Folk rock quartet Anna Colette & The Average Men eloquently merge heartfelt lyrics with melodies fused with electrified accompaniments – and their debut single is perfect for this November Monday morning.
Take a listen, and find out where the track came from.
What was your inspiration when you began writing the track?
One Step was written from a place of hope, anxiety and uncertainty when I was 18. I convinced myself I was going to study advertising; that music wasn’t a realistic option. But I felt a deep disconnect between the path I felt obliged to follow and the one I knew was true to myself and what I really wanted.
The idea that anyone would do anything other than what they want to do is so ridiculous when you think about it. So, I took ‘One Step’ in the right direction, fully accepting the cracks, bumps and potholes that have made this journey anything but smooth so far. I wrote down what I wanted to achieve on a piece of paper and I stuck it on my wall. Now, almost three years after I wrote the song it presents itself as my debut single- a 360 turn in perspective and a testament to the fact that one step I made was unquestionably in the right direction. This is exactly what I wanted and I am so incredibly grateful.
Are there any artists that inspire you when writing?
Joni Mitchell has had an influence on most songs I’ve written. I also find myself thinking ‘what would Paul Simon do?’ a lot. I also love Corinne Bailey Rae and this song kinda reminds me of her first album.
What is key to your sound and how do you make your music stand out?
I collaborate with the same few people a lot, so my style tends to merge with them or my band’s ideas. I like my songs to have a lot of space to breathe. I also make sure the song works on its own without anything/one else accompanying me.
I use alternate tunings for almost all of my songs (If I write a song in standard I tend to also re-work another version into an open tuning for the sake of gigging- then I don’t need to carry around multiple guitars for each show). One Step is in open D, which gives the guitar sound a really warm tone and enables me to slide the chords and notes up and down like you can hear in the song! I have found some great tunings that provide for some super juicy chords and funky guitar parts. Standard tuning now feels more like an alternate tuning that I enjoy going back to.
How does your songwriting process work?
Like I mentioned, tunings inspire new melodies and guitar parts! I write from my guitar and everything else musical tends to follow.
I like the phrases that people say that sound like song titles sometimes. There’s been many times where someone will tell me a story (or something like that) and it has inspired a song. My song ‘Statement Baby’ is named after a phrase someone used whilst telling me a story.
To be honest, I look back at my catalogue of songs now and I can’t always remember how I wrote them, only how felt when I was writing them- like little tins of feelings and thoughts I can compartmentalise and put on the shelf until I reopen them again (slightly lame but true).
Describe your sound in 3 words…
Classic folk rock-pop.
How has studying at BIMM helped you develop as an artist?
It’s allowed me nearly three years to actively refine my songwriting and music. Seeing other people around me doing their own thing was at first intimidating but now it’s a catalyst for me- watching how my friends have developed alongside me is pretty inspiring.
Learning from others that know a bit more than me is important. I’ve changed and grown so much since first year, it’s crazy! The songwriting lecturers are so great as well and I feel like developing good relationships with them has also really helped me.
What’s next for you?
I’ve got a headline show coming up on the 2nd of December and I’m really excited about that! Next year I’m putting a bit of a hold on gigging and will be working in the studio as much as I can, so I can release some more music. Third year also means I need to take a bit of a break, as running a band takes up so much headspace!
However, in the summer I’ve got my heart set on lots of festivals, WOMAD Festival being at the top of my list. I’ll also be back and forth in between the London and Bristol music scene!