Interview: Soulful Dutch Singer-Songwriter Anne-Fay

Photo Credit: Semuel Souhuwat

Photo Credit: Semuel Souhuwat

We connected with Anne-Fay, a soulful singer-songwriter out of the Netherlands for our latest DCWS exclusive interview. Anne-Fay recently branched out as a solo artist after years of performing with choirs and bands. Her sound is unique and her two singles, “Rise” and “Lioness” establish her as a talent to watch. After featuring Anne-Fay’s video for “Lioness” on DCWS, we knew we had to learn more about her musical background and what the future holds for her.

After reading our Q&A with Anne-Fay, be sure to connect with her on Instagram and stream both “Rise” and “Lioness” on Spotify.

Both "Lioness" and "Rise" are empowering songs, the former sizzling with an undulating beat where the latter swells with raw emotion. How would you describe your sound?

I had a meeting with a label once who asked me to pick five songs from Spotify’s Top 100 playlist to find the sound that would fit me. I really really tried, but I couldn’t. It all felt so polished and shiny. I guess It made me realize that that’s not me. ‘Baby I like it raw’ - I prefer a raw edge and an honest feel. Unapologetic. With some gospel, soul and hip-hop influences.

The videos for both songs are so haunting. Can you share a bit with us about how they were conceived?

Working with producers Mihai Puscoiu and Reynard ‘Mucky’ Bargmann (who also produced for Sevdaliza and Wiley) made me discover my dark side, which is a side of myself I couldn’t really discover and perform singing in a Gospel Choir and colorful festival act Cookachoo.

The video for ‘Lioness’ is basically me talking to me. I was in a relationship that wasn’t working for way too long. You can blame the other person but it’s always your decision to stay. In ‘Lioness’ I’m giving myself some tough love. I wrote the song and the scenario together with my brother Felix Kops, who also directed the video.

The song ‘Rise’ is very honest & pure to me, so I wanted an honest & pure video to go with it. I asked photographer Semuel Souhuwat to embody those feelings. I cast all the people in the video myself - they are all artists and friends that I admire or can relate to in different ways. It also made me realize that I’ve got some good looking friends.

You've been a member of a gospel choir and different bands, and now you're striking out on your own. How does it feel to go solo? Is there anything about this decision that makes you nervous or especially excited?

Before I went I solo I was in the main Dutch Gospel Choir and group called Cookachoo. Both were really inspiring. Singing with Kamasi Washington, Oleta Adams and playing big venues and festivals made me grow as a performer. But both didn’t have much space for my own story and so the urge to pursue my own thing grew and grew. At a certain point, I felt it was the moment to start on my own.

I’m excited and nervous. After all the different projects I’ve done, it feels like the right time to strike out on my own. I have enough self-confidence and have learned on so many different levels that I truly believe I’m ready now. It definitely makes me nervous also, I mean you pour your heart and soul into your art, all your time & money and you have absolutely no guarantees. I’m releasing the music independently so no label with a huge promotional push who can make sure my music reaches enough people. No upfront financial support either, I earn every euro myself that I pay producers, videomakers, stylists, makeup artists, photographers, publicists etc with.

Despite all of that I’m still doing it and I believe in it with all my heart. There is no other way for me. I’ve found what I want to do.

Your voice conveys so much soul and emotion. Who are your musical influences and inspirations?

Lauryn Hill, Nina Simone & Etta James mean a lot to me. In storytelling and emotion, I believe they are the best earth has & had to offer. Musical influences and inspirations - I have so many and all so different! James Blake is amazing and Andre 3000. I love Philip Glass, Hans Zimmer, and Mozart too. At the moment I am listening to a lot of Wu-Tang, Tupac, and Gesaffelstein. And last week it was the Deftones, Tekno & Yemi Alade. Different moods, different melodies. I’m kinda schizophrenic I guess.

Is there an album on the horizon? What can we look forward to in 2019?

I am working towards two EP’s in 2019. And somewhere in 2020 an album. But this is the plan for today, tomorrow I might change it.

Stream and Share “Lioness” on Spotify

Stream and Share “Rise” on Spotify

Connect with Anne-Fay: Instagram