Singer/songwriter, Anna Dellaria, premiered her powerful new single “At My Worst” giving fans a taste of her upcoming EP due out later this Fall.
While Anna is a relatively fresh face to music, her previous single “I Choose Me” debuted across 6 New Music Friday playlists with over 950k+ digital streams to date! It also scored her partnerships with Shazam and Apple, as well as placements on the TV show Younger. So it was no surprise that fans were anxiously awaiting her next release.
We sat down with Anna- who certainly wasn’t at her worst- to dive into the new song and catch a glimpse of what’s next!
You grew up in a self-described non-musical household. When did you first know you wanted to be a singer and was your family supportive? How did you go about learning to sing and play multiple instruments?
It sounds super cliché, but I’ve known since I could mumble melodies that it was what I was going to be doing for the rest of my life. Whether or not I was successful in making a business out of it was unknown, but the fact that I would always be a singer and be performing somewhere, somehow always felt like part of my identity since before I think I really had words to describe it. However, I was in first grade when I realized that people could sing for a profession and decided that I wanted to pursue that ASAP.
My family wasn’t too supportive about the whole “I’m going to do this for a living” part, haha! My mom was always supportive of me practicing and learning instruments, writing, etc. but until my senior year of high school – the conversations were typically like “okay, but you have to go to college and keep an open mind about other careers” kind of vibe. Once I got into USC’s fairly difficult and selective program, I think she was able to see that there are paths to pursuing music professionally without the crazy drama that so many of us envision when you think of someone trying to “make it.”
I was self-taught for the most part growing up until I went to college. I had a plastic toy piano when I was about 6 that I started messing around with and eventually upgraded to a keyboard that I just learned chords by ear on. I took some piano lessons and learned basic music theory, but quickly stopped when I realized so much of classical piano training is practicing someone else’s writing – and I wanted to write my own. Piano’s always been a vessel for me to create and accompany my songs more than it has been a performance outlet.
What was it like getting accepted to USC’s prestigious music program and what were a few key lessons you learned there- in class or just on campus and in Los Angeles?
Funnily enough, my acceptance into USC’s Popular Music Program was a huge lesson in itself! It taught me that hard work and persistence pay off, and to follow your instincts and heart and not listen to negativity or judgment trying to distract you along the way. In elementary and middle school – I was not academic at all and very quiet. I loved English class and Art, but really struggled to maintain a positive academic record I think largely because I was so socially anxious (actually went silent for a year from it!)
Teachers would essentially tell me and my parents that I was always going to struggle with being book smart. Similarly, the community around me (friends and fam) didn’t really know I sang or wrote at all. When I got to high school, I was super rebellious in an unconventional way. I made these internal vows to achieve these things and break these predetermined ideas from other people about who I was going to be or the limit to what I could do. By all means necessary! If I needed to study more or stay up all hours of the night for two years (which is what ended up happening) then I would. If I had to challenge myself to be vulnerable and sing loudly at home even though people might hear me – then that was what I had to do. I went from being perceived as the slower, unsure and shy student to maintaining all AP Classes with a high GPA and expanding my vocal range and abilities with metronome apps and awkward open mics. Getting into USC reinforced this idea that you can do or become anything that you want or feel – even if others try to label you as something else. Just don’t acknowledge the bullshit.
You sang as part of an Ethan Allen commercial campaign that ran during the Academy Awards last year. How did that come about? Was that a turning point for your career?
I feel like I should take a moment and say that most of the “biggest” or coolest moments with stuff like that have all come about so spontaneously, organically and out of my control. For anyone else who struggles with feeling like they may not be doing enough to make things “happen” or that there’s some huge secret or trick behind highlights like these. I’m so so grateful for the Ethan Allen Opportunity and it came about through a composer and producer I work with often who sent me a cover of the song and asked if I’d record a version of it. I recorded at home in LA and sent it to him in NYC, and he had said he wanted to share it with a friend of his. The friend was in charge of the music for this campaign and accepted the recording pretty much on the spot. Initially, I had no idea what the recording was for and only found out once it was pretty much all set for the commercial and campaign. It’s always amazing to see any music I’m involved with put to film or TV in creating little moments like that one.
What inspired your recent song “I Choose Me: and now “Mama Said’? What do you hope fans take away from it?
“I Choose Me” is a bit more vulnerable in that it’s inspired by the idea that our flaws or insecurities don’t justify compromising our standards or self-worth for other people. It captures more of a moment when you decide to make this vow or pact with yourself after being walked on or taken advantage of one too many times.
“Mama Said” is centered around this larger idea that we should all be able to exist in the world without having to defend our identity or happiness. It’s meant to represent both the day to day battles and larger societal / world conflict when it comes to simply coexist. Whether it be a jealous friend who feels better by knocking down our achievements, or on a larger scale feeling exhausted by the need to adhere to standards or expectations from the world around you while defending your authenticity.
With both of these songs, I hope that listeners feel empowered and enabled to try and love themselves and recognize their self-worth. Ideally while celebrating and singing along! I think it’s lofty to expect anyone to listen and suddenly feel like they’re the shit – but I do hope the songs inspire this belief that our imperfections and insecurities don’t define us, but rather strengthen us and allow us to grow.
What can we expect from your upcoming EP?
A lot! Each song is a very different perspective of myself and my music in both the lyric/message and also in the style and production. It’s very much Pop/R&B with some uptempo pop bops, and then some more intensive ballads and stripped-down performances that are a bit more intimate. There’s also a rap feature that I can’t wait to announce and share 🙂
Since you now live in LA, what are the following:
Favorite place to get inspired to write music: The beach for sure. The ocean makes me feel so small and cleanses my creative palette in the sense that I am forced to think bigger and outside of my internal dialogue. Only other place would be Los Feliz or Hollywood and go people watching. It’s so interesting to watch all these different types of people going somewhere. I always wonder “Where are they going?” “Are they happy?”. It’s also the easiest place to pull from for sensory inspiration. Essentially – I am that strange girl in the corner at Starbucks watching everyone stroll along while sipping on warm coffee in 90degree weather – humming gibberish into her iPhone and then hastily typing lyrics on the notes app.
Best food or coffee spot: This one’s so hard cause 1) I rarely eat out and 2) when I do it becomes my new favorite place so it’s changed frequently. I’d say Marmalade (more of a chain) or Cafe Birdie (very bougie Highland Park.)
Venue you’d most like to play in LA: I’d love to play The Roxy. I went to a show at The Roxy during my first visit to LA, so it has this strange level of significance and magic to it in that I just couldn’t help thinking “damn it’d be so fun to be up there”.
Anything us you want fans to know about you?
Thank you for listening! Means the most to know the music affects people and moves or inspires them. Thank you for supporting and taking a chance on new, independent artists.