Interview: Anisha LaBelle
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I have been singing ever since I can remember. As a kid, I entered any music-related extracurricular that there was, including talent shows, choir, and many musicals. I remember writing random lyrics in my notebook in class and wondering how I could turn it into a song. Eventually, when YouTube became popular, I started by recording covers as many did during that time. As an embarrassed teenager, I deleted them, but a part of me wished I kept those videos up. I eventually graduated to making my own songs with beats online and recording myself using Audacity in high school. My “music career” was put on a hiatus when I went to college, which is probably where I would be now if it weren’t for my perseverance. I eventually realized that a business degree just wasn’t for me, and I decided to pursue my education in a more musical route. Since then, I’ve learned to record, produce, and mix my music through my own personal endeavors. From building my first home studio to earning my Audio Engineering certificate, I am beyond grateful that I chose to invest in this path.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I like to invest a lot of my time into nurturing my creative side. I tend to express myself through aesthetics, as I love coming up with creative ways to showcase my personal style. I heavily enjoy content creation; by imagining new ideas and visualizing my desired outcome, I can create any look I want! On a more personal note, I enjoy caring for my home and the many animals in it. Exploring nature helps me to clear my mind and provides me with inspiration, and art helps me to get out my internal stress. As long as I live a balanced, healthy life, my mind is clear and inspiration will flow to me.
How long has music been your career?
I am somewhat of a beginner when it comes to music as a career. Although I have been familiar with it my whole life, I only recently began investing professionally into my craft about a year or so ago.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I was born in New Jersey, but I grew up in the Pennsylvania suburbs. There was a mix of music in my area, centering mainly on heavy rap and pop influences. Especially in the Philadelphia area, which definitely played a role in the creation of my sound. There are many great local rappers and artists in the smaller neighboring cities which have inspired me throughout my time here.
Tell me about the best and worst shows you have played.
I’ve never performed my own music live before! On a totally unrelated note I can tell you the best and worst musicals I was in-
Best: Sister Act (2018)
Worst: The Little Mermaid (2015)
Tell me about your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Piggybacking off of the last question, I haven’t played at any venues yet but I would love to travel to a big city and perform. I love the idea of the night lights and a big show. It would also be a dream of mine to be a part of a music festival.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
If I could pick any show, I would love to perform at Jingle Ball. This year’s lineup would be incredible, as some of my favorite artists such as Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, and Billie Eilish will be performing. A girl can dream...
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into music?
Follow what makes your heart happy - You do not have to follow the path that everyone else is taking. If you were left out in the past, that means you are meant to shine in the future. Not everyone is going to agree with you, see your vision, or support your dreams, but you have to be your own biggest cheerleader and encourage yourself to continue. If you are questioning whether this is the right path for you, think about how it makes you feel. Are you able to lose yourself in hours of work which doesn’t even feel like work? Are you so excited about your next project that you can hardly sleep? Do you feel satisfied, fulfilled, and proud at the end of a hard day's work? That’s how you know you are on the right path. You will experience struggles, losses, and failures just as anyone in any profession would. However, it will feel so much more rewarding because you put your heart into it. Don’t give up on what truly satisfies you just to please others. Pave your own path.
If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
During the darkest times in my life, I would go back and urge my past self to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were times where if I had given up, I wouldn’t be where I am today. So I would also thank myself for staying strong and believing in my path when no one else did. I would tell myself to be proud of who you are no matter what step of the journey you are on, who you are, or how big your name is. You are valuable and your voice has meaning, and if you don’t share it with the world you may just come to regret it. Keep going, because through the challenges there will be many more blessings ahead.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
My most meaningful song would be “California” from my E.P. “P.S”. I wrote this song after a devastating heartbreak, and this song contains the most raw emotions that I have put out there. Whenever I listen to it, I am transported back to that time in my life. Although my songs are mostly upbeat, “California” contained the passion I needed to truly get my feelings across. Bittersweet, this song is about letting go of the one you love, wishing that things were different. The title also has personal meaning, as this was somewhere we dreamed of settling down together. “California” will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the song which inspired the creation of my first professional E.P.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
My personal favorite song of mine is “Sunlight”, also from “P.S”. Using the passage of time from day to night, this song describes the various cycles that relationships tend to go through. However, my most popular song would have to be “Trip (Remix) ft. UNW1NTED”. This was a collaboration remix of my original song “Trip”, which gained popularity thanks to their many talented members!
What is the creative process for you, and what inspires you to write your music?
My creative process is pretty spontaneous if I’m being honest, but most artist’s are! Oftentimes I will come up with ideas for lyrics randomly, which I always make sure to write on my phone. If I have any kind of niggling thought or idea, I make note of it so I can capture that energy in a potential new song. My life is my main inspiration for music, my relationships with others, and the emotions I feel on a daily basis. Going into writing a song, I usually have a general idea of what I want it to sound like or be about. I select and purchase my beats online, so I have a wide variety of sounds to choose from. I generally tend to write the entire song in one sitting, as I prefer to get all of my ideas out at once. If incomplete, I create almost a “blueprint” for me to go back and revise later. Although, most of my songs end up sitting in my voice memos for a while!
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
A lot of music today has some pretty toxic messages when it comes to ideals and relationships. My goal is to share music with messages of harmony, growth, and love. Every song may not be a sappy love song, but rather a realistic depiction of the effort needed to put into relationships to make them work. I write from all perspectives, hoping to open the listener’s mind up to new ways of thinking. There will be sacrifices and challenges, as well as passion and sensuality. I hope to include this broad array of emotions through my music to help those listening accept all parts of themselves. In addition, I like to portray my own self development to help guide others. Encouraging messages of perseverance, having faith, and holding on can all be found in my lyrics. Overall, I hope to influence those listening in a positive way while also providing a catchy song that they can’t resist!
Do you ever have disagreements when collaborating and how do you get past them?
So far I have only experienced minor disagreements while collaborating. It’s important to me that everyone’s ideas are accounted for, as it can be frustrating to not feel heard when sharing something personal. It’s important to assert your boundaries if you are uncomfortable with an idea, but not to belittle or bring anyone down in the process. I try to make sure to thoroughly hear out and include aspects from all team members. It’s important to come up with a compromise that will appease those involved but does not diminish from the original concept. Overall, I strive for fairness and equality when it comes to working with partners and I expect the same in return.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I am super excited to be working with a management team going into 2022! I will be working to produce my first album, “Heart Expansion”, which will be releasing sometime this upcoming year. This album is a collection of carefully crafted songs that are a continuation of my experiences, relationships, and progress. I also hope to make my first live performance in the near future. Until then, I hope to continue to share the magic with everyone!
All Links: https://linktr.ee/anishalabelle
Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS8XCssvR6dMuxraY20yT9w