Talking to the artist bringing about a new era of music.
ANE, pronounced Ann-ee, is set for greatness. Growing up listening to artists such as Stevie Wonder and TLC, the New Jersey-based Korean-American songstress has clear vintage influences in her music and highlights them with a refreshingly modern flair.
Now releasing her new EP “Bitan”, the follow up to 2014’s “Freedomfiend”, her enchanting and hypnotic songwriting skills are certain to give you goosebumps. As her silkily sexy vocals pull you in, her unique blend of electronic, pop and soul is overwhelmingly captivating and makes “Bitan” a must listen to.
With an exclusive listen to the stunning EP, we had a chat with the rising star to find out all about her.
What music did you listen to growing up?
I went through many different stages. When I first started seeking out records on my own, I was a little girl listening to 90s hip hop, R&B such as TLC, Missy Elliot’s Supa Dupa Fly, Puff Daddy and the Family but at the same time trying to belt out pop diva songs like Celine Dion, LeeAnn Rimes, Mariah Carey, and Whitney Houston. But I also went through a huge soul and neo-soul phase when I first decided I wanted to sing. I was listening to artists like Goapele, Floetry, Erykah Badu, Bill Withers, Donny Hathaway, Etta James etc.
Who would you say are your main musical influences?
My influences are changing by the week. I listen to artists on repeat and then switch over the following week. My longtime, main influences are Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, and Nina Simone. Strong, female but vulnerable artists.
For those who haven’t heard your records, how would you describe your sound?
At the moment, the material that is being presented to the audience is seductive, passionate, soulful. Velvet soul meets modern R&B.
What’s the inspiration behind your name “ANE”?
Originally, I created the name to be an acronym A.N.E., which represented the words “A New Era.” I was transitioning from singing straight up old school, 60s and 70s soul music to create something more of the era. So I coined myself, A.N.E. At the time, I wanted to be an “electro Amy Winehouse.” When you say the letters, A.N.E. very fast, it phonetically sounds like Annie, my birth name. So that’s where it comes from. I don’t think I have achieved becoming an electro Amy Winehouse, but the name has stuck. I usually spell it as: Ane, less acronym/brand and more human.
“I know every artist says this but it is definitely true. Having to choose a favorite would be like having to choose my favorite child.”
Would you say that your Korean heritage has influenced your music?
I actually don’t think about my heritage too often because I think thinking of one’s heritage too often can create barriers. I use it conceptually in my art because I consider my Korean-American upbringing a part of my identity the same way I identify with being a Virgo or having grown up on the East Coast. I think being American has probably influenced my music much more because most of my music IQ is in American music and very rarely in Korean music. However, I do come across more and more situations as an artist where my heritage is being brought up to me. Other people bring it to my attention because an Asian-American soul singer is unfamiliar territory for many. So instead of ignoring the fact, I try to embrace it in my own way.
Can you tell us about your EP, “Bitan”?
“Bitan” is also an example of how I use my heritage conceptually. “Bitan” translates to grief, lament, and/or passion in Korean. Bitan is not actually a word that I use regularly in my own vocabulary. However, I liked the visual appeal of spelling out the word in English because in a way it feels like a whole new word, brand, representation. The music is alternative R&B with a lot of dark, sultry tones. It is a reflection of what I was going through at the moment. The songs represent the different stages of grief. I paid a lot of special detail to the different lyrics in the verses so they can be read off the tongue like a poetic conversation.
Which song on the EP are you most excited about?
I know every artist says this but it is definitely true. Having to choose a favorite would be like having to choose my favorite child. Each song is more exciting in different situations. For example, I would probably drive around to “All That I Want,” perform to “Stickup,” and brainstorm to “Dreams.”
If you weren’t a singer, what do you think you would be doing?
This is a question I ask myself often. I do not know how I am still here trying to sing again and again. I definitely think I will always be a singer because it’s more than a choice at this point. As I go through different phases in life, I will probably sing differently. I could see myself doing more jazz festivals with strictly a live band and other things of that sort as I get older. But along with singing, I would probably at some point try to be some sort of an entrepreneur in either fitness, sports, or travel.
What else have you got lined up for 2017?
I am working on new material that somehow ended up being really different from “Bitan”. It’s still in the early phases but from what I can tell it is more fun and rhythmic. If “Bitan” is deep, dark, velvet hues, the next round of music will probably be brighter, more neon colors. I am not sure yet though. I can never fully tell until it is finished.
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