By: Pojanee “PJ” Fleury
The thought of Amy Winehouse crossed with Corinne Bailey Rae comes to mind when you first hear Anna’s voice. Her music cannot be encapsulated by one genre because her cross generational and cultural influences are prevalent. Anna’s music is as unique as Anna is; a child of Ugandan and Russian who grew up in Germany and Russia.
Brown Eyez Magazine sat down with Ms. Nyakana; we discovered she is just as passionately concerned about the health of others and the planet as she is with her own. There are plenty of artists with great voices, but rarely will meet an artist with a great vision for the world as well.
B-E-M How do you define healthy living and how does music play a part in your
AN: I define healthy living as maintaining a balance in my life. Music plays a part by inspiring and elevating me through its positive messages.
B-E-M What are some things you do to keep yourself healthy (daily rituals or
AN: First, I surround myself with positive people, eat healthy, and read constantly. Life is like a game of chess and for that reason, I set aside time for self-reflection to strategically plan my next “move.”
B-E-M How long have you been performing in general? Have you encountered
ageism, if so, how do you handle it?
AN: I have been performing since the age of six, when I first discovered my voice and ear for music. Thus far, I have not encountered any ageism, if anything I have gained support from my achievements.
B-E-M Who are your influences?
AN: I do not allow things to influence me; I allow inspirations. Artists that have inspired me include Bob Marley, Otis Redding, Corrine Bailey Rae, Ayo, K-os, Ben Harper, and Ella Fitzgerald. In addition, I am inspired by the writings of revolutionaries such as Marcus Garvey and Gandhi.
B-E-M How important is it to be positive onstage as well as off stage?
AN: It is extremely important to be positive onstage as well as offstage. I try to remain conscious of the words I speak and the things I do. For I hold myself accountable to be a role model as a young woman in the music industry and as a woman of culture.
B-E-M What advice would you give upcoming artists especially ones that are
AN: I would tell any young upcoming artist to stay in school. Next, I advise that they educate themselves about the reality of the music industry today. Lastly, I would say to not let anyone tell you that you cannot achieve your goals. For the moment you begin to listen is the moment you sell you dream.
B-E-M What community service projects are you involved in? What projects would
like to see in your community?
AN: As a humanitarian, I am a member of the Save Darfur Coalition and Genocide Intervention Network. These non-profit organizations have shed light on the atrocities happening in Darfur (Sudan, Africa). I would like to see more projects in my community educating young people about current events taking place around the world and how we, as a people, can help.
B-E-M What are some ways you take care of the earth, does this play a role in your personal and professional lifestyle (i.e. not using too much energy, recycling).
AN: One way that I take care of the earth is by being conscious of recycling. I never use Styrofoam cups for my daily dose of tea; instead, I stay “green” by using a thermos. Next, in this technological world that we live in it is easy to have a television, computer, cell phone, and even an iPod all running at the same time. However, I try to choose one luxury at a time.
B-E-M What do you want people, especially the Black community, to get out of
AN: I want my music to transcend all barriers whether political, racial, or spiritual. In this way, not only the Black community, but all communities, can be motivated to eradicate any form of indifferences they may have.
B-E-M In your opinion, how can positive music help "cure" some of the issues
facing communities both locally and aboard?
AN: Music has the potential to move mountains; it all depends on what the message is. Positive music can inspire change to unite or “cure” communities and nations of people.
B-E-M What can we expect from you in the future?
AN: I am currently working no my sophomore album, so you can definitely expect new music.
Besides that, you can expect that I will continue to keep true music alive and use it to change the world, one listener at a time.
B-E-M How can we find you or learn more about the work you do?
AN: You can read my bio, check my show dates and appearances, hear my music and more by visiting www.annanyakana.com