It could be said that Anabel Englund‘s musical rise was written in the stars. The South Californian singer/songwriter has built a reputation for all things house and electro, but with a director for a grandfather and Oscar-winning actress for a grandmother, talent inevitably runs through her veins.
For a free-spirited, pink-haired, glitter loving 21 year-old, Anabel’s career has not taken the path you would typically expect. At 16 she began performing at a Christian youth group, followed by some time writing material and theme songs for Disney-owned television network ABC Family. But it was in late 2012 that Anabel first met producers Lee Foss and Jamie Jones, spawning her love affair with Deep House. Now signed to Three Six Zero, the label behind Calvin Harris, Deadmau5 and Nero, she talks the industry, festivals and Madonna with Schön!
Your family is filled with creatives. What was it like to grow up around people succeeding in such a tough industry?
I didn’t think much of it because growing up in the midst made it normal. So technically it’s all I really knew. It also wasn’t all succeeding in a “tough industry.” Yes, I am in a family filled with creatives but for some there was no succeeding, at least in that aspect, but it doesn’t mean they are not talented or inspiring.
Did this put any pressure on you?
It didn’t put pressure on me, it just made me want to be a part of it. Going to movie premieres and meeting all the actors and actresses just lit a fire under my ass I guess. It also made me comfortable in the sense that everyone I met was just a human being like me. I remember I met Tom Cruise, he wasn’t even in the movie, he just wanted to see it. He was wearing a hat and I could tell he didn’t really want to be seen, but I said Hi anyway.
So what sparked your interest in singing?
I think mostly my dad. He was always playing his guitar and singing. He’s the one who first got me to show my voice to his friend from Nashville. I remember I was so shy I stood behind a palm tree then sang my favourite song.
Most of my dad’s side of the family plays an instrument and/or sings. Everyone is actually so amazing at it. Whenever we get together there’s always singing and music; it’s what we know how to do as a family.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I mean…Madonna, obviously. Not just musically but as a person and role model. I love Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Gwen Stefani is amazing, Rupal (just because he’s fabulous.) People who are talented and not afraid to be a black sheep.
What about your personal style. Can you describe it in a sentence?
Just a sentence seems difficult! As far as clothes go, at least in the summer, I like to be barefoot as much as I can. I like glitter and paint cat ears and weird things. Other days I like to wear black.
In England we love our deep house. What got you into putting out house music?
My friend Matthew Wasley (aka Human Life) introduced me to music like Jamie Jones, Lee Foss, Kim Ann Foxman, Maya Jane Coles, Adana Twins and it all started from there. For the first time hearing it, I would say it sounded like sex. Good, dirty sex and I was hooked ever since.
Your song Electricity got the attention of BBC Radio 1. That’s a big deal! What was that like?
It was nice. I felt very grateful for all the amazing feedback and support.
You’ve performed at numerous big-name festivals like Glastonbury, T in the Park and Bestival with electro-house group Hot Natured – what’s your most memorable festival experience?
There are so many I don’t know what to choose. But I think just having the opportunity to perform alongside such incredible people and musicians, making people dance and smile. Also, you know, just casually warming up my vocal chords and hearing Disclosure on the stage I’m about to get up on.
You’ve got a record deal now. What can we expect from the debut album?
Well, you’ll just have to wait and see won’t cha?
And where do you see Anabel Englund in the next 5 years?
Hmmm…well, everything that has happened in my life has found me the way it was supposed to. My grandma Lynda says, “just let the universe do you.” So I’m going to intend on making music and being a happy person who can hopefully inspire people and be inspired myself. I see a more a sculpted Anabel in 5 years. It takes a while to find yourself.
This Schön! Online Exclusive has been produced by
Photography / Emma Øverland Dudlyke
Graphics & Animation / Natalia Stuyk
Visual Artist / Penabranca
Styling / Aimee Croysdill & India Trusselle
Make Up / Nicola Moores
Hair / Paula McCash
Styling Assistants / Jamie Jarvis/ Rowan Hall
Make Up Assistant / Billie Sanger
Words / Shama Nasinde