Anna Demetriou is an established actress who starred in the film Viking Destiny. Alongside her acting career she has been writing her own songs and now, with the help of producer Tom E Morrison, is launching her singing career.
What prompted your move into music? Was this a dream you’ve been harbouring for a while?
I was always incredibly shy when it came to singing. At drama school it took me a long time to be able to sing in front of people and not feel sick, but I’ve always loved it. I just saved it for the shower or when I was in a large, echoey room with nobody around. That was – and probably still is – the time I felt the most comfortable singing but we’re getting there – baby steps. I have come so incredibly far from not wanting to sing for anyone to buying a guitar and writing my first song to recording music in my room. And it has gone from there to recording an album – I can’t quite believe it sometimes. I’m feeling more confident all the time. There was so much I wanted to sing about and the more people heard me the more they wanted me to share. So what began as something for others became something for me.
What made you decide the time was right to launch your singing career?
Tom [Morrison], my producer, is a huge part of why I am here. We have been working on my music together for over three years now, and launching myself into the music world is really down to his partnership with me in the studio. We’ve grown into this together. We’re keen to get back after the pandemic and finish all the tracks that need final tweaks.
Your first single is a dreamy ballad called I Can’t Wait. Can you talk about your singing style…
It’s a good question and one I struggle to answer. Whenever I have to categorise my music on a website, none feel right to me or Tom. Even describing it as a balled is a new one for me to think about as there’s this beat going through it that makes me think that it isn’t – but you’re probably right as it’s not pop music. I choose ‘alternative’ usually as it sits amongst a few genres. I take influences from Lana Del Rey and Billie Eilish from their really delicate, raw, layered sound that I think comes through in my songs. But there’s also a lot of upbeat tracks on the album that arguably could move towards alt-pop, so who knows at this stage.
Your two singles were produced by Tom E Morrison and you worked with him on the film Viking Destiny. How influential has he been on your career?
Tom has really been responsible for all of it. David, the director of the film I was in, sent him some of my tracks and he got in touch. I wasn’t expecting that. I call him my ‘music dad’, haha. He takes my music which is very raw and adds things I wouldn’t even have thought of, and we build on it until it becomes what you hear.
What instruments do you play?
I only play the guitar. I would love to play the piano but I never got round to learning. When I was 17 I bought a blue guitar from Argos and googled chords and taught myself how to play. I still own that guitar ten years later, and even though I now have a Fender, the blue guitar is still my go-to. Maybe it’s a comfort thing but I have had guitar nerds tell me it’s actually a great sound so maybe the younger me just had great taste and didn’t know it!
Did you write some – or all – of the songs on your album? Can you describe your creative process?
Yeah I write all my own music. All my songs are my own. I can’t imagine them not being because singing to me is so much about emotion and my personal connection. I don’t know why but most of my songs are sad – I think I’m more prone to writing when I’m low. But I often have a single sentence and a song forms around that thought. Words always come first and then the melody almost seems to write itself after the narrative.
The second single is Twice the Breath which is a beautiful song. You’ve put out this second track just barely after the first… it looks like you’re on a roll?
Twice the Breath is the first completed song I ever recorded. I wrote it for my mother’s wedding, it was her second marriage and the song was about that journey. I never got round to releasing it officially but I’m so glad it’s out now. We also have a cool music video, filmed by my amazingly talented best friend Kitt Sullivan. It’s on YouTube and Facebook and involves a green screen and a trampoline – what more could you want!
The album comes out in spring. How is it progressing?
Ten tracks have been recorded. We just need to wait for the virus to be over so I can get back into the studio and finish them. I’m so looking forward to releasing the album, it’s a heartfelt work.
Has lockdown been an anxious time for you or has it been a positive experience?
Lockdown began as a treat for me, which may sound odd to hear. I am an actor, very socially confident and at ease in populated situations, but I would still call myself an introvert. Being told I had to stay home and not work was a treat and I took the first lockdown as a lovely opportunity to have time off from the hustle and grind. I loved that first lockdown. This time round though, I’m really over it. It’s so important we adhere to what the country needs and I’m staying at home and hoping for a swift resolution. But yes, this one is more melancholy for me, and I’m starting to feel a little stir crazy. My cat is loving the attention though, and I got a PS5 for Christmas so that has definitely eased the blow!
Do you have a good support network round you?
Yes, it’s amazing, I am very blessed indeed. People who follow my acting career have been brought to my music, and vice-versa. They are a loyal lot who I love very much. My family and friends thankfully love my music and are looking forward to the album, so no complaints at all.
You are launching your singing career in the middle of the pandemic– have you had the chance to perform live? As an actor I guess being in front of an audience will not be a problem?
My singing career is more of an ongoing installation, which is nice. I record and release when I can, around other work. My third track will be finished soon and will be the final single release before the album is finished. This is without doubt my favourite song so far and is produced with piano. I haven’t performed live yet, I prefer working in the studio, but who knows what the future holds. I’m not closed off to anything.
How will you balance your singing with your acting career?
Acting led me onto the music I make today so the two always feel linked for that reason. The craving for sharing art informs both sides of my life. I always need to be creating something. In both sides of my life I am performing, storytelling, creating and hopefully moving others, and that’s what I’m happy doing. And grateful for anyone it reaches.