While apparently inspired by minor keys and modes, you wouldn’t guess it with the upbeat, bubblegum synth-pop opening jam “Happy On TV”, which is on the new EP of the same name by Nashville pop songstress Anna Claire Loftis. But listening through the record, you will definitely get some of those darker, more veiled minor sounds still shrouded in synth and rhythm.
Loftis has been an emerging talent in the Nashville pop scene, and is currently riding the high of Happy On TV, which just hit streaming services about a week ago. The EP has all kinds of bouncy, synth-driven rhythms that can fit in a number of different atmospheres whether it be a club, your car, or maybe cleaning/singing around the house. (God knows there’s plenty of that going on)
Loftis filmed a music video for the second song on the EP, “In The Morning,” which can be viewed here, and of course had release premiere plans that were halted/postponed.
Like many who grew up in the deep south, this Yellowhammer State native definitely garners much influence from her Baptist background, which is evident in some of her lyrics.
Loftis took time to answer some questions we had to better learn about her as an artist, the new release, what Nashville establishments she can’t way to return to, and much more.
So where did you grow up and who or what got you into playing music?
I grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and mid-way through schooling, moved to the countryside in Pike Road, Alabama. Thanks to my mom, I started playing piano in 2nd grade, and piano still remains my main instrument today. But it was not until the 7th Grade that I started using the piano as a tool to song-write. Throughout Middle School, High School and College – I joined various show choir groups, choirs, worship bands and starred in a few plays.
Do you have a specific atmosphere or pastime that aides in your songwriting process, or does it come more sporadically?
My best songs are written when I’m completely strained and exhausted. I can’t recommend this method though haha! I write acapella, and then transition to the piano.
So your new EP Happy on TV just hit the airwaves April 24th. Can you talk about the inspiration behind this collection of songs?
First and foremost, I am a huge over-thinker. Generally when asked an introspective question, I have already formulated an answer I’ve mulled over in the shower 1,000 times. Inspiration isn’t the word I would choose though… I just write about what I’m currently going through or embellish the stories I play a part in. Admittedly, I am also a rather emotional person, so even if I’m not the main character and more of a narrator, I feel it pretty deeply. On this record, “Bathsheba” is the only outlier to that answer – I do love to incorporate Biblical story and heritage into my musical catalog as well. This song shines a light on the lack of female insight notated by the archaic writers – which I believe also shines a light on how women were viewed back then.
How many songs are on the EP?
There are six songs on this EP in many different styles; the commonality between them is the way I write and play with metaphors. I’m poetically vulnerable – you can feel what I’m going through, but the listener is able to interpret the song to fit their story without knowing mine. As a songwriter, your best work comes from the heart. But I hate the idea of people knowing everything going on in my life.
How do these songs differ from your previous releases?
I think I’ve learned and grown a lot since my last project. Happy on TV was more of a well thought-out record. (The logistics of this record nearly sent me off the deep end though.) The songs have started to mesh together a bit more naturally hinting at mental health, relationships and my Biblical background.
Who are some of your primary artistic influences that inspired this EP?
M83 was a big inspiration for the production of “Motion Sick”. Frank Ocean and Daniel Ceasar were a couple of artists that inspired the strip-backed production of “Paper or Plastic”. But Birdy, The Lumineers, Lana Del Ray, Julia Michaels and plenty of other incredible artists have helped scope & mold my writing style.
While it may be like asking to pick a favorite child, which song on the release are you most excited for fans to hear and why?
“Happy on TV” for sure! It’s fun and laid back, and I believe it’s really relatable to my generation especially. We didn’t grow up using technology as kids, but it’s so immersed in our daily lives now. This song was released as a reminder that any type of relationship (whether romantic or platonic) is so much better in person if you have that option.
Do you have any unique ways to maintain momentum for your release during the pandemic other than perhaps livestreaming?
Music blogs and playlists are both really helpful keeping the momentum going! But this is true even when there isn’t a pandemic in the air. That’s why in Nashville we say the “music community” – we all need each other in order to succeed.
Are you bothering to make tentative post-pandemic plans musically or otherwise?
Musicians plan? Haha just kidding – we were planning on going on a small tour this Spring hitting places like Chicago and Atlanta, so my management team is trying their best to restructure the tour for this Fall! I am also beginning to work on the skeleton of a new record. With some time off, it has been the perfect season to write (while being totally & completely mentally exhausted).
What do you hope to have achieved as an artist five years from now?
By the end of this year, I hope to make enough revenue to break even. It’s so expensive to cut a record and promote it. I would also like to start the conversation with a like-minded label and flush out the rest of my team behind the scenes. In order to get to the new stage of my career, having the right people behind me is HUGE. I would also like to see a lot more full-band performances and jumping into the music festival scene.
What do you hope the world, or at least the country, will take away from this pandemic?
The importance of grace, mercy, family, love, time for your soul to rest. Our country especially thrives on the motto that more is better and busier is best. I have a history of stuffing my schedule with more events than I have time for, and for what? I hope to be more intentional about what I rush back to after this pandemic is officially over and to really take time for the people that matter most to me.
If this pandemic magically disappeared tomorrow and all of the businesses were up and running per usual, what are some of the first places you’d visit?
I would single-handedly run to every single coffee shop I love and have the most magically caffeinated day. In Nashville, I live at the Well, Frothy Monkey, Portland Brew, Just Love, and a few others!