Born in Papua New Guinea, Australian-native Anieszka has been making waves with her latest single “Vibe” released earlier this month. Today, Anieszka spoke with ETV about her musical influences growing up, the making behind some of her songs, and why she thinks 2017 will be her year.
Growing up, Anieszka said she listened to a wide variety of music, especially Bob Marley, citing his “Legend” albums as one of her all-time favorites. Alicia Keys was the female artist that had a profound effect on her songwriting due to her ability to not be afraid to sing about the truth. This is something Anieszka has taken and applied to her own music so that her listeners can feel the authenticity in her songs.
“Coming from a Mauritian background, I also listened to a lot of Sega (Mauritian music) and seggae (Mauritian infused reggae), so I was surrounded by those island sounds from a very young age,” Anieszka said. “Apart from that, R&B was very popular in our household. My brother and sister would always be playing that good old school R&B so that really shaped my music preferences. The classics weren’t too far, Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder are also huge influences for me, they really embody what it is to be an artist and speak through music.”
Her interest in music and performing comes from an early age, as Anieszka recalls performing in front of a live audience for the first time at age 9 where she sang a verse of “Wind Beneath My Wings” at school.
“I remember feeling so nervous right before I started singing, but once I was singing, I felt so at home,” Anieszka said.
She would go on to sing in larger school talent shows and would give her first real singing debut at a five-star hotel in Fiji as a guest, which happened to be an impromptu performance.
“The band found out I sang and asked me to sing a set,” Anieszka said. “Before I knew it, there I was singing ‘If I Ain’t Got You’ by Alicia Keys in front of a big, foreign crowd. It was an amazing feeling. I feel like I am my truest self when I am singing and performing, it’s who I am.”
Photography: The Jitana
By the time she became 14, she had decided to take her music to the next level. Her brother was making music at the time and she walked into his room demanding that he give her a beat to write to. She wound up writing “Boy,” a track produced by her brother Steffan Rayne in 2008. The song made it to German charts and on local radio stations in Sydney, Australia. Preview the beginning of it all with “Boy” here.
“My brother listened to what I wrote and had that ‘wow this is actually good’ look in his eyes,” Anieszka said. “He tweaked it a little and ‘Boy’ was born. The song was fresh and people were loving it. As a young’n who was starting to notice guys more and more, I found that guys my age lacked confidence and chivalry, so the song reflected what the ‘perfect boy’ would be like.”
Through the success of the song and having it played on national radio, she knew she wanted to pursue singing as a career. She released her self-titled EP in 2012 featuring five songs, including “Boy,” and soon after she released “How I like It” and collaborated with Dominican producer Eduardo Baldera on the dance/house single “Lost in You,” which was a unique change in sound for her. During this time, she also got the opportunity to be a co-host on a local radio station.
“I co-hosted a radio show in Mauritius and it was awesome, we spoke about music and life, and I got to do a few acapella covers on live radio.” Anieszka said. “It was my birthday the next day so they brought a cake in as a surprise and this all went down while we were live so all the reactions were 100 percent real and I loved it. It really teaches you to be comfortable in your own skin, be aware of what you say, how you speak and to think quick. I learnt to trust myself more through the experience, and to let go so I could have fun.”
Photography: GZee Pix
Later in 2012, Anieszka chose to take a break from music to understand herself better as an individual. She said that being engrossed in music and the industry from age 14 to 18 while in school didn’t give her a chance to truly know herself, something she thinks is vital for making real music. She wanted to feel inspired again to reconnect with what music really meant to her and with what she wanted to achieve with music and her voice.
“In my time away, I traveled, I spent time with my family, friends, I spent time with my spiritual teacher (Amma, also known as the Hugging Saint) and really connected with myself on a soul level,” Anieszka said. “I became a clearer version of myself. I spent 2 months in India which opened my eyes to a different world and understanding of life, then I spent time in Mauritius, which is my home country, and felt so blessed to experience my island and reconnect with my culture. Spending time in New York, London, Paris – that was just as amazing, but in different ways. Traveling enriches you as a person and lets your mind expand and grow.
“I also learnt more about meditation, made new friends, fell in love, had my heart broken, became self-reliant, let go of the need to be perfect with my music or to look a certain way, and grew to appreciate my own company. In appreciating my own company, that’s where the real, raw songwriting came through, and some of these songs will be on the album.”
Through her newfound experiences, she has evolved her songwriting and recently released the track “Vibe,” which she describes as a fun summer jam that is a blend of electro pop and R&B and dance. Enjoy the good vibes here:
“I’ve come up with a tag line for it: ‘Vibe is like watermelon, it’s the perfect match for summer,” Anieszka said. “For me, when you vibe with something or someone, could be pizza or Drake, you connect with it, there’s a natural flow. And music, well that’s a vibe of its own. Often, we come across things that we vibe with day-to-day, but coming across someone that you vibe with on a number of levels is a rarity. Mixed in with sharing a musical and physical connection, it’s the ‘perfect vibe’. When I wrote the song, I pictured a sunny, care-free day where you’ve broken free from everything holding you back, your body’s moving to this amazing music and you’re really connecting with someone. As time passes by, you’re both vibing – mentally, physically and musically – and it’s a whole experience – that’s what ‘Vibe’ is about.”
With new music on the way, Anieszka feels like 2017 will be her year, stating that “Vibe” is only the beginning with much more to come. She said the next single she is currently working on is more in line with the R&B/soul music she wants to make.
“This next track may form as part of an EP, or I may continue working on more music and put it towards an album,” Anieszka said. “Either way – there’s more music coming. I’m also currently working on a small project with another artist, so keep a lookout. Hopefully, by this time next year, I’ll have an album out, be touring and my name will be known.”
Anieszka will be working on her album while traveling around to take in different sounds and cultures for inspiration. She is looking forward to experiencing music in different countries with different people, and ETV is excited to see what’s next in store for all of her future ventures!
To stay up to date with all things Anieszka, follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, YouTube, and her official website.