Back in early Fall, I shared a bill with gifted singer-songwriter Ana Lena Copeland and couldn’t wait to get hold of her EP Lovers Do. She’s got a splendid voice, writes fine material and is, in general, a uniquely compelling artist.
In an area like the Twin Cities, she’s got a promising future. Copeland, of course, is going to have to put in the grunt work of scrounging up gigs, playing open mics, whatever it takes to stay in the front the public as much as possible. If the likes of Chastity Brown and MJ Kroll can start out doing it, so can this talented rookie. Hell, it’s good seasoning.
Ana Lena Copeland has the same kind of fascinating artistry that distinguished, for instance, Shannon Doughtery when she fronted avant garde alt-rocking Kymara. A feel and sensibility all unto itself. Between now and the next time you get a chance to catch Copeland playing out, treat yourself to You Tube videos of “All I Want” and her cover of Bob Dylan’s “Make You Feel My Love.” You can find her at analenacopeland.bandcamp.com, a smartly appointed website that does a fine job of introducing you to a rare find. Ana Lena Copeland gave an email interview to talk about how she does what she does.
You’ve got a distinct quality. Who are your songwriting influences? My influences seem to come from everywhere.
I try to write on situations, human experience and ideas that both puzzle and intrigue me. I always go for the deep stuff. I’d say my songs tend to morph with the artists/bands I have been listening to recently. For example, I’ve been listening to Missy Higgins lately and just turned out an upbeat kinda jazzy song about two people going their separate ways. But then a few weeks ago I was on a We Are the Fallen kick and wrote a sad ballad about the troubles in life. Not that my songwriting is always tied to those reasons, but so to say that my influences are constantly coming from new places.
What possessed you become a singer-songwriter?
I knew from a very early age that music would always be a vital part of my life. I picked up tunes easily and loved to sing. I taught myself guitar at 12 and began playing around with lyrics. In high school I performed a few of my own songs at talent shows but really grew into that skin in college. I really found myself in songwriting and can’t imagine doing anything else. So I guess you could say it was just meant to happen for me.
Which performers do you enjoy listening to?
That list could go for several pages. I enjoy so many artists; new, current and old. A few of my favorites are Missy Higgins, Carly Smithson, Adam Gontier, Rosemary Clooney, Ben Rector, Adele, Phillip Phillips and Damien Rice.
How different is the experience, recording from performing live?
Performing live is always an opportunity to challenge yourself. I try to be open and look for ways in which I can improve my live show. I play a good deal in coffee shops and restaurants where I am the “radio music” and few people are actually paying attention. It’s always much better to play to an audience who is interested and invested. Recording can be daunting as you really have the freedom to make your songs whatever you can imagine them to be. I love being in the studio and making that magic happen.
How pleased are you with Lovers Do?
Very pleased. I had a great experience with Silver Ant Studios getting my EP recorded. It was an intense day but so fulfilling.
My next plans are to keep playing shows, connect with more fans, get back into the studio for a full album and pursue a songwriting/publishing deal. My passion is for the music I’ve been fortunate enough to be gifted in making. I’m taking any opportunity to further that career.
Photo courtesy Ana Lena Copeland