6/8 Music is proud to have been working alongside the recent journey of indie/folk act, Anna/Kate Band. This six piece band has released their new single, ‘ I Run with You’ today to exclusive outlets No Depression (US) and Think Lyrically (UK). The song’s exclusive release date, November 8th, is no coincidence — the band timed this perfectly to coincide with the one year anniversary of the day things turned topsy turvy in the oval office, Election Day 2016. You can listen to the exclusive in the above mentioned outlets to hear the strong, powerful message to the White House and to the world in ‘I Run with You.’
I had the opportunity to sit down with Anna and Kate this month and get to know them with a Q&A — I invite you to do the same while taking a listen to their most recent piece of art. Congratulations, Anna and Kate! 6/8 Music is proud to call you family.
Q. What inspired you to begin singing?
Kate: Singing has always been a very direct form of expression for me. I think that everybody has a form of expression that communicates, like their depth of emotion. And you can bypass some of the difficulties they might have in other forms. And I know that for myself, writing and singing have always been ways for me to understand things in my life. They’ve always been ways for me to express joy, express sadness, they’ve always been a way for me to kind of dance with the unknown. So I’ve been singing since I was really little. It just feels like a very natural form of communication for me.
Anna: What inspired me to begin singing? Well, the most natural thing that has come to me in my life so far, and I’ve been doing it since I was, well — as long as I can remember. As a child, I was always singing. I was always the one singing in my family, and as I’ve gotten older it’s just something I’ve realized has really helped me go through this life, and it helps me get over things in my own life and I would like to hope that it helps me connect with other people and maybe helps them.
Q. When did you two begin performing individually and also together?
Anna: We have both been performing our entire lives, mostly as actors, but doing musical theater and straight acting and then when we moved to New York City. Kate was doing more theater, and I was doing more music. And in 2013 she asked me to collaborate on a song, and we have been performing and collaborating ever since then, and that was five years ago.
Q. Who is your biggest inspiration?
Anna: I grew up listening to jazz and uh, The Beatles, and Joni Mitchell, when it comes to jazz I just listen to Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday and just all the jazz masters. And as I got older, I started realizing that if I studied the artists that fit my voice, I could- they could teach me to become better with my voice I studied people like Regina Spektor and Ingrid Michaelson, Brandi Carlisle, all these artists that I feel like my voice connects to.
Kate: We also have a big inspiration from a community that really pushed us to perform from very early on. The spoken word community in New York. We got involved with a group called Poetic Theater Productions, run by (at the time) Alex Mallory and Jeremy Karafin, who still run it actually. That spoken word community really formed for us, the way we look at everything from artistic discipline to use of language, specifically to also, really prioritizing community. That community of spoken word artists were among the first to really validate our earliest songs together, and say “you know, you guys really have something here, you should keep on creating together, ” — they were the first to really give us opportunities to do so. Spoken word artists like Shira E, Joanna Hoffman, Lauren Whitehead, Caroline Rothstein, Sophia Alhulo. They all really formed us in creating work in the beginning and informed how we continue to think about language to this day.
Q. Tell us about the struggles of being a recording artist in this day and age.
Kate: I think there’s something really beautiful about being a recording artist in this day and age in that, recording has become more accessible for everyone. And I do think that having more people be able to have access to a kind of getting their voices heard makes, like everyone, steps their game up because then the players are just that much better. I think that it’s also a lot of really talented artists and it can be hard to kind of, for any one person to make a living in that. Because the industry is saturated. I think that it’s kind of like a double-edged sword. Like there’s a silver lining, and then there’s also like, you know, a little bit of gray weather around that. We’re really proud to be living in a time where more people than ever, can become artists. The industry and government support haven’t really caught up to that yet. All of these individual artists have something really important to say, that society needs to hear. And that, it’s really like kind of impossible for us to do that, for free. A lot of artists are in the same boat that we are right now
Anna: This industry, like most industries, is very male-dominated. And it is an extra struggle being female, and trying to you know, break through every single- there are so many barriers. Every step is a barrier, and you gotta break through each one of them, and it makes it harder when you’re a woman in this industry when every barrier is blocked by a dude.
Q. You brand yourself as a queer band, why is that so vital to both your brand and band?
Kate: When we first started performing, one of our initial goals something that we felt was very important to us was visibility — queer visibility. We understand that visibility is not the be-all end-all of the fight for queer communities’ rights. Not everyone can afford to be visible and be safe, emotionally, physically, financially, but for us as a band, we’re in a position where we feel very supported by our community. We feel like the queer community, has just given us ourselves. The ability to be our true selves and that really informs the art we’re making, obviously. So we wanted to give back to queer visibility and representation by not kind of allowing someone else to minimize that and be like, “oh you know, you can say you’re a queer band, but really you’re like, just a pop band.” And there’s so much of that of insidious silencing that goes on in different spaces, and I think that some people don’t understand that that really does have a cost and it like, takes representation away from a community. So that it is really important – that’s why we prioritize it.