What’s one thing you’ll never forget your mama said? Pop/R&B artist Anna Dellaria remembers all the empowering things in her latest single, “Mama Said”—the track you need to blast in your room when you’re feeling down. It’s a huge source of encouragement for those days you need a reminder that no one can bring you down. We love songs of strength and Anna shows so much of it. We had a chance to chat with Dellaria to discuss her new song, her opinion about Los Angeles, and her upcoming EP!
The Young Folks: Looking back five years ago, where did you picture yourself to be at this exact moment? On the other hand, where do you picture yourself five years from today?
Anna Dellaria: That’s a good one! I’d say I pictured myself to be making music, singing for people, performing non-stop, and finding some success with my music while also finding ways to constantly push myself to become a better musician and further my intention with my art.
Five years from today, my biggest hope is for happiness, good health and the ability to still perform, make music, challenge myself as an artist and keep simply being. Obviously I have specific goals I’d love to achieve, but I’ve found that when the priority is maintaining my self and wellness, the other goals seem to fall into place. I’d also love to be traveling everywhere and anywhere every month or so!
TYF: I read in previous interviews that your love for singing started at a very early age. What has the journey been like from your childhood to get where you are today?
AD: That’s true! Singing has been a fire burning inside of me for as long as I can remember. I started with a love for entertaining by forcing my family members to watch my “big show” where I’d sell tickets and sing along to my tiny toy piano behind cardboard stage sides. From there, I performed in talent shows and soon began writing my own music around 9 or 10. Melodies circulate through me so that was always this innate part of me. Once I practiced putting words to it – writing music kind of clicked. I learned more about my voice and what it could do technically to evoke the emotion I was feeling through some lessons in high school. When I finally moved to LA at 17 for music school, I was obsessed with everything from production to performing live (which I hadn’t done much of before) to collaborating and releasing music digitally.
TYF: You were born in the Bay Area and now you reside in Los Angeles! In your opinion, what would you say is the biggest difference between the two? What’s something you miss about San Francisco?
AD: The biggest difference to me is the culture. The Bay Area is very creative and vibey in almost a spiritual way that emphasizes community and lifestyle vs. fads. Also the versatility of art and music especially. I grew up with friends hopping on Bart to deep dive into vinyl collections in Berkeley or check out a show in San Francisco before heading home. The entire time we’d cycle through genres ranging from rap like Mac-Dre, Murs, Atmosphere, Tupac to The Beatles, The Clash, 3Oh3, Beyonce, Whitney Houston and Stevie Wonder.
In LA – I think a lot of the versatility is left out when it comes to engaging heavily with a lot of different types of art and music vs. focusing on one favorite. I also find this strange ambitious buzz with LA that can be super inspiring, but equally a little toxic when it comes to comparing [yourself to everyone else].
TYF: Can you tell us a bit about what your single “Mama Said” is about?
AD: “Mama Said” was written pretty quickly after coming to terms with this exhaustion I felt from defending my identity and happiness against stereotypes, standards and expectations from those around me but honestly, from the world and this crazy society. That sounds super lofty – I know. However, I do think those stereotypes and negativity are insidious and integrated into our daily lives on a small scale from a young age. The song wasn’t really written following some big news headline. It was more so the pinnacle of this tiredness I felt trying to maintain these standards while also remaining authentic to myself.
TYF: This new song comes just after the release of “At My Worst” which we LOVE! How did the concept of this song come to life?
AD: Thank you! This was much more light-hearted and fun in that I was in a room with some of my best friends and frequent collaborators and we thought of that great quote surrounding the idea of “if you want me with all of my beauty and spirit, then you must also accept my flaws and quirks.” We started with that sassy R&B Infused chord progression and just kind of started listing little lines with that in mind.
TYF: What would you say “your worst” is? When are you at your best?
AD: Oh man. I am an extremely anxious person so a lot of my “worst” moments involve overthinking or creating tension when there’s not really a need for it. I’m so grateful for the incredible friends and family that I have to accept those parts of myself and work with me to move past them. Whether helping me get out of my head or allowing me the space to vent and maybe project a little too much.
I think I’m at my best when I feel acceptance within myself and confident with who I am. That center waivers when doubt, depression, negativity start to creep in. It’s so hard to maintain a love of self on a daily basis, but I find the more that I really focus on it and put self care into action – I feel closer to that calm.
TYF: You’ve been working hard on your upcoming EP, due at the top of next year. How’s that process been like for you? What’s something you learned while putting this together that you didn’t expect to learn?
AD: That has been an insane and incredible experience! I basically “speed dated” around with producers and writers for a year writing hundreds of songs in all different styles without thinking too much about it – in order to find the few ones that I identify with the most and feel most like me. From those 100 or so songs, I scaled it back to 10 that I love and then a final 6 that felt most like what I want to introduce to the world as an artist, especially since this will be my debut EP. I learned the importance of letting go. I had to let go of the fear that the songs weren’t “good enough” yet and had to let go of this idea that I can’t evolve as a musician and whatever I put out first will forever define me. My genre and style may fluctuate and that’s okay but I need to start somewhere!
TYF: You’re undoubtedly an absolute hard worker, without a doubt. For aspiring artists who want to follow your footsteps, what would be your bit of advice for them?
AD: Thank you! I guess my biggest advice would be to enjoy the process. I’m still learning how to really do that but I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up where you’re at in your career. I think it’s easier than we think to wind up with 20 years of our lives stressing and focusing on work without any memories of enjoying it or being present. Might as well try to find moments of joy amongst all the chaos!