Music isn’t a postscript for songwriter Anna p.s., who will play in Park City March 1-2
What: Anna p.s.
When: 6 p.m. on Sunday, March 1, and Monday, March 2
Where: Grub Steak, 2093 Sidewinder Drive
Cost: Free with dinner purchase
Singer-songwriter Anna p.s., who will perform dinner concerts on March 1 and 2 at Grub Steak, says she took the long road to her profession.
“I majored in sign language in college, and then ended up as an audio engineer for my friend Nate Butler for seven years,” Anna said. “I was close to the music scene, but not really connected or on stage.”
The singer, who learned to play piano and flute while a child, decided to participate in some open mics a few years ago to see if she would enjoy it.
“I’ve always been a writer and songwriter, and I wanted to try out some songs that I had written,” she said.
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Those open mics led Anna to the band Shiny Shiny Black, an Americana-roots band formed by Butler and his wife Amanda.
After a while, the Butlers decided to turn Anna loose.
“The band took a break when they had their second child, and when we reconvened to figure out how we would go forward. They gently, and lovingly, pushed me out of the nest,” she said. “They told me that I wasn’t working on my own music, because I was working on their music. And that was the encouragement that I needed.”
Armed with her training as a sound engineer and the support of the Butlers, Anna recorded her first full-length album, “Umbrella,” which was released in 2016.
“‘Umbrella’ was self-recorded and was mixed and mastered by Nate,” she said.
P.s. decided to self-record the album because she wanted to control the project.
“I didn’t want anyone else’s input,” she said. “It was good for me to do that, because I needed to know how things worked, even though I started the project over a couple of times because I wasn’t happy with it.”
Her most recent record, “In the Void,” a six-song extended play that was released a year ago, was recorded differently, Anna said.
The songwriter collaborated with her friend Tony Eckenrode, who lives in Pennsylvania, and Anna recorded it over three days while she was touring in the region.
“It was pretty quick, because performing has honed my ability to record songs faster and be more consistent,” she said. ““The first day I did song rewrites, and the other two days were spent in the studio, and then Tony did some production on it.”
P.s.’s songs are inspired by everything and everyone around her.
“I jot down notes when I’m listening to other people play, and I jot down notes from conversations,” she said. “I’m actually currently writing a song about the tour.”
Since the songs can sometimes be deeply personal, Anna said she’s more comfortable playing in front of strangers than in front of people she knows.
“It can be awkward to play for family and friends, because I’m always worried that they may know that a song is about them,” she said with a laugh.
Sometimes the songs Anna writes are never played live, nor will they ever be recorded.
“Sometimes I really need to write only for myself,” she said. “Songwriting really helps me cope with things, and these songs are not for the public.”
It took a few years for Anna to figure out that she can choose the songs she wants to release.
“I used to put pressure on myself when I would sit down to write,” she said. “I would often tell myself that whatever song I was writing at the time needed to be presentable, and I’ve been trying to get away from that.”
When Anna chooses a song that will be released, she plays it 50 times or more to make sure it’s finished.
“Even with that, there are some times when I will change a song after I’ve recorded it for one reason or another, and then think, ‘I wish I would have waited,’” she said.
Songwriting time, however, isn’t a luxury for her, because she does all of her booking, promotion and driving as an independent artist.
“It’s been difficult for me to find a balance,” she said. “I need time to be creative, but a large part of my time is used doing administrative work.”
Still, the singer said she is living her dream.
“I get to do what I love, which is something that not many people can say,” Anna said. “Traveling and playing music gives me hope for the world. I get to see the best kinds of people who surround themselves with music and art.”
While Anna enjoys the gigs she plays, she is trying to figure out her next step.
“Some of my bar gigs are great, but I do get a little tired of being background music,” she said. “I would like to play more listening rooms in front of people who come to the shows for the music.”
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