TONIGHT, 21-year-old TikTok-star-turned-pop-phenom Aidan Bissett headlines Theatre of Living Arts. However, we’re actually most excited about indie-pop artist Anna Shoemaker, who is currently serving as support on Bissett’s Supernova Tour, and will be opening the show. Shoemaker is touring behind her five-song Hey Anna EP, which dropped in June, following up last year’s debut LP, Everything is Fine (I’m Only on Fire). “Anna Shoemaker’s fun indie-pop sound draws inspiration from R&B vocal tones and hip-hop beats, seamlessly fusing into one blissful hybrid,” says Billboard of the singer/songwriter. And while that rings true of both her first full-length and latest EP, during a recent phone chat, Shoemaker tells me that the process between the two collections was a little bit different: “For my EP, I really worked with one person, my friend Constantine [Anastasakis], and we would really just write to him playing on guitar, and build it out from there, whereas for the LP I worked with so many people on it.”
The title track of Hey Anna — which has been characterized as, “a striking love letter to Shoemaker’s inner child.” — explores Shoemaker’s apparent affection for lo-fi bedroom pop. Fittingly, the song’s music video, directed by Josefine Cardoni, features Shoemaker inside of a charmingly cramped apartment doing haphazard DIY alterations of her favorite duds, bedroom dancing in a very My So-Called Life kind of way, and just generally embracing youthful moodiness. And, during our chat, she implies that she enjoys the visual aspects of her work just as much as the songs themselves: “I’m a very visual person. In high school, when I was studying, I would always have to write things out so many times. And, when I’m writing, sometimes, I’ll be picturing what the music video would be.”
This love of visuals also seems to translate to her sartorial style, which could actually be described as My So-Called Life Chic. Although she tells me that her taste in fashion is a little more complex than one might assume (She cites both Courtney Love and Audrey Hepburn as major influences.): “For me, it’s whatever makes me feel good and confident in the moment. Sometimes it’s sweatpants, and sometimes it’s knee-high boots and a mini dress.” However, she tells me that there is something that she strives for when it comes to performing live: “I want it to feel effortless onstage. I was talking about this with a makeup artist the other day, and it’s like, I just wanna feel like I dressed myself and did my own makeup.”
While currently based in Brooklyn, Anna Shoemaker actually hails from the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection, which she tells me still holds a super special place in her heart: “I obviously miss my hometown all the time. I love Philly!” I ask her if she has any favorite memories of attending local concerts, and she says that there’s one that absolutely stands out: “I saw Ashlee Simpson at the Electric Factory, and that was truly the best night of my life. That was the best moment of my life.” And when I ask if there are any shows that she’s especially excited to play, she does admit that the next two — tonight at TLA and Thursday in NYC at Racket, whose stage was recently graced by The Rolling Stones and Lady Gaga – will feel extra special, she’s really just excited about the tour in general: “I’m really excited about Philly, because it’s my hometown, and New York, because I live there, and Chicago is always really good, but I’m honestly excited for all of it. It’s a dream come true, this whole thing.”
I ask Anna about some of the highlights of her musical career, thus far, and she excitedly proclaims, “Everything feels like the coolest thing ever!” However, she does admit that there’s something special about playing live: “Honestly, every single time I play a show, just connecting to the audience is such a highlight. I used to play any kind of open mic night, and I’d play a lot of really loud bars, so now when I play real venues, when people are watching me and engaged, it’s so exciting for me.” And when I ask her what can be expected of her opening set tonight, she tells me, “I’m playing old songs, new songs… We’re playing songs from the album, and songs from the EP, and [new single “Not Coming Back]. It’s not one thing, it’s kind of a bit of everything.”
*Get your tickets here.