The songwriters discuss the future of Alternative Rock
by Olivia Omen, December 30, 2022
For this year’s edition of “Musicians On Musicians” the editorial team of The Hollywood Gossip thought of a more alternative proposal. Therefore, deviating for a moment from the idea of always paying attention to mainstream artists, this year there was a careful selection process aimed at finding two independent songwriters.
Due to their characteristic skills and similar profile, Anna Lofgren and Saulo Oliveira S. were chosen to talk about music in general, Altenative Rock and their aspirations for their respective careers.
Anna Lofgren has been composing for as long as she can remember, and is a remarkable songwriter. Anna stands out for her talent in tackling simple themes with a smoothness that matches her voice and with a minimalism present in the choice of instruments that provides the perfect atmosphere for her work.
Anna lives in Los Angeles and aspires to produce her work with greater intensity, which, truth be told, is already a masterpiece and which transports the listener into a particular universe that is very exclusive to the singer and which, at the same time, inspires reflection.
Anna Lofgren is, without a doubt, an excellent poet and increasingly worthy of the growing recognition she has received.
Praising the work of independent artists with so much essence and who sing with the soul like Lofgren is to praise what is most vivid and genuine in the current alternative scene.
Lofgren’s creativity as well as her lyrical dramatic traits are clear in statements like “I leave my heart upon the floor” in her masterful song “Keep Your Money”, — a superb Blues — and “For a moment I feel like I could fly, scared of the Sun I never try”, providing the interpretation that the lyrical self is imbued with a lack of definition as to her destiny, she alternates between heaven and hell, so, at first, seems hesitant between ups and downs, and yet, this character persists in her journey.
Finally, the protagonist, persevering on a moral journey of not surrendering to the immeasurable and corruptible value of money, states that she is willing to maintain her pride and not hide. It’s brilliant.
May Anna Lofgren herself come out of her shell more and more and have her storytelling and writing skills revealed to the world and not hide. The song “Keep Your Money” is just one of the singer’s triumphs. Anna has much more to show and, as the conversation will show, everything indicates that she will continue to use her voice in the years to come to express her vision of the world.
Faced with such talent, Saulo Oliveira, under the nickname “Prince of Rock”, is also excited and pays his tributes “I like going around Soundcloud and discovering indie artists with essence and boldness. One of my favorite discoveries is “Tarkovski” by a girl named Anna Lofgren”, he says at a certain point in his conversation with the singer.
And Saulo Oliveira knows what he’s talking about, after all, he himself is also inspired by classic blues and has been writing his songs since he was a child.
In short, here are two independent artists of pure talent placed in a chat in a relaxed one-on-one that certainly allows us to conclude that there is a breath in contemporary independent artists that overcomes the impositions of the mainstream defying the conventional.
Saulo: How long have you been composing and what is your biggest inspiration?
Anna: I have been writing lyrics for as long as I can remember, but I have always been terribly shy when it comes to performance. I never sang in front of anyone, including my family or friends, until I was 25. My biggest inspiration is in jazz, folk, and blues genres. Artists like Tom Waits, Bobbie Gentry, Bessie Smith, June Christy, and Anita O’Day have had a big influence on me. And you, when did you get started in music, and what genres or artists have influenced you most?
Saulo: I started at 23, which means it’s been 5 years. The artists that most call my attention are the classics like Warren Devon, Bob Dylan and Robert Johnson. How do you see the alternative rock scene today? What stands out the most?
Anna: I see it as a difficult world to navigate. With things like bots on streaming, I think it has been tough on independent artists. I often hear things like, “How will this song perform financially?” Instead of things like, “I wrote this song because I had to. It came from my soul. And I wonder how it might influence someone else’s soul.”.
Saulo: I agree with you. Today everything needs to be packaged and sold as a commodity and the essence of a song is not thought about. I’ll never forget the feeling of listening to Woody Guthrie for the first time, years ago. The future of music must recover these artists whose lyrics communicate with the listener’s soul.
Anna: Woody Guthrie is awesome! I can sense some of his sound in your work. And yes, it’s so true. I keep trying to find a producer for some of my music, but it always feels so gimmicky and disconnected. And expensive. You and Woody have a very honest, pure kind of sound. As if to address something bigger than us.
