SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Sannia

Sannia stops by theaussieword.com for a special interview.

Give us an introduction. How did it all begin? What had you first interested in music? If my mum were here she’d tell you I was an uncomfortable active foetus whenever she played music in the car; I’ve always been obsessed with music and sound. I started piano lessons when I was four and for a long time that was the path I thought I would go down – classical pianist and composer, around fifteen I quit piano and took up singing because I just really felt the need to express myself even further, I was really drawn to poetry and lyrics and started writing my own songs and haven’t really looked back since.

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What motivates or influences you in your quest to make great music? I’ve always been a very driven person, I’m constantly inspired by the people around me and tend to push myself to experiment when I hear new sounds. Any of my high school teachers will tell you I always tried to push the label in every aspect of my life. I know what I’m capable of, and constantly push myself to keep improving, keep learning and keep evolving as an artist.

What are your biggest goals you hope to accomplish as an artist? I think most Australian artists will have that little checklist in their head of the things they want to achieve here, like playing Splendour, or winning an Aria, selling out a national tour and I’m definitely a goal driven person and try to work towards those too. But for me a lot of those accomplishments can’t be quantified – I want to make people feel something, I want to inspire someone to pick up an instrument or start writing lyrics like other artists did for me, I want to somehow make a difference, I’m not sure how I’m going to do it yet, but that’s the goal.

What can we expect from you in the coming months? Any plans to tour? Ideally I’d love to do some gigs interstate and just get out and meet more people, I’d also love to cowrite with a few artists outside of Victoria – in short, stay tuned!

Tell us a bit about your debut single and how would you best describe your music?

The single:

  • The song developed really organically for me, I was actually driving home late one night and was just trying to keep myself awake. I just sort of started humming lines and singing the first words that came to mind – which probably says a lot about my headspace at the time. By the time I got home I’d managed to flesh out most of the song behind the wheel but for the sake of my family I waited until the next day to record it
  • ‘Go And Get Over’ is about the cyclical process of moving on from someone while at the same time reminiscing on everything that was compared to what it’s become now which I think a lot of people can relate to. You almost go through these sort of seven stages of grief – leaving them, missing them, going back, getting hurt, trying to exact change – it takes it’s toll.

My music could be best described as indie-pop with soul flavours, it’s definitely an amalgamation of all the music that’s influenced me throughout my life so it’s hard to label. But I think what ties it all together is the fact it’s raw and emotional, it’s straight from the heart

Success, what is the secret to it? There’s no secret to it at all. It’s entirely hard work, there’s no such thing as good luck, it’s all hard work and making smart choices. Ask questions, get help and help others when they need it, show up on time, surround yourself with positive and supportive people and always treat them with respect, and of course never stop working on your craft.

What has been your biggest career highlight?

  • There’s two that come to mind. The first being the moment where I sat down behind the desk at Sing Sing Studios to hear the final mix of my EP and I got incredibly emotional, I think I realised that after working towards it for five years I could finally hear my music, and the truest representation of who I am as an artist playing back to me through the speakers.
  • The second being a gig that I did last year at the indestructible Brunny Hotel, it was towards the end of our set and the whole band were sort of just losing themselves in the music and we had a pretty decent crowd in the room and I looked out and saw these two girls singing along to one of my songs, I was so flawed I almost forget my own lyrics

Which stars of the music industry do you find inspiring? There’s so many inspiring artists in this country but the first person that comes to mind for me at the moment is Dave Le’aupepe from Gang of Youths. His honesty about his own experiences with mental illness and openness in general is making it more acceptable for his fan-base, in particular young men to address and accept their own emotions. It’s so important for us to talk about mental health and try to eradicate the stigma around it.

Any new projects in the pipeline? I’ve got a live show coming up on the 13th of July at the Wesley Anne where I’ll be launching the single and premiering some new original music. I’m really excited to see how people will respond to that new material and also thrilled to have Eaglemont and Ruby Gill on board as supports. After that? You’ll just have to wait and see

The music industry is huge, where do you see yourself a few years from now? Whenever I’m asked this question I think about the Erised Mirror from Harry Potter and have to resist the urge to answer; “holding the Qudiditch cup…” In all seriousness though I’m not sure, I’ve got goals I’d like to achieve and hopefully at some stage I’ll be doing some more work overseas or co-writing with other artists but ultimately, as long as I’m still making music on my own terms and people still want to hear it, I’m happy with just that.

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Name a few of your favourite Aussie artists.

  1. There’s so many where do I start! First up I’ve got to say Vera Blue is absolutely smashing it; she recently sold out a national tour with an unashamedly all female line up and performed an absolutely stellar set from her album.
  2. An Australian artist that really shaped my sound and approach to songwriting would have to be Matt Corby, I remember first hearing Made of Stone in high school and thinking immediately of Jeff Buckley, just the way he was completely emotionally free and then finding myself immersed in the rest of his EP and the ones that followed
  3. I think Ngaiire is one of the greatest vocalists in the country if not the world, she has one of the most incredibly emotive and technically brilliant voices I’ve ever heard
  4. I discovered Gang of Youths at a time where I was pretty disillusioned with not only music industry but with myself, and I was instantly overpowered by the frankness of Dave’s lyrics. It felt like someone was talking directly to me, answering my questions and personally solving my problems; I’ve never felt so connected to an artist I’ve never met before. I’m going to be front-and-centre at their show at the Forum in November.
  5. A few upcoming Aussie artists to definitely keep an eye on would have to be Odette, Eliott and G Flip, I’m loving their music

The shape of the music industry has changed significantly over the years, including the use of social media, how do you feel about the industry as a whole and what does it mean to you in getting your records out into the public eye? It’s a tricky one, while I’m torn on the growing culture of streaming and reliance on visual social media, I think it’s made music much more accessible to people who may not otherwise have had the opportunity to engage with it. That being said, it’s becoming increasingly hard for artists to support themselves financially without the security of album sales and with the closure of venues we have an issue where there’s a huge amount of incredible talent out there, but at the same time less and less people are coming out to see them live. I’ve seen too many people shell out $200 a ticket for an international artist, and in the same breath complain about a local artist charging $10 on the door.

Thanks for the interview! What final message do you have for us today? Support your local music industry, pay the $10 on the door and give an upcoming artist a chance, it’s too easy for us to plug in and switch off but the artists that we love and listen to on radio and online have to start somewhere, and they can’t do that with you. Buy a ticket, buy a drink, buy their homemade CD and encourage original music in live venues.

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