Country Next: Avery Anna
We take pride in introducing fans to country music’s brightest new stars through our Country Next series. Here, we chat with Avery Anna.
Photo Courtesy Avery Anna
Avery Anna is living out her wildest dreams after realizing her musical aspirations at a very young age. The rising country music artist and Arizona native began singing at just ten years old. But, her social media presence is what led to a management and production deal – and eventually a recording contract.
During the World Health Crisis of 2020, Anna took to her mother’s bathroom, where she uploaded videos on TikTok of her singing cover songs. The result was positive as she received 10 million views with her rendition of “Say Something” by A Great Big World.
After signing with Warner Music Nashville, Anna released a seven-song major label debut EP, Mood Swings. With writer/producer/manager David Fanning at the helm, Mood Swings uncovers various sides and emotions of Anna while further introducing her youthful energy, talent behind the piano, and her knack for songwriting to listeners.
One track featured on the EP is Anna’s RIAA Gold-certified smash, “Narcissist,” which topped SiriusXM The Highway’s Hot 30 Countdown. The song brought more success as it was covered by Kelly Clarkson during her popular “Kellyoke” segment on The Kelly Clarkson Show.
Anna, who has thus far accumulated over 190M global streams, recently completed a run as a special guest on Chase Matthew and Kidd G’s joint tour. In the spring, the 2023 CMT Next Women of Country member will join Chase Rice on the road for his Way Down Yonder Tour.
Country Now recently got to chat with the rising star about her journey in country music, her Mood Swings EP, and more.
Read on to find out more about Avery Anna in this exclusive Q&A below.
How did you begin a career in country music?
I have been singing my whole life. I grew up in Flagstaff, Arizona, and began singing with my grandpa when I was 10. I remember we would sing old country songs by Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. My love for country music started then. I am 18 now, and I graduated high school in May. In my Junior year, we had Zoom school, and I would get bored. So, I would go into my mom’s bathroom and sit in her big bathtub because the acoustics were good there. One day, I decided to post a video of me singing “Say Something” on TikTok, and it blew up. It got about 10 million views and connected me with my managers, David Fanning and Tina Crawford (33 Creative). They are the best. Last June, I signed with Warner Music Nashville and moved to Nashville in August. So, I’ve just been doing all these shows and playing music.
How did you navigate the country music scene when you arrived in Nashville, and how did that lead to your deal with Warner Music Nashville?
Warner and some other labels reached out to me after I posted “Just Cause I Love You,” which was my first single on TikTok. I released the song – and I feel like with Warner, their team was just so personable and genuine. They are all such great people, and it felt right to work with them. So, I signed.
It sounds like you knew what you wanted to do from a very young age.
Yes. Being so young in the music industry and moving when I was 17 to a town where I didn’t know anybody was overwhelming. But, I feel like I’ve been learning so much in the past year. It’s exciting and fun. I love it. I love what I do. I’m just so grateful that I can do this because I never really – it’s kind of like a dream that I never knew I had because it felt impossible. I remember attending a Taylor Swift concert when I was younger. I remember watching her perform and thinking, ‘Oh. That would be so awesome. I would love to do that. But I can’t. That’s impossible. Like, I could never do that.’ I was taking away the dream from myself because I didn’t want it to be something I couldn’t accomplish because I loved it so much.
Would you consider Taylor Swift to be your biggest inspiration?
Honestly, I would say that I don’t have one artist that is my biggest inspiration because my taste varies a lot, but Taylor Swift is definitely one of the bigger ones. But, as a person and an artist, I admire Kelsea Ballerini and Carrie Underwood. I love Lauren Daigle. I also love Willie Nelson, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and all the oldies.
You made your Grand Ole Opry debut. What does that mean to you?
I used to sing, with my Grandpa, old country music when I was young. So, I always knew about the Grand Ole Opry. I remember sitting in Algebra class and watching Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini singing ‘Walkaway Joe’ on the Opry stage, and it seemed like an unreachable dream. Now, I’ve reached it, and I feel like this is the moment in my career where I truly feel like I’ve made it. It’s such a big deal. My Grandpa was able to be there, along with 40 other people in my family. So it was a special moment.
What is the inspiration behind your song, “Narcissist”?
I wrote “Narcissist” with David Fanning, Ben Williams, and Andy Sheridan. They are my bros. I was reading them pages out of my journal, and we were talking about just this situation I was in a few years ago. The song just fell out, and I wrote it to help myself with those emotions and that situation. But releasing it was hard because it’s such a vulnerable song.
“Narcissist” went viral on TikTok. How did it feel to receive that kind of support and recognition?
Seeing the community it has created online is so comforting to me. It makes me feel so much better about my situation. The fact that I’ve created a safe space for people to share their stories about the same thing is insane. It’s such an honor and so uplifting. It’s just great to see people sharing their stories in the comments. It’s overwhelming. It’s changed how I look at my songs and write. After I released “Narcissist” and read all of the comments on YouTube and TikTok and all of that, I kept all of those people in mind when writing “Critic” because it was a similar story to “Narcissist” and it’s a similar thing to what they’ve all been through. Going to shows and playing “Narcissist” live is such an experience because the people that know it, I know they know it because they’re singing along. The people that don’t, if they have a similar story, I can see it on their faces that the lyrics just hit them differently, and at that moment, we make that connection. It’s amazing. It honestly brings tears to my eyes.
Those two songs are on your recent EP Mood Swings, which dropped in the fall. Can you tell me about that project?
Yes, so I decided to call the EP Mood Swings because the seven songs on the EP are a representation of those extreme emotions that I felt over the last few years. So it goes from really happy to sad to sassy to in love to sad to happy again. So it takes you through this emotional roller coaster of very relatable emotions. These songs, I feel like, are a different side of me because before that, it was mostly, sad breakup songs.
How did “La Di Da” come about?
“La Di Da,” I wrote with Andy Sheridan, Ben Williams, and Steven McMorran, also my bros. We had written a ton of sad songs. But I went in and was like, ‘Can you play something fun? I need to get this off of my chest.’ We wrote that song in 30 minutes. It’s the funnest song I’ve ever written. I’m super proud of all of the writers on this EP, like “biggest t-shirt” was my first write with Lori McKenna. The night before, I was sitting in my bedroom on the floor, going through my journal from two years ago, and I wrote a verse and a chorus about my past self. [The lyrics] were really sad. But, the next day, I had a Zoom with Lori McKenna, Chris McKenna, and Colin Healy, and I played it for them. They helped me finish the song and bring it to life. And it was such a bizarre moment to write with Lori McKenna about something so deep down in my journal from two years ago. I love that one. “Lovesick” was my first write with Sasha Sloan. That was also with Jesse Frasure.
Will these songs be added to a full-length album in the future?
That is not determined yet. I’m guessing the next album will be a full set of new songs. I can’t say for sure yet.
Do you have a favorite song from the project?
I think “Narcissist” because it hits the hardest for everybody.
What’s next for you?
I want to keep writing and playing around with my sound and getting songs out there.
Fans can keep up with Avery Anna on Instagram.
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