Anna Pena; Artistic, Dark and Edgy Pop Princess Making Waves In Music
Anna Pena can be described as mysterious, artistic, dark and edgy pop princess. Mostly creating alternative pop in the studio, Anna tests the limits incorporating unusual genres and contrasting musical styles together. From pop, rock, to even musical theatre, all styles are welcome in Anna’s repertoire. Growing up in professional musical theater at a young age, Anna remains true to her roots, inspired by theatrical content and incorporating that into her shows and artistry. Drawn to dark subject matter and theatrical performers, Anna’s musical inspirations include artists such as Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, Queen, and Melanie Martinez.
From performing on stages from the age of 4 years old to performing for Howie, Mel, Heidi & Howard on America’s Got Talent, Anna constantly shares her art at numerous venues in Dallas/Fort Worth. In her upcoming EP, you will experience the highs and lows of love and loathing
Danielle/MT: Who are some of your musical influences? When did you know music was your calling and when did you figure out why you needed to pursue music as your career?
Anna Pena: I am super inspired by theatrical performers and artists that dabble in darker/ edgier sounds and subject matter. My biggest musical inspirations include artists such as Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, Queen, Melanie Martinez, Foxy Shazam and Panic at The Disco.
I have loved singing since as long as I can remember. When I was four years old I was called on stage by a children’s singer-songwriter while on vacation with my family. That was the first time I ever sang in front of an audience and my family was absolutely stunned. They had no idea that I could sing because I was pretty shy about it as a kid. I was obsessed with all things performing arts as a kid.
There really wasn’t an exact moment I knew this was the right path for me, I kind of just always knew this is what I was born to do, even though that sounds super silly and cheesy to most people. It’s really hard to explain, I just always knew this is what I was going to do and so did my family, it never was really a question. Since as far back as I can remember I was constantly talking about this and my every thought was consumed by it. I was just born knowing my passion and I don’t think I would be happy doing anything else.
MT: How long have you been singing and performing for?
Anna Pena: I began performing in professional theaters when I was around 10 years old and attended an all fine arts high school, so I have definitely been performing and singing pretty much my whole life. I transitioned from my classical, theatrical training to pop/commercial music when I was about 18. That’s when I first started writing my own music and gigging with a band.
MT: Who do you enjoy listening to as a fan?
Anna Pena: The first person that always pops into my mind when I think of the artist I listen to the most and am the biggest fan of is Lana Del Rey. Her music has had such a unique impact on me, I truly have never seen another artist like her. I enjoy literally everything she puts out.
MT: When was your very first recording and release?
Anna Pena: I recorded and released some singles back around 2016 before I really found my own sound and brand that was authentic to me. Two of those single titles being “Fickle Heart” and “Never Looking Back.” You can still find these old singles on my soundcloud and my youtube channel.
MT: You recently released your single “Retribution”. Can you explain how this more about the meaning of the song and how it ties into your music goals?
Anna Pena: I came up with the concept and title for “Retribution” at a time when I was very hurt and angry. It’s definitely inspired by a specific situation that left me feeling very betrayed. “Retribution” is an angry, “revenge type”, edgy anthem. I have always loved dark pop songs and edgier production sounds so we went full force with that in the studio and I look forward on experimenting with more similar sounds in the future.
MT: You are now 24 and you wrote your first song when you were 18. Can you describe your current sound? Has your sound changed since you wrote your first song?
Anna Pena: I definitely have found my sound since my first release to my current releases. If you look back on my old songs they were a lot more “bubble gum pop”, bright, even a little indie/acoustic sounding. I definitely was playing it safe back in the day, trying to do what I thought I should but I wasn’t really being my true creative weird self. My sound now is much edgier, darker, and feels more me.
MT: Do you have a favorite performance to date and why?
Anna Pena: Although I don’t have a specific one that comes to mind, I will say the performances that stand out to me, the ones that I always leave feeling the best after, are the ones where I get out of my own head on stage and just have a good time. They are the times where I didn’t care about looking or sounding perfect and instead just performed the songs with the true emotion behind them and focused more on connecting with the audience. There is no better feeling in the world than really leaving it all on the stage and seeing the audience appreciate that.
MT: What has been your biggest challenge in your music career so far? How did you overcome that obstacle?
Anna Pena: The biggest obstacles I’ve had to face in my career so far have always been about staying true to myself and standing up for myself. I had a really hard time going against what someone “above” me in this industry would say even if I disagreed.
MT: From what you have learned about your challenges in the music business, what advice would you like to give upcoming new artists?
Anna Pena: People are always going to tell you what they think you should do but I had to learn the hard way that you cannot please everybody. At the end of the day you just have to trust yourself and do what you feel is best. These obstacles brought up a lot of insecurities and doubt in me that I had to face head on and realize that their is no room for those fears in this business. You have to believe in yourself even when no one else does.
MT: Besides singing, do you play any musical instruments? How long have you been playing them?
Anna Pena: I play a little bit of piano. I started taking lessons a few years ago because I understand the importance of playing an instrument and the advantage that can have on a singer. I believe it helps a singer be a more well rounded, knowledgeable musician and can only help with everything that goes into songwriting, performing, and overall musical knowledge.
MT: What’s a typical day for you? Do you work on your music every day? What other activities or hobbies besides music do you like to do that your fans may like to know about?
Anna Pena: I currently work full time on pursuing my dreams. I gig as much as possible on the weekends, I take lessons, I work on my online/social media presence and I audition constantly. I work as a nanny/dog sitter part time because sometimes being a “starving artist” doesn’t cut it. As far as hobbies, I love making video content for my youtube channel, working out, and of course going on adventures with the people I love. Another fun fact is that I love everything creepy and paranormal. Like ghosts, aliens, scary movies, and all sorts of spiritual stuff.
MT: You have a EP Coming out on October 30th What would you like fans to know about the meaning behind the music on your upcoming EP? Where can fans find your music when it is released?
Anna Pena: This EP for me is really like my introduction into my music, my sound, and who I am as an artist. The EP definitely has a common theme of love and relationships. Each song has a different sound and vibe and so I think there’s a little something for everyone.
Fans can find my music on all online music distributing platforms.
MT: Do you have any up-coming performances you would like fans to know about? Is there anything else you would like to announce for your fans or anything you would like them to know?
Anna Pena: There will definitely be a EP release show/party around October, (Expect some major creepy Halloween vibes) as well as upcoming shows but unfortunately these dates are still TBD. Definitely follow me on Instagram & Twitter @AnnaPenaMusic for show updates and announcements.
MT: Do you have any specific rituals or do anything specific before you head out on stage or even before you record your vocals in the studio?
Anna Pena: Vocal warm ups, obviously, are the most important pre show/recording session ritual I have. Other than that I would say I always have a warm tea with honey for my voice, and I love to meditate/relax and practice mindfulness. I really get into “focus mode” and focus on my intent and energy before going on stage to make it the best performance I can.
MT: Where can people see you perform next; are you planning on taking your music out to the fans?
Anna Pena: With the current state of the world, tour dates and shows are still TBD but still definitely in the works. I would urge fans to follow my social media so they can be updated on upcoming shows and tours. You can find me everywhere @AnnaPenaMusic and on my LinkTree https://linktr.ee/annapenamusic