Anna Mae Kelly is the teenager from East Northants who has been racking up plenty of online hits for her first singles, ‘Devil Eyes’ and ‘I Want You To Be Here’. With the release of her third New Boots went in search of the story.
Anna Mae Kelly, how did you get into singing and songwriting?
When I was in primary school I used to go to my Nan and Granddads after the school day had finished. My Nan would always let me play for an hour or two on her piano before I had to go back home. I would close my eyes, plonk my hands on the keys and attempt to make a song with the weird chord I’d made. From then I started to experiment with chords. For my 9th Christmas my parents brought me my first guitar and I started to create little songs, and from then on I’ve been working on my songwriting.
How would you describe your sound? Who are your main influences?
I have always looked up to Freddie Mercury and Queen throughout my life. He’s always been a huge inspiration in my own music and is the reason why I love creating music for myself and other people. I started listening to Adele through my mid tween years, and fell in love with the way she wrote her songs. I love Imagine Dragons and have done since they came onto the music scene. Along with all that I listen to music from Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone and loads more.
My sound, I have no idea how to describe. I write songs in all different genres. Even though its early days, I’m playing around with the music I’m writing, so I really don’t know which genre I fit into.
What was the reaction like to the first two singles earlier this year? There’s some healthy listening numbers there.
The love and reaction I had from friends and family and fans was amazing, I felt support like never before. It truly is an amazing feeling to have people that don’t even know you message you or talk to you, and tell you that they liked something you created in your bedroom.
It has been an amazing experience to release this music so far, and it has really opened my eyes. Releasing my first single was daunting but exhilarating. All my life there has been so many people telling me what I can and can’t do, so releasing this music has really pushed me to follow what I believe is right for me.
Tell us about this new one, ‘Infamous Kiss’.
‘Infamous Kiss’ definitely means the most to me out of all my songs. I started to write this song at 13 years old, and finished the song when I used it as my piece for music composition in my GCSE Music exam. When I was younger I had never had a relationship, and I hadn’t really had my heart broken yet, or any other experiences. I learned to listen to my friends’ problems and mixed them into what the song was about. I watched countless movies and shows and collected bits to help me understand what having a breakup that hurt was like, and the feelings that were involved.
‘Infamous Kiss’ means the most to me because it has my friends tied into it, and all of my efforts and understanding of what they all went through for love.
The Kettering area seems to struggle for live music opportunities these days. Have you played out much?
Sadly, there isn’t a lot. Just before lockdown I got to play my songs in an Open Mic night at two different pubs locally to me. Then through a friend of a family member, I got to hear about ‘The Green Room”. This is a live music show run through Facebook by some talented people in Corby. These guys are really passionate about music and are trying to do something really creative in getting live music out there during lockdown. My first session with them was in July, and from a room in my house. I loved it!! Then on the 6th of August I was invited back to perform when they did a live gig from a street in Corby. It was an awesome night, and again I was performing with some talented local people. Martin who runs the show is a genius and it all went really smoothly. I can’t wait for next time; I really enjoy performing.
How has lockdown been for you? Helped or hindered your creativity?
I’ve struggled a little bit with lockdown. I’m a very social person, so not being around my friends did bring me down a bit. The positive side of this was that I write a lot more, and I think much better-quality songs when I’m down or sad.
What was the last album you bought/streamed?
Fuzzybrain by Dayglow. They have a unique sound which I love.
What is your burning desire to do in the future? What plans do you have?
To get my music out to a bigger audience. I hope they really like my music and the way I write. I want to keep performing, I absolutely love it, nerves and all! I would love to eventually become a positive influencer for women and girls: not just in the music industry, but in general.
‘Infamous Kiss’ by Anna Mae Kelly is out now on the usual digital platforms