Anna Sun Own Their Hazy Pop-Rock Truth On Self-Titled Debut EP

Anna Sun are kicking off the new year with a new breed of anthems, combining the dreamy atmosphere of indie bedroom pop with the buzzy guitars of alternative rock. Lead singer Samantha Aneson, bassist Andrew Shewaga, and drummer Nikola Balać are a kaleidoscopic trio made in heaven, bringing out the best in each other’s artistry while standing apart and bringing their own unique visions to the project. Their hard work and tight-knit connection has culminated in the release of their debut EP, Anna Sun, a six-track collection of airy musings and heartfelt confessions that will effortlessly flirt its way into your rotation.

“We were working in another project before the pandemic that was derailed, and we wanted toput out work with this project as soon as possible so we could start getting the ball rolling,” Aneson tells TREMG. “It’s as good a time as any. We want to be able to play shows in the summer, and it helps to have a body of work to which we can refer.”

Anna Sun is the perfect body of work for a fresh debut, setting the stage for an exciting career full of energetic live shows, hazy guitar riffs, and perhaps most importantly, the confidence to be raw and vulnerable in a digital era where image is everything. 

Songs like “What A Shame” touch on Aneson’s loss of her mother, who has been battling with dementia. Lots of artists through music history have discussed loss in their music, but Anna Sun’s rendition stands apart, simply accepting the grief as a part of life and pushing to move forward instead of wallowing in the pain. It’s the perfect example of what the group does best: going all-in with their deepest feelings and inner conflict in hopes of helping listeners to feel less alone.

“For me, it’s not hard to be vulnerable with my music because music has always functioned as a form of catharsis and processing for my emotions,” Aneson admits. It feels good to be able to create something beautiful from something so tragic. It helps me feel less hopeless, and it gives me a way to channel that grief and fear into something positive. I also don’t know of much music about losing a loved one to dementia, so I’m happy to be able to contribute and help others process their grief as well.”

Another highlight of the EP is Anna Sun’s debut single, the dreamy “Mine.” We previously described the track as one “combining all the best aspects of lighthearted satires and classic love songs,” offering whispers of nostalgia for the early aughts while still managing to move elegantly in a fresh, future-forward light.

Whether you’re more drawn to the Fleetwood Mac-esque “For Better,” the airy yet sultry “One Room Away,” which Aneson calls her favorite track, or the upbeat summery anthem “Weak,” there’s something on the EP that will fit on your favorite playlist. Anna Sun is a gradient of complex emotions and delightfully honest lyrics, a moodboard for a nostalgic generation that grew up getting to know classic artists through their parents’ records while finding the most promising modern acts through streaming services.

Aneson shares, “ I grew up listening to R&B and pop, moved to classic rock, emo, and indie. It’s all kind of a combination of those things. As a songwriter, I feel like my style is really influenced by Jenny Lewis and Mac Demarco, among others. Nikola is more of a rock guy, which is why the drums bring a lot of that sound to the table. Andrew is inspired by Motown bassists and funk. There’s a lot going on.”

With that many influences and so many unique viewpoints on one project, there’s bound to be at least one song on the EP that you’ll fall head over heels for. And if not, there’s no doubt that Anna Sun have plenty more exciting ambient jams up their sleeves. You can find Anna Sun on your favorite streaming services now, and get to know Anna Sun on Facebook, Instagram, and their official website! Keep reading for more from our Q&A with Samantha Aneson.

(c) Dylan Thomas

Congratulations on your debut EP! How does it feel to finally let the project out into the world?

Thank you! It feels good but so strange given the state of the industry/world etc. Just trying to continue creating and producing work despite what we think will happen with its success. We’re happy to have some music to share now!

How did you know now was the right time to debut?

We were working in another project before the pandemic that was derailed, and we wanted to put out work with this project as soon as possible so we could start getting the ball rolling. It’s as good a time as any. We want to be able to play shows in the summer, and it helps to have a body of work to which we can refer.

Your latest single, “What a Shame,” was inspired by your mom’s passing, and I’m so sorry for that loss. Was it hard to be that vulnerable in a song?

Appreciate that. For me, it’s not hard to be vulnerable with my music because music has always functioned as a form of catharsis and processing for my emotions. It feels good to be able to create something beautiful from something so tragic. It helps me feel less hopeless, and it gives me a way to channel that grief and fear into something positive. I also don’t know of much music about losing a loved one to dementia, so I’m happy to be able to contribute and help others process their grief as well. Obviously, I would prefer to not be going through this loss, but the best way to deal with grief is to channel it into something good.

Anna Sun started as your own project before Andrew and Nikola joined. When did you decide to expand the project into a band?

My very good friend Celine kept encouraging me to play live with the music I had been releasing on my own. She offered me several slots on bills she was playing in order to push me to continue putting energy into that project. It first came out of necessity, as I had several songs that needed live backing, and I ended up asking Nikola and Andrew to help me, knowing that they would like the music. We played our first couple gigs right before the pandemic.

I love that your sound combines elements of rock and pop so effortlessly! Who are some of your musical inspirations?

We all have a lot of different inspirations. I grew up listening to R&B and pop, moved to classic rock, emo, and indie. It’s all kind of a combination of those things. As a songwriter, I feel like my style is really influenced by Jenny Lewis and Mac Demarco, among others. Nikola is more of a rock guy, which is why the drums bring a lot of that sound to the table. Andrew is inspired by Motown bassists and funk. There’s a lot going on.

Is there a certain song you’re most excited for fans to hear?

Definitely excited for people to hear “One Room Away.” That’s probably my favorite on the album.

What lyric on the EP are you proudest of?

“I’m just a girl, standing in front of a boy, asking him to fuck me” lol

If it weren’t for COVID-19, what would your dream release cycle/promotions look like?

Just lots of gigging and being able to promote in person. It’s hard to get the right turnout when the situation changes so consistently.

Is there anything else you’d like to mention that the questions didn’t touch on?

Thank you for having us! To the readers, if you like what you hear, please share! It helps us a lot.

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Madison Murray View All →

Hi! I’m Madison Murray, a pop culture and music writer who also loves writing about lifestyle and fashion. I have credits on sites like TREMG, The Honey POP, Genius, Young Hollywood, and Audible Addixion, as well as my own Melodic Musings blog. Find me on socials @madisonmwrites!

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