Angela Hutchins is the lead singer of the alternative indie rock band Anji. After hearing her on stage at the TIn Roof Cantina Acoustic Showdown, I had a chance to sit down to talk with her music and upcoming projects.
Q&A with Anji
For someone that has never seen you perform live, what can they expect?
For a big event (an EP release or larger venue like the Masquerade) then we go all in – there’s a full band, props, costumes and lighting, and we work hard to create a complete and total sensory soundscape experience. Immersing the listener in the world of Anji is always the goal for each set. And that’s also true for the acoustic show, where it’s usually just me & Jory (my incredible guitarist) doing a more stripped down version of the songs, creating a more intimate experience where each note can resonate with the audience and we stretch out the silences between the sounds.
What do you love about making music in Atlanta?
The scene, the music, the awesome people and the diversity of the venues. Atlanta is such an eclectic and artistic place that we never know what kind of a situation we’ll be walking into – but the other musicians always have the best attitudes and are down to help out, even if it’s just lending us a tuner or helping us get our gear organized before the set. It’s a very tight-knit community of people all trying to work together to raise each other up and make a better music scene for their city. I love being a part of that
How do you define your future success as a performer?
For me, success is all about freedom, which happens when we create spaces where people are free to be themselves and process their experiences through art. Success is also abundance, and abundance comes when we share our gifts with each other. I look forward to traveling to as many places as possible to create those kind of spaces, to meeting more incredible and talented people, and also one day having the financial abundance to make music as often as my band and my team desire to do so.
I never leave the house without a crystal! They’re a natural, raw kind of beauty. That’s what I want to create with my art and represent to the world. The particular one I was wearing on Monday night is a clear quartz, which is a crystal that clarifies and focuses energy. They’re commonly used in watches because of their ability to stabilize and regulate movements, so it’s a very useful little crystal to have around, and my personal favorite.
How did your college experience prepare you for what you are doing now with your music? I went to Lagrange College for my degree in Music, specializing in composition and music technologies. They have a recording studio on campus with a professional engineer, so it was a really awesome opportunity to learn how to record in a studio, mix projects, compose and better present myself as a professional musician.
My mentor, Lee Johnson, is a true master that has worked with symphony orchestras all over the world, and he encouraged me to move in directions that might have made me uncomfortable at first, like composing film scores, but ultimately taught me that I can do anything as long as I’m willing to invest the time and energy. The music program there gave me the building blocks I needed to start piecing together my own sound and style as a professional songwriter, singer and musician, and gave me the skills to teach music professionally as well, so I’m very grateful for the time that I spend there and the friendships, connections and relationships that have gotten me where I am now.
Light is your next project. Tell us more about it?
The Light EP is big, bright, beautiful, and everything the Dark EP is not. As a songwriter, creating a project to completely contrast everything I’ve ever made before was an awesome challenge and massive undertaking. There are lots of layers of reverb, harmonies, stacked orchestrations and cinematic elements in the title track, “Light”, and I chose to write using keys, synth & pianos for all of the songs instead of guitar, because the Dark EP was such a rock and guitar-heavy project. “Strong” – the opening track & first single – is the bridge between these two sounds, and since the lyrics detail that journey out of darkness, I wanted to keep that classic rock band sound but also make a more anthemic power ballad that uses a lot of harmonies and piano to get to that heightened place of emotion and create a sense of victory and empowerment.
Anji “Dark” EP
“Dark” is the title track of Anji’s latest EP. Written while she was dealing with depression. As she worked twelve hours a day to save money for the EP she had a long drive home every night. The idea for the song came to her one of those nights. She found herself wishing for another person to share here experiences with. The song also takes inspiration from Julien Baker’s “Sprained Ankle.”
“Titanic” was inspired by the movie itself, actually. I wanted to explore that feeling of loving someone, but knowing that it’s going to be a failed relationship, and until then that person is your Titanic.
The Light EP release is schedule for August 2nd at The Alamo in Anji’s hometown, Newnan, GA. It’s going to be a stacked lineup and a massive party with lots of fun giveaways, free merch, balloons, silly string and more! To support the EP release, Anji is also launching an IndieGoGo campaign & having an earlier listening party through her label Kaizen Records. Stay up to date on Anji’s social media channels (@majikanji) and here on Libro Musica.
“You’ll Find Me” is the only acoustic song slated for the upcoming Light EP, and it’s more upbeat and optimistic than what you will hear on Dark. Anji wrote it from a place of knowing that no matter what, there’s something that keeps her going. Anji believes that there is something much bigger than herself, which can be taken in a spiritual and romantic way.
Libro Musica Live! YouTube Playlist
Take a listen to more live music on the Libro Muscia Live! YouTube playlist.