POiSON ANNA: Politically Unapologetic
In a period that's tarnished with deep political indifferences and widespread social injustices, we often turn to the arts when the people in power can't provide us with the answers. In the music industry currently, there's no voice more powerful, reaffirming and cathartic than POiSON ANNA's.
In her debut mixtape EXCELSiA, The London-based 23-year-old takes us on an intoxicating journey of self-discovery whilst prompting us to meditate on our own pursuit for truth. Addressing the rampant rise of misinformation, reflecting on systemic oppression and ruminating on how it feels to be alienated in society, POiSON ANNA presents us with a thought-provoking and essential EP for the twenty-first century.
Listening to songs such as COMiN FOR YA and FAiNT, you'll instantly realise this particular singer is one hard to define by genre. Undeniably unique and completely uncompromising, EXCELSiA is one of the UK's most exciting debuts in quite some time!
We spoke to POiSON ANNA about her distinct sound, her decision to use her music to tackle political issues and what it's like to be a woman in the music industry.
It's been a crazy year; how has the last twelve months been?
Crazy is an understatement. It's been emotionally and physically draining at times, but thankfully I have powerful humans around me, and of course, I'm still here on this Earth.
Have you found lockdown to be a creative experience, or has it been a struggle?
It's been a combination, I'd say, as I've made some new sounds with people I've never created with but also gain my inspiration from new environments, so having to find that within the city has been challenging.
Congratulations on your debut mixtape that has just come out! What do you hope it says about you as an artist?
Thank you kindly! Well, EXCELSiA is an ode of my younger being on my initial journey of self-discovery. So for me, it's nostalgic to hear the sounds I was creating and feeling at that time. I'm a wild character, full of all different types of influences, so I hope that translates. I just hope it is relatable in a new age kind of form.
Musically you're hard to define as one genre; what is the inspiration behind your sound?
I mean, I'm just me at the end of the day. So whatever I feel or don't feel comes through in the music; it's my way of letting go of what I internalise. Nothing you hear from me will sound like the last. That's a fact.
Your music videos are also visually striking. Is creative control important to you?
It's key. I'm extremely locked in when it comes to the visual aspect of things. I see it as soon as I make the music or sometimes before. It's an experience from me to you to gauge the meaning and morals of my creations if you don't quite understand them just from the sounds. I like to take people on a ride thru my mind!
Songs like FAiNT bravely tackle modern political issues. Do you think more artists should speak up about social injustices, or do you find those topics can be quite polarising?
Everyone has their own purpose; this is mine, so I'm just doing my works. I'm a realist in that way, so if I see it, it becomes my duty to help others. Society is against naturalism if you live with the universe it will provide.
There have been many female singers speak out recently about what a difficult environment the music industry can be for women. How has it been for you so far?
I've been making music a long time behind closed doors, I've worked with many people, and I've seen a lot. As an independent young woman, I'm an advocate of equality within my industry and will do all I can to rise above all the bullshit pressures and opinions that flood my way. In the same respect, it is not easy, but women are the most powerful beings, and nothing could ever tarnish that.
You can already boast some impressive collaborations, are there any other dream collabs for you?
I'd love to work with so many people. But off the dome... Andre would be a lifetime achievement. So would Tyler. Who knows, who knows ?!
Now EXCELSiA is out in the wild; what are you working on next? Can we expect some live shows soon?
Heaps of sounds will be emerging from the POiSON ANNA archive, yes! You can definitely find me performing live and direct in and around Europe this coming autumn.
EXCELSiA is out now
Photography Will Reid
Words by Joshua Evans