Despite the sweet and soulful symphony seeping from her latest track, “Party Girl’s Lament” is a far cry from the typical female-led ballad. As though slicing through her middle and leaving her core bare to witness, Anna Thoresen touchingly reveals her deepest and darkest thoughts — narrating experiences with drugs, exploitation and loneliness in a way which draws us ever closer to the soul behind the artist. Backed by a spine-tingling harmony, Thorsen’s velvety vocals gently ease us into the heartbreaking memory, a stellar exemplar of Anna Thoresen’s unique yet artfully crafted approach to storytelling.
Speaking on the inspiration behind the track, Thorsen says, “It comes from a very vulnerable, personal place that I don’t speak about often, but screams through my music. It’s about addiction, anxiety, and being in a dark place, and everyone around you is not too different, yet no one really talks about it. Addiction is way more common than we think, especially with underage high school and college kids, and nobody talks about it without feeling shame or guilt. I’d like to break the stigma by speaking on my own experiences”.
Hacked from her forthcoming debut EP, “Party Girl’s Lament” has all of us rife with anticipation to see what Anna Thoresen creates next. And, with the EP rostered for release by the end of this year, we sat down with the songwriter and producer to talk New York living and her candid approach to lyricism.
Head below to listen to “Party Girl’s Lament” now…
Hey Anna, how are you? Where are we speaking to you from right now?
Hi! I’m so glad you asked me this. I’m great, hope you’re doing well too. I am currently on the floor of my living room in my apartment in New York City!
What inspiration has living in New York given you? And what prompted the move from New Jersey?
Living in New York provides a different inspiration than the inspiration I find in my hometown in New Jersey. Being in the city, there are so many things to do and see and it can be really fun to go out of my comfort zone and write about other people and situations I see. When I’m home, I find myself doing a lot more self-reflection and I tend to write a lot of journal-entry-like songs. I’ve been in love with the city for as long as I can remember. I grew up going to see Broadway shows as a young kid since I lived so close and my mom loved them, we would always go for her birthday and eventually mine as I got older. The move to New York City after high school was a no-brainer, I always knew I wanted to live here as soon as I possibly could, and I’m so grateful that now I’m finally able to live in my favourite place on Earth.
You’ve spoken about how struggles with addiction and anxiety are more common than we think, talk to us about how you are using your craft to create awareness on these issues!
One of my favourite parts about writing music is being able to express my feelings about things that I struggle talking about day-to-day. I wrote “Party girl’s lament” in hopes that listeners would either be able to relate or sympathise with the themes of anxiety and addiction and that maybe it would be able to help people who are struggling with similar things. I love to be super vulnerable in my writing, so I plan on releasing more songs in the future about similar topics to bring awareness to things I think should be talked about and are important to me.
And, your new track “Party Girl’s Lament” touches on these themes! First of all, what inspired the track’s name?
Yes! Like I said before I like to be vulnerable in my writing and talk about things that are important to me, so naturally, I wrote about something I really struggled with. About the title of the track, I came up with it in the middle of the writing/recording process. Originally it was gonna be titled something like “no” or another line from the song, but I came up with ‘party girl’s lament’ from the song ‘Bride’s Lament’ in the Drowsy Chaperone Musical. I did that show in high school (I actually ended up getting kicked out, but that’s another story) and if you know the show or have ever done it, that song is engraved in your brain forever. Anyways, I came up with the title based on the title of that song.
What was the process of writing this track like for you? I can imagine it was emotional! What advice would you give to your teenage self or other young adults that are struggling with the issues touched on in your work?
It was definitely emotional, but the good thing is that now I can listen to the song with objectivity and realise that I’m not that person anymore. I wrote and recorded it in my room in about a week, so it was a super fast process. I don’t think I was as emotional until after I finished it though, only because I just get so focused whenever I’m producing or writing anything. I just dump all my thoughts and feelings into the song, and it’s not really until I listen to the song back that I can get emotional. I would tell my teenage self/other young adults that it’s okay to be going through this and it’s only temporary, and things might seem totally out of control right now but I promise if you stay strong you’ll feel so much better so soon. However, you have to want to get better in order to improve your well-being. There’s also zero shame in seeking help, my life got so much better once I found the right therapist and started becoming mentally and physically healthier.
What was it like working with Matthew Holdren of Matt & Hope on this? How did the collaboration come about?
I actually met Matt when I was in Alabama for my older sister Elizabeth’s vet school graduation this past May. My family was at the bar that Matt happened to be playing at, and it also happened to be Mother’s Day, so my parents were pushing me to go up and ask if I could sing a song for my mom. Of course, I told them I’d rather do literally anything else but eventually they were loud enough to get Matt’s attention and he let me come up and sing with him. I ended up playing his entire set with him, and from that day on we knew we had to collaborate! Matt still lives in Alabama, so I wasn’t with him when he came up with the guitar chords but he sent them over to me and I immediately started writing!
“I Think This Is Love?” was recorded during the pandemic, what was your lockdown like? Did the time push you to create?
My lockdown was definitely interesting. I had a crazy spiritual awakening and at the time I actually was really focused on becoming an actress so all of my attention was on those things during that period of time. I actually wrote and recorded the song right after the peak of COVID was over, during my freshman year of college. I didn’t feel pushed to create it at all, which is why it took me almost a year to completely finish it. Granted I kept abandoning the project and coming back to it months later out of frustration, but when I actually decided to buckle down and finish it I was really happy with the results and I’m glad I took my time.
You grew up with a fascination with musical theatre, what prompted the change to Pop-R&B? What artists are you inspired by?
I’ve always loved musical theatre for as long as I can remember, but I can say the same thing about Pop-R&B. I actually would listen to a lot of Pop-R&B as a kid like Rihanna and JoJo, and whatever my parents liked to listen to, which was usually old Jazz or 80s rock. I’m inspired by a plethora of artists, from Josh Groben to Doja Cat there are so many people that I admire and take inspiration from. However, if I’m going to name some of my current favourites, I’d have to say Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Alanis Morissette, and Janis Joplin. The transition to making my own music from musical theatre was a challenge though, I didn’t have the confidence in myself to even try to write my own stuff at first. I’ve never been happier now that I’m finally making my own music.
Do you have a favourite musical?
Oh, God. Honestly, I can never pick a favourite anything, there always has to be a top 3. So with that being said, my top three favourite musicals are Rent, Hadestown, Natasha, Pierre, and The Great Comet of 1812, no question. If you haven’t listened to any of the scores from these shows I 100% recommend you do!
What are you most excited about for the release of your upcoming EP? Are there any insights you can give us about it?
There honestly isn’t one thing in specific that I’m the most excited about, I’m genuinely so excited about the whole project. It’s going to be entirely self-written and produced, and I plan on releasing it by the end of this year. You can expect a sound that’s similar to ‘i think this is love?’ and ‘party girl’s lament’, and that’s all I will say!