Ana Free, a well-known pop artist, is multi-talented songwriter and a powerful performer who has written over 600 songs. Ana Free’s single “Electrical Storm” from her debut album “Together” occupies the number 1 spot on the MTV Portugal Top 50 National Music Chart. Currently based in Los Angeles, Ana is playing shows across the US, working alongside various television series for music as well as working on her next EP project. As well as being fluent in both English and Portuguese, Ana also speaks Spanish, French and Greek.
Interviewed by Stephen M. Thompson, Ph.D.
Welcome to OpenBeast. Tell us about yourself.
Thanks! In a nutshell, I come from Lisbon – the beautiful capital city of Portugal – and have been forging a career in music since 2008. It all began when I posted a couple of videos of me singing songs on YouTube (when that was a new thing) and it caught the attention of a lot of people. I used that as a spring board to release some music in Portugal and toured back and forth from London for a long time. I made a couple of albums, opened for Shakira and moved to Los Angeles where I live now!
How did “TOGETHER” happen?
TOGETHER (or TO.GET.HER) is my debut album. It was released in early 2013 and it was my first “crowdfunding” project. It took a lot of work and time to make it all happen but I’m really proud of what we’ve managed to get out of that body of songs. I worked with Argentinian producer Rodrigo Crespo (who I met through Shakira’s team) and we recorded the album with some super talented people. Above all, it is a tribute to all the amazing and dedicated fans who want to see me succeed and help me to do so by getting behind this album with me.
What’s you one best gig or achievement thus far?
I’ve got a couple, thankfully. Opening for Shakira for one of her Sale El Sol shows was spectacular, I haven’t really got another concert scenario that compares to the sensation of a sold-out arena. Another was being chosen by the legendary Grammy winning producer Don Was, out of thousands of submissions, as a Top 10 Guitar Center Singer Songwriter finalist in the USA. That was pretty fun… (smiles)
Talk to us about your mentor or role-model/s.
I have a lot of things and people that mentor me and keep me focused in different ways. They change relative to what I’m learning, creating and feeling. I’ve always been influenced by the blues and country as a kid – my dad really swayed me towards that when he taught me how to play guitar. I was always exposed to Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan, Linda Rondstat and so on. In this musical era I appreciate Beyonce’s work ethic and focus. I look to artists like Delta Goodrem and Debi Nova for vocal expression and try and channel my songwriting through whatever artists are touching me the most with their stories – a lot of the country artists have great story telling. It’s important to listen to other music, absorb and digest it. You have to take the best thing out of every artist you like and see how you can let that shape your music.
Any upcoming projects or initiatives you could like to discuss?
My new EP is currently under way. It’s going in a more folk/pop direction – I’m going back to my guitar roots in a different way. I’m trying to be open minded to a lot of things on this album. Trying the same song 10 different ways and seeing what sticks. We’ve come up with some crazy things. I’m proudly working with a wonderful charity called Musicians on Call and play for patients in hospital in LA. That keeps everything in perspective for me.
How do you get inspired?
Inspiration isn’t easy to find when you don’t know where to look. Obviously there are set and settings that might make the songwriting process come easier. I get really inspired when I’m going through intense periods in my life. When I come through those I’ll assimilate it all and write some songs. They usually pour out and those are the 3AM nights when I know I should turn on the light and record that lyric or melody line. It’s hard but sometimes you really just have to sit down, take a good moment to relax your head and let a story create itself in your life. When are you ever going be inspired if you don’t make space for inspiration? You have to work at it.
What are your leisure time activities?
If I really have time off I’ll usually travel somewhere nice and wipe out on a beach for two weeks. That’s real rest for me. No laptops and nobody calling me up. If I don’t have that kind of time I’ll definitely hang out with friends over barbecues at home, maybe hit the beach for some paddle boarding, learn a new craft (I’m very curious like that), watch silly videos online, cook new recipes etc. I’m quite relaxed in my time off!
To follow Ana Free, visit www.anafree.com