What is your name?
Anna Westin

What is your genre of music?
Electronic/Nordic folk

Give us a little bio about you.
I am a Swedish Canadian living in the UK. I did my PhD in philosophy and have since then been lecturing at various UK universities. I run an anti-trafficking collective that works with survivors through the arts, and am a Classical Pilates instructor. I love movement, the outdoors, and am currently working on a second collection of poetry to be published.

What made you go into music?
It’s always been a part of life. I grew up with my dad singing us to sleep and then was in choirs in Sweden, in the States. We settled in Newfoundland when I was a teenager and there was an amazingly diverse music scene there that I only realise looking back – orchestras, Irish ballads at the pub and kitchen parties where people pulled out the guitars and played the spoons, choirs. From then music just felt a part of what it meant to live.

Who are your influences?
Swedish choral music, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell; Gregorian chants and Jewish folk music. A lot of classical repertoire, but then Sufjan Stevens and more alt east coast Canada scene as well

Are you signed?

You released your new single ‘Bright Burning Mess’, tell us more about the single.
It started out as a half-dream. I had moved to Margate, which is a seaside town in the UK, and I didn’t really know anyone. I was getting over a lost love, and it felt quite lonely – in the new place, without the people I was used to being surrounded by in London. But I had this sense that something new was happening, except that it meant digging up the dregs of old stuff, dealing with the pain of losing, but then also realising that I wasn’t seeing clearly – that the new that was happening in that new place with those new people was like a new way of seeing things. It was like the sea there that would flare up wild with colour one day and then storm dark and brooding another – and it felt like the sea and the place were calling me in to a new way of seeing life, in a way that I hadn’t when I had narrowed my gaze on what I wanted (and had lost).

What is the meaning behind the single?
Bright Burning Mess – I think that the idea that seeing, the ancient thought that having a good eye meant seeing the world wholly, with justice and all of that woven into it (a ‘thick’ concept of sight) is messy. It involves bringing up the dredges of the dark stuff that has settled in us, like the sea in
storm, but then when it is clear it is so clear, so liquid bright that it illuminates everything. No shadows.

What was the writing and recording process like?
Just great. I wrote the song and lyrics, but it was quite stripped back, acoustic and subtle. I wrote it in Margate, and it was probably a year later by the time we played with it as a potential studio piece. The recording of the album was done in over ten places in the UK, but I think this particular one was mostly Margate, some South London… When I started working with Ellie and Imogen Mason it was like charging the piece with electricity. It came alive. We added the spoken word bit to contextualise the piece, add another texture. Playing with different ways of using and layering one voice. Imogen added the piano and backing vocals, and Ellie added backing vocals and electric guitars (it helps to have producers who are multi-instrumentalists, and working with other female vocalists was just such a treat, because each voice is doing something slightly different – so it becomes like a conversation within the song). Rob Pemberton drew out the rhythm of the sea in his amazing percussion, William J Stokes added an underriding bass line in the guitar, and then Marcus Hamblett brought it together in cohesion and colour with his magic mixity and baritone guitar.

Describe the track in two words.
Beginning again

Will we see a Music video for ‘Bright Burning Mess’, what can we expect from the creative process?
Not for this one currently. Most of the creative process has been collaborative – working with other artists on a joint vision, filmmakers and multimedia artists, illustrators and directors. Each collaboration has looked differently, reflecting the artist, and what we were trying to accomplish in the process.

Will we see an EP or Album and if so, can you give us a teaser of what to expect?
Yes! I am releasing the whole album, LEV, on 25 March. Expect landscape sound, folk story lyrics and a bit of existentialism.

Do you have any live shows or a tour coming up and if so let us know where we can catch you at?
I am playing St Pancras Old Church London in May. Other dates tbc.

What else can we expect in 2022?
Hopefully some more shows booked for the summer. I am working on a stage production that is a music – drama collaboration. And a few singles dropped before getting back into the studio for the next album.

Where do you see yourself now in 5 Years?
Recording and playing more. Maybe back on the North American east coast, lecturing a bit, writing more, doing more work with trauma and the arts, doing more just hanging out and letting life be what it is.

When you are at a gig, what are 5 things you cannot forget?
If it’s someone else? Then it’s the feeling you get from the first few bars that they release – that sense of anticipation before they start, and how they hold the stage. Art is great if that’s the artist’s vehicle for expression. But sometimes just that one person, vulnerable on stage with a voice and guitar conveys something transcendent and incredible and beautiful and simple about being human, and helps us to connect to something, some story, some life, some experience that is both ours and not ours, and reveals something more about ourselves, or just remains a complete mystery.

Do you have social media accounts so your fans can follow you?

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