It was the early 2000s and a very young Anacarina was wandering her home, doing what toddlers do when her mother discovered her daughter’s newest fascination – opera. It’s where our back and forth with songstress began but as the layers started to peel away, we got into finding her way in a new city, the flip side of love, and more. That includes her new EP, ‘One of Your Forevers,’ which drops May 29, 2020!
Kendra: I’ve been doing this more than a decade now and I am pretty sure you’re the first to have admired opera as a kid. What initially drew you to a genre we usually relate to older audiences?
Anacarina: Haha yes, the story is from when I was a toddler running about the house and getting into everything. My mother found that when she put on a video of Andrea Bocelli, I would suddenly stop whatever I was doing. I’d stand frozen in front of the TV, captivated by his singing. I also loved Sarah Brightman and others, but Bocelli was mesmerizing to me for several years.
In retrospect I believe it was the depth of emotions he conveyed and the dramatic camera angles. Also, Italian is such a gorgeous language sonically. Interestingly, this seemed to foreshadow my inclination towards the performing and visual arts. Although I appreciate many music genres, to this day I have great respect for opera performers and their intense training. I was in student choirs for years and trained with several classical voice teachers, including Houston’s phenomenal Alicia Gianni. These formal experiences contributed to my foundation as a vocalist.
Kendra: As you got older and interested in music, you also found you enjoy acting. Was that part of the reason you packed up and moved to Los Angeles?
Anacarina: I moved to LA about a year and a half ago. I was freshly 21. Many things aligned to inspire my move. I would absolutely say the film scene is a pro for me being here. Acting is a passion of mine, and I have experience in theater, but it was the music scene that predominantly drove my enthusiasm for moving to LA. I have received so much more, though, in terms of art expression, and feel the opportunities are numerous. My sister, Lorelei Acuña, is an artist on many levels, and we enjoy collaborating. She’s involved in film and video production through CALArts. She produced and directed the upcoming “NUMB” music video and the “Anacarina – Beautiful (Acoustic)” music video, out now on Youtube. I anticipate more projects with her, and I’m also meeting and planning with other creators too. So, this is a great place to be. I love California!!
Kendra: You’ve been in LA for a couple of years now. What’s the one stereotype that’s proven to be right, and what’s the one you’ve found to be 100% false?
Anacarina: The vegan scene here is incredible, so that’s been totally spot on. I was told it never rains here — there’s even a song about that — but I’ve experienced rain, and also some rainbows. It’s predominantly sunny, and I am thrilled because I enjoy the occasional downpour.
Kendra: Let’s talk about music, in particular yours! You were 17 when you dropped your first record, ‘Soot Covered Soul.’ Now you’re well into your 20’s. In that time you’ve obviously seen and experienced more. With that, how do you feel the two records compare, and what artistic growth did you notice in yourself this time around with ‘One of Your Forevers?’
Anacarina: In short, the first album displays deep vulnerability, whereas the second offers more power. As you might expect, as I have begun to love my own demons, and love those around me in, perhaps, a wiser way, my music has adapted to fit those changes. I am always creating new content and being inspired to revisit original ideas that have evolved. When it is time to record, the song that is ready to come out, comes out intuitively, and that’s what happened on both of these projects.
I began playing informal venues at 15, and I started studio recording at 17. When my first single, “Going Under,” debuted I was 18, and that same year I released my first album, ‘Soot Covered Soul.’ It’s a compilation of songs I wrote and revised between the ages of 13 and 18. Songs were recorded over the course of several months, really the main focus was my senior year of high school. I wanted to express creatively who I was at the time, while capturing the pain and beauty associated with the emotional roller coaster of heartache and loneliness. It’s 11 tracks of original music, lyrics & arrangement, and I also designed the cover and logo art. I’m considered an old soul, so if you bought the actual CD, you also got a retro-styled poster of me in which the photographer, Steve Harris, really caught my vulnerability and feelings of being imperfect.
In contrast to the yearlong production time of album one, the songs on “One of Your Forevers” were recorded within one brief 30-day period. Well, that’s with the exception of “Grave”, which was recorded a few months prior, and actually inspired this EP. Unlike album one, however, I felt really pressed for time in recording the EP, and it’s a pressure I totally put on myself. Sort of like, “so many songs, so little time”. Seems a little crazy, but you need to understand that before I ever stepped into a recording studio, I had so many songs written and started in my head that I probably could have continuously recorded a song a month for three more years.