Saulo: I like the sense of telling a story in a song, even with characters and stuff. But I also can tell you read a lot by your way of delivering a line. What kind of poetry have you been reading lately?
Anna: I recently read some Pablo Neruda and Sylvia Plath. How about you?
Saulo: This is a coincidence. I’ve been reading Sylvia Plath too, because of Lana Del Rey.
Anna: Interesting. I don’t much listen to Del Rey, not surprised she references her. How would you say your sound has developed in recent years? Are there any rock subgenres you intend to address in future works?
Saulo: I still think I have a lot to improve. When I started everything was more experimental and raw, without commitment even. But I would like to explore Folk Rock more in the near future in a more minimalist way and with more mature lyrics. And how can music help create discussions that cause change in today’s world, in your opinion?
Anna: Music allows us to connect. It is interesting that at a time when people feel very divided, there seems to be little music in the mainstream that unites us. The songs that have touched me most are those that make me feel seen and heard. Songs that make me remember we are all one. And in your view, how can music help create discussions that cause change in today’s world?
Saulo: There are many protest songs that still serve this function well. I like when Billie Eilish says in one of her recent songs “The internet is gone wild watching movie stars on trial while they’re overturning Roe v Wade”. Everyone was distracted by a media trial while the legal decision that would impact women’s lives was moving forward. But talking-parrot also talks. I like it even more when, in addition to protesting in music, the range of that voice is such that reality actually changes. In that sense, nothing, at least for me, will top Bob Dylan having really managed to get Rubin Carter out of jail who was arrested being innocent. All with the power of the song “Hurricane” that echoed disturbing authorities. This is more Rock & Roll than burning guitars on stage. But, what makes Alternative Rock unique for you?
Anna: Alternative Rock is one of those genres that can go in any direction. It encompasses artists that are varied. I’ve also found that many Alternative Rock artists hardly ever have songs that sound the same. How do you see the alternative rock scene today? What stands out the most?
Saulo: I like the current alternative rock scene. I like going around Soundcloud and discovering indie artists with essence and boldness. One of my favorite discoveries is “Tarkovski” by a girl named Anna Lofgren. The cadence in the pronunciation of the rhymes in this song is ingenious and catchy. It has a calming sensibility. It’s cozy as life should be. By the way, let me ask you: what element in Folk Rock is the most interesting?
Anna: My favorite aspect of folk rock is the freedom to shift between Rock, Country, and the Blues. Threading my way between genres is a beautiful feeling. What is your favorite aspect of making Rock music and why?
Saulo: I like to add melody to the things I write, and if everything can be wrapped around guitar or drums that’s even better. So, what are your expectations for the coming years in music in general?
Anna: In the coming years, I hope to save the money to record one of my songs professionally. I hope to perform live again, which I haven’t done since COVID started. In fact, the last live performance I had, I was heckled, and I hope to soon make up for that… What does the future hold for your music? Any specific goals or plans in the coming years?
Saulo: I’m wishing you the best and I also hope you to make up for that and be succeeding in all your goals. For me, next year, the expectation is to record the debut clip and increase the listening audience in an organic way and with connection with the audience. I hope it’s a good year for everyone.
Anna: What inspires you lyrically? Is there anything you hope for your audience to get out of your music?
Saulo: There is some market logic today in which almost twenty people sign on as the lyricists of a song just to share the percentage of royalties on a single. On the contrary, I like literally any artist who writes his own material telling a story, conveying a message with sincerity. A songwriter’s creativity and lyrical potential must outperform the market and honesty in writing must take precedence. I hope the audience gets my storytelling intent and enjoys distracting themselves from life’s problems with my nonsense. I hope listeners leave different than they arrived after listening to something I’ve done. As cliché as it may be. Even if it’s hateful or disgusted because the music sucks. Any emotion is valid as long as it is not apathy.
Anna: What do you think; will Rock & Roll ever lose its relevance and cease to exist?
Saulo: The universe will contract in the Big Crunch and the sun will die and swallow everything. So, I think so. What do you think; will Rock & Roll ever lose its relevance and cease to exist?
Anna: I think Rock & Roll will continue to evolve alongside humanity. And I believe it will make a comeback, in some way, shape, or form.
You can find Anna Soundcloud profile here.
and Saulo’s Soundcloud here.
The PDF version of this coverage is here.
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