An Interview With Karyn Ann
A new release from Karyn Ann brings an emotional drive to a gorgeous set of textured sounds and a subtle Americana backbone to go along with sultry vocals, tremolo guitars, and a touch of classic songwriting style.
"Wasting Time" is built with layers of guitars that give off a 1950's undertone and vocals become quickly dreamy and alluring as they begin to harmonize and you get washed away with the sound.
It's quite easy to relate to this track and it's just as easy to fall in love with it.
There is a bright and youthful tonality to this song that shines and really does wonders in showing the artist's presence and character as an artist.
This was such a beautifully woven single that you become engulfed in it for a moment and end up floating just above the ground.
You are likely to find yourself singing that chorus to yourself later in the day as well as its outstanding at sticking in your head.
An impactful and warming song, "Wasting Time" delivers enough to make you dive a bit deeper into Karyn Ann's arsenal of songs, and there is an absolutely wonderous array of songs dropped by the artist that all have a little something different to bring to the table.
Ann let herself go for this single and it showcases a clear passion for her craft.
With such a great release, we wanted to have a chat with her about where this came from, and what may be next in line for her.
Here's what happened.
TSWS: Okay so let's start off with "Wasting Time". This track came through like a dream. It had some subtle pop sensibilities and shined through but it all felt impactful. Where did this song come from?
“Wasting Time” is a song inspired by the script/story of the indie-short “Second Story”. I was commissioned by Dodge Media Productions to write the main theme song for the film. The movie chronicles the meeting of two single parents, one widowed male, the other divorced female. The female is uptight, convinced that she can control everything in life, whereas the male thinks you can’t control things from happening and/or not happening. I based the lyrics of the song around the idea that humans can’t be everything all time, we all need help from time to time to actually become/feel whole. I also thought about how life is too short to limit yourself in aspects of love and/or happiness, and that you should pursue what brings you joy. And lastly, we all should remember and celebrate our child-like selves, when we were carefree, innocent, and hopeful. Second chances are there, you just need to be open to and pursue them.
I had started writing this tune on my own, then in September my partner Douglas Allen (www.douglasallenmusic.com) and I finished the tune, co-writing the bridge lyrics and chord progression, as well rearranging the chorus. He also played/wrote the electric guitar parts for the tune. We were going for a little indie-folk feel, like Rosie Thomas, Phoebe Bridgers, Laura Marling.
TSWS: I'm hearing some classic and new school influences in this song. Who are some of your actual biggest musical influences?
My influences are all over the place. I'd say growing up Fiona Apple and Sarah McLachlan were my biggest influences. I also really loved big voices, so artists like Lady Gaga and Adele have found their way into my style. For this song in particular I was channeling artists like Rosie Thomas, Laura Marling, going for a melancholy but hopeful dream-like vibe.
TSWS: How did all of this start for you?
I ventured into songwriting around the beginning of my teen years. I had always been a singer, but didn't really have a way to accompany myself, so I decided to pick up the guitar, and once I learned 3-4 chords, I was off writing. I have always been an avid journaler, and songwriting became an important outlet for me to share my thoughts and feelings, and express what didn't come out in just normal conversation. Throughout college and into my graduate work, I continued to write, and perform, but it wasn't until I moved to Portland OR in 2010 that I actually dove into being a full-time musician. In 2015 I began booking my own tours and toured 2-3 times a year up until COVID hit. I'm really hoping to get back on the road come summer 2022!
TSWS: Have you been giving thought to live performances as of yet?
I have been performing here in my home base Portland OR all summer, as there are lots of opportunities. But now that fall is coming around, I'm slowing down with shows and shifting focus back to writing and recording. I do have a few shows booked in TX in a couple weeks, then a few here and there around the city. Most music venues in Portland, OR are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to attend an event, but it's hard to know when we will ever return to "normalcy".
TSWS: How do you write your songs? Is it lyric first or guitar chords? It' s different for everyone. How does it work for you?
It all starts from an idea, either a personal thought about what's going on in my own life or a more holistic view of the world and what's going on around me. Sometimes the lyrics are visceral, and others more poetic, and those qualities tend to feed into the tonal elements and mood of a song as it takes shape. I feel like my musical style migrates all over the place, but that my voice is what unifies it all. I mostly write on guitar and piano, and tend to switch back and forth as it keeps the songwriting fresh (for some reason?). About 80% of the time lyrics are written first. However, there are definite exceptions, especially if I am just tinkering around on an instrument not really trying to write. I have a gazillion voice memos and lyrical notes on my phone, some I don't even remember writing, or what I was thinking when I recorded them. The pandemic really shifted my songwriting process, as I started producing full demos and exploring with synths. It really helped improve my production skills and my ability to reach a certain sound or vibe. I'm really into just exploring various electronic sounds as of late, I also switched to playing mostly electric guitar.
TSWS: Do you have a home studio?
I have all the gear necessary to record vocals, guitar, bass. I actually recorded "Wasting Time" and my entire last EP "I Am Not Yours" and in my bedroom "studio". It's really amazing what you can record in the comfort of your own home these days. Thanks technology!
TSWS: "Wasting Time" has a gorgeous array of instrumentation. What are you performing on this song?
In this tune I am playing the acoustic guitar and keys. I also did all the main vocals and background harmonies. My partner Douglas Allen recorded electric guitar and did the percussion/drum arrangements. I had my friend Bryan Daste mix and master the tune.
TSWS: What's next for you as an artist?
Future plans include getting back to working on an EP that I started in 2019! It’s more of an indie/rock-soul EP, very different tones and moods from my previous work. I’m also hoping to start working on another EP of songs that I wrote over the pandemic. I'd like to get back to touring as well. So there’s lots of my plate and I’m excited for what’s to come!
Can we expect any music videos from you this year?
YES! I released a fun music video for my single "Who You Were (Remix) about a month ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
I will be releasing a video for "Wasting Time" as well in a week or so, but for now here's a LIVE PERFORMANCE version here: https://youtu.be/81aLwUX4zZ4
TSWS: This track felt like a big undertaking. Is there any advice you'd give to other up and coming artists out there?
Make music that feeds your soul and be authentic as possible, but don't be afraid to change it up from time to time to broaden your artistic horizon and surprise your naysayers. ALSO, ask for help, no artist becomes successful all on their own and most people want to see you succeed.. Have fun, enjoy the process.
TSWS: You wake up in the middle of the night starving. What's your go-to midnight snack?
UM.....Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal.
TSWS: Before we go, what would you like to say to fans of the music?
Thank you so much to everyone who has listened, shared, reviewed and added "Wasting Time" to their playlist! Your love and support are so greatly appreciated! And thanks to you for the interview!