Luckily, that didn’t happen, because the songs were able to further evolve and reveal themselves. One of the first songs I ever wrote was “Bluebird Baby,” but it didn’t sync with the first album. It almost didn’t even make the EP, but during that 30 days, something suddenly clicked, and it called out to me. Like the other five tracks, it found its place on this EP as one of my forever songs.
For me, I am most thrilled that this new EP shows my truly inspired growth as a vocalist, songwriter, and an all-around creator. Like the first album and my many singles, it features original cover art, because I really enjoy the complete process of my works. I’m 22 right now, and if 13-year-old me, or even 17-year-old me, knew I was in California pursuing what makes me happiest, I know she would be proud. I am exactly who I want to be at this moment. Both projects were recorded and produced by Jonathan Lee Chan. His talent and growth are present, as well as the chemistry in our collaborations. Also, both projects were mastered by Chris Longwood.
Kendra: When it comes to your latest single “Numb” you’ve noted it’s about that flip side of love. That feeling of giving your heart to someone who didn’t deserve it at all. Why do you think we’re sometimes too quick to hand our hearts over despite red flags?
Anacarina: Love is a topic I love to discuss. It’s fascinating, it’s universal, and it’s ultimately why I write songs. We are all deserving of unconditional love, however, we have to first learn to love ourselves before we can truly love others in a mutual and positive way. It’s like that journey in Coelho’s book, ‘The Alchemist,’ of venturing far and wide to ultimately discover the gems within.
It seems to me that some people develop habits of jumping in too fast as a quick fix for their own pain. At the same time, other people make themselves unavailable to the full relationship of giving and receiving for the same reason – to avoid pain. If we haven’t made peace with our own pain first, then we have discord in ourselves and in the relationship. We get angry, we numb ourselves, but hopefully we survive it and learn something helpful — eventually anyway. That’s what “Numb” is about, this process of becoming empowered in ourselves despite the setbacks we feel.
I believe that real love is about surrender. It’s to love someone exactly as they are. It’s accepting that, like you, they have limitless potential, and are here to evolve and grow. It’s as innocent as appreciating the time you have together, being present and satisfied in the now. Love is a feeling, for some it is an absolute knowing, and it is happening NOW. I know that I am loved, that we are all loved, and I hold that same independent and eternal love for others. It is not forced, and it does not have to be bought or proven, it just is, or it isn’t.
To love someone is to simply wish the best for another on their journey, and the infinite possibilities that holds. It’s having the confidence that no matter the outcome, you are fine either way. It is to admire a wildflower and not need to cut it and take it home with you to “make you happy.” It is not the desire to control or to own someone, and not to fix or save someone. We are all individuals. We are whole within ourselves. Desperation is not passion. Sex is not intimacy. People put so much weight on relationships, spend so much time agonizing over this false sense of what is and isn’t valid, and it’s all self-inflicted. It’s an excuse, because the real discovery is always about our relationship with ourselves. To love and be loved is natural. It’s with the expectations, conditions, power struggles, fear, or a false image of “what love is supposed to look like” that we hurt ourselves and each other.
Kendra: With your 20’s being the wild wild west of dating and relationships, are we going to hear a wide variety of those highs and lows on this EP?
Anacarina: I believe this EP has a lot of emotional depth around the theme of love and relationships, but rather than the Wild West, I see it as a drive up the mountain, a walk through the woods, or even rollerblading at the beach with your favorite companion. I think you will hear my encouragement for you to feel deeply, love completely, and know that we all share universally in the great mysteries of the heart.
Kendra: Usually, this is where I ask people what they have planned in the coming months but with the world in a strange place right now, plans aren’t as concrete as they typically are. You can go ahead and let us know what you have tentatively planned but can you also share a song that never fails to get you through when the world around you feels like a mess?
Anacarina: I am super excited about the May 29th release of the full EP ‘One of Your Forevers.’ The “Numb” music video is also dropping soon. During this pandemic, there’s been lots of sharing of love, music and art in the online realm. So, I’ve done some live stuff on social media, while continuing to write music. Once we are in the safe zone, I plan to perform live with a California (and beyond) tour. I am also ready to get back into the studio. It’s my desire to become a more self-sufficient and independent creator, producing a few of my own projects, but I also love to collaborate and work with other artists. My visions going forward are bolder than ever. As I continue to expand and improve as a person, inevitably my music will too, because it’s my focus and desire. I create for the fun and the love of it, so I intend to continue consistently nurturing my skills.