the world and maybe with a cute song on the radio 🙂

When you’re not doing music, what do you do?
Workout (I try to do Barre3 six time a week), eat candy and chocolate raisins (self-contradictory, I know), read (I’m just finishing “Where’d You Go Bernadette”), and follow fashion (some of my favourite designers are Jeremy Scott – Moschino, and Dolce&Gabbana).

What was the song you listened to most that influenced you to go more into the music scene?
I didn’t necessarily have one specific song that inspired me to be a musician, but I do have a song that showed me the true magical power of music. It was a few years back when I was getting ready to go to my first-ever recording session in LA and my dad played me Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” for the first time. I could see the sheer joy that song brought him (especially that genius, timeless drum roll!) and that’s when I realized just how powerful music can be. I carry that memory with me whenever I make new songs and if one of my tracks has such an effect on just one person in my career, then I’ve done my job.

What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
To never give up (I realize this sounds very cliche). When my family moved to California, I saw just how hard my parents had to work to put me and my brother through school and provide a better life for us. The odds were stacked against us then (when we first came, we had no car, no house – we stayed in a hotel for the first 3 months!), but my parents kept pushing forward and never gave up, even when everything was going wrong. It’s this resilience and persistence that I hope I can display in my life and work.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians not about the industry and just as an artist?
To be smart about the steps you make. Don’t think you can just move to a big music city like London or LA, play some gigs, and be famous. Today, more than ever, artists are more than just musicians – they need to be very skilled marketers who can create a brand around their music that will help differentiate them from others on the scene.

What quote or saying do you always stick by?
If you can’t stop the waves, you better learn how to surf.

Where in your hometown is a must go to visit?
I live in San Jose (CA) which is the center of Silicon Valley. If you want the tech experience, I’d suggest you go visit the Google campus or the newly built Apple Park “spaceship”. In the Bay Area, however, you absolutely have to visit San Francisco (one hour drive north from San Jose), the Santa Cruz beach boardwalk (voted Best Boardwalk in America), and Carmel (especially if you watch Big Little Lies!).

When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
Water, water, water, water. And then some more water.
Makeup bag (to touch up that gloss before going on stage :).
A pack of throat coat lozenges because even if your voice is feeling good, you never know what might happen.
My phone! I have to take pictures and videos to commemorate every show.
Comfy shoes and cardigan / coat to wear for soundcheck (you don’t want to be running around in heels all day).

Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?
Instagram
Facebook
Twitter
VEVO


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