“I start with an image in my mind and then I make some words and a melody, the image is like a little seed which then grows. I’ve always been very driven by words so I will create the song around the words. They are my words that come to me from an image. For example there’s a song I’ve written called ‘Notes from an Opera’.
I must have read the story of Coco Chanel somewhere but I wasn’t conscious of that, I had this image of a woman in wartime Paris, and she’s pampered and spoilt. I followed her story and I found these words she would say in the image I had as I followed her around Paris. Then I sat down at the piano and started to sing the words. I think what this means for my music is that it comes out more linear rather than cyclical, so it will have lots of different bits as if it’s a sort of film, rather than it being verse, chorus, verse, chorus. It’s more driven by narrative. I’m writing about characters with a completely independent mind, I’m outside of them and they are separate to me. Sometimes I will sing them as “I” or sometimes as “she”. These are songs that emanate from my imagination rather than being songs about me.
I compose the music through a process of filtering through many layers of the story. I had piano lessons for a long time, I loved Bartok, Ravel, Debussy. I sang opera from a young age, and learnt a lot of John Dowland and Palestrina, very sparse music that was meant for harpsichord, I played it on the piano while I sang and really loved the purity of that music. These days, as well as working with my band I have a couple of large scale projects coming up that I’m looking forward to – one is with an orchestra. I’m also working with a choir in London, reviving a choral work I originally composed for an Estonian choir.” (Ana Silvera)
Connect with Ana