I recently got the opportunity to have a chat with a very talented music artist, Anhayla Rene.
They have been a lot of buzz of late about her music, especially her covers on youtube so i decided to check her out myself and i have to say, i wasnt disappointed at all.
I also discovered that she has a brother, Eric, who is crazy on the violin, Anyways this interview is not about him, check out what we talked about, hope you enjoy it.
Hi Anhayla, Thanks for taking to speak to me today, Can I just I call you Ahn?
Sure. Have fun with it.
How are you doing? How is the day going for you so far?
Great to be alive, smiling, and singing. I am in currently in the studio working on my EP so I love it here!
Can you kindly give us some background information about yourself?
I'm from Richmond, VA and I'm a senior accounting major at Virginia Commonwealth University. Music has been a part of me since I was born. I started singing in church when I was five and since then, it has been my dream to share my music with the world. Last year I picked up a guitar and taught myself how to play. By May of 2009 I started uploading acoustic covers to YouTube and the world just caught on.
Tell us about how you got into music? At what did you start experimenting with music?
I come from a musical family, My mom plays the piano, my dad plays the drums, my brothers play many instrument. I've been singing my whole life. I didn't start experimenting with music until i was 10. I started writing my own songs and composing my own melodies.
How many instruments do you play?
I play the piano and guitar, but I want to learn how to play the banjo
Where does your inspiration come from especially when writing some of your songs?
I'm inspired by my life.
My music is my diary in a sense. I document what happens through music.
I mean you could have easily dropped out of school to focus on your music, what would you say has been the value in completing your education?
Being in college has taught me discipline and patience. I had to prioritize my goals and make decisions on what is important. It also helped me to be balanced and distribute my time effectively. Sometimes it’s about more than just getting an education, it’s about challenging yourself to finish something you started that’s is the reward.
What has been your most memorable experience so far?
So far, my most memorable experience is when I was walking in Times Square last year and one of my subscribers from YouTube recognized me. She was so excited and wanted to take pictures and everything. I'll never forget that moment because it made my music real for me. Before that, I didn't think people really cared.
What would you say has been some of the opportunities sharing your videos on sites like YouTube, Facebook and twitter given you especially your covers and original songs on YouTube?
Youtube opened a new chapter in my life. I've met so many people from youtube. Many of them are now working on my team. I’ve been contacted by many record labels, producers, and more. But most of all YouTube has given me the ability to spread music that changes people’s lives for the better. That is my goal. If I can’t make you feel good about yourself, then I’m not doing my job.
Let’s talk about mainstream music, do you think it all comes down to selling records and opportunities that others can’t seem to turn down which usually comes in exchange for their creativity as an artist, as a lot of people decide against getting signed and staying truth to their style as musician?
Everything you said is true and happens so much in the industry. Many artist get so excited that they jump at the first opportunity before them and ignore the fine print in their contracts. The one thing I have learned is patience. It's all about timing, the right opportunity will come in due time.
You know I am currently learning how to play the guitar as well, to be honest, its killing me! What tips can you give me or what have been some of the techniques you’ve learnt so far?
Practice until you get it right. When I bought my guitar last year, i had no clue what i was doing. So, I bought a theory book and learned the basic melody chords, moved to barre chords and now Im working on learning my scales. You just have to do what works best for you. The best technique is to have fun and simply enjoy learning a new instrument.
So you will be graduating very soon, it must be really exciting for you? Why not use your degree in accounting; I’m sure someone as committed and hard-working as yourself could still be successful as an accountant.
I will definitely be putting my accounting degree to good use. I decided to major in accounting so I could have an all around business sense. This has prepared me well for the industry. Not only can I play a guitar and sing, but I can do taxes, write contractual agreements, and create brands. In these days the industry requires the artist to be well rounded in all areas. lol
It is not very often you see as 12 years old practicising music and learning instruments, can you remember your motivation in learning those instruments, especially in those age when they are so much distractions out there?
In my house, music was apart of my family. My brother's always played instruments growing up, but I didn't. I felt left out. I just wanted to be able to play an instrument so that motivated me. I taught myself how to play the piano in the 6th grade and I didn't pick up a guitar until I was a junior in college. This just shows you that its never too late to learn how to play an instrument. You just have to REALLY want it.
How do you balance your music and education? I mean it must be so difficult, projects, coursework, practising, and performances?
It gets hard sometimes trying to balance school and music. I "try" to be as organized as possible and write everything down I need to do. All of my teachers know I do music, so they work with me as much as they can. I just take it one day at a time. I'm doing what I need to do in order to graduate in the spring.
How many hours do you take out to practise your music and instrument or how do you plan your time for rehearsing?
I practice when I want to. Usually on and off through the day. It always seems to be at the most awkward times like when I should be studying or really late at night.
What would you describe your style as?
My sound can best be described as infused rhythm and blues / soul. I take a lot from every genre and make it my own. So sometimes you may hear a little country, a little jazz, and a little rock. Add a sprinkle of Anhayla, and there you have it. I like to let my fans define my style.
I know you have a manager, how did that happen? A lot of people have difficulties getting managers, especially those that are able to respect their decisions and help them grow as a musician and also look for opportunities for them to showcase their talent? What is your story?
I met my manager online. He saw one of my YouTube videos and decided to take a chance with me. He has managed many Billboard charting artists so the expertise was there. Our relationship did not start from management.
The basis of our relationship has been built on trust and a shared passion for my dream. I flew to Kansas City and met him and his wife. Since then, we all have been inseparable. My manager has my best interest at heart and shares the same morals I do.
As a new artist you should always first focusing on creating great music and an online following. Make as much noise as possible and stay true to yourself and the right people to help your career along will follow.
What would you say has been some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learnt so far being a music artist?
I've learned that it's okay to be yourself. I've learned to accept criticism and not let the things people say affect me. People are either going to love you or hate you. However, at the end of the day it comes down to what I think of myself.
Give us some tips for young female artists looking to break into the music industry or looking to better themselves vocally?
Be original. Don't conform or "sell out" to what you think will give you that break. Always look for ways you can perfect your talent. Most importantly, love yourself. If you don't have confidence in who you are and a strong character this industry will tear you part. People will constantly be judging you and telling you what you should and should not do and you have to be strong enough not to lose yourself.
What are your next moves for your musical career?
I'm graduating in the spring of 2011, and I will pursue music full-time. I will finally be able to realize my dreams. I plan on releasing my debut EP first and also debuting with my single “UGLY” which you can see and hear a snippet of on YouTube. The video is also coming soon! If there are any creative and up and coming video producers reading this and want to discuss the video let me know. Lol. This is definitely just the beginning.
Thanks for your time Ahn
Don't forget to check her website: http://www.Anhayla.com to connect with her, why not send her a quick message, tweet her, facebook her.
Support and Buy her songs on itunes:
Her PROMO Video for her Debut Single - UGLY