Central Queensland’s Anna Farquhar sings heartfelt tales of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and is heavily inspired by her experiences and travels. Anna draws inspiring from the likes of Missy Higgins, Amy Shark and Fleetwood Mac to name just a few, Anna puts her own spin on the acoustic and pop rock genre. She is unapologetically honest in her song writing — unafraid to tell the truth, her music is direct, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. Anna’s drive to create music stems from her hardwired desire to have people connect to her music the same way she has with other artists.
Anna released her first single, ‘Mama (A Song For Chris)’ back in August 2017. It made waves in the charts, debuting at #14 and topping out at #5 for the iTunes Top 200 Australian Singer/Songwriter category. After three years, a couple of heartbreaks, constant performing and traveling, Anna Farquhar is ready to release her new music, kicking it off with her single “Boy” in March 2020.
- Can you tell us a bit about where you come from and how you got started?
Anna Farquhar: I come from a country town in Central Queensland, Australia. Music has always been apart of my life in some way, whether it was singing on the tractor with dad, playing piano with my Grandmother, singing in the car on family road trips or school choirs and bands. I didn’t pick up a guitar until I was 14 and then started writing songs when I was 16.
- Who were your first and strongest musical influences that you can remember?
Anna Farquhar: Missy Higgins is definitely my strongest musical influence, I’ve always loved her sound and songwriting. She was the first artist I really connected with. I remember when I was 11 listening to her song “The Sound of White” and I never really understood the lyrics at the time but it was the first time I really ‘felt’ music.
- If I was to turn on your media player right now, which artists/songs would I be most likely to hear on your recently played list?
Anna Farquhar: Amy Shark, Missy Higgins, INXS, John Butler Trio, Shot Stack, Lime Cordiale and I’ve got a great playlist of acoustic covers that I’m really loving at the moment!
- What do you feel are the key elements in your music that should resonate with listeners?
Anna Farquhar: I would love my lyrics to be the main element that resonates with listeners. My songs are honest and to the point; I really wear my heart on my sleeve when I write songs.
- For most artists, originality is first preceded by a phase of learning and, often, emulating others. What was this like for you? How would you describe your own development as an artist and music maker, and the transition towards your own style?
Anna Farquhar: When I was first starting out listened a lot to what people thought I should be/sound like instead of being who I wanted to be and I found I wasn’t writing songs that I loved. It wasn’t until about 3 years ago where I really honed in on what I wanted to be and I’ve never looked back.
- What’s your view on the role and function of music as political, cultural and/or social vehicles – and do you try and affront any of these themes in your work, or are you purely interested in music as an expression of technical artistry, personal narrative and entertainment?
Anna Farquhar: For me I definitely use music as a personal narrative. All my songs are based on life experiences (mainly heartbreaks!). Songwriting is also a form of personal therapy for me, it’s a way for me to get troubles or issues of my chest and if I get a song out of it then that’s great!
- Do you ever write a song with current musical trends, formulas or listener satisfaction in mind, or do you simply write focused on your own personal vision?
Anna Farquhar: I simply write what I feel. Whatever is going on in my head I write it down. I haven’t ever really followed musical trends, I’ve definitely taken inspiration from different artists but never tried to recreate their sound.
- Could you describe your creative processes? How do start, and go about shaping ideas into a completed song?
Anna Farquhar: I usually just sit a my piano and play different chord patterns until I get a progression I really like and then write lyrics over the top. I’ve got copious amounts of notes in my phone with random lyrics. I also have a notebook by my bed if I come up with ideas in the middle of the night but I usually wake up to lyrics that don’t much sense!
- What has been the most difficult thing you’ve had to endure in your career or life so far, and how did you overcome the event?
Anna Farquhar: Probably people not taking me seriously when I say that music is my full-time job. Overcoming that has been a matter of focusing on short and long term goals and pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone as much as possible!
- What would you consider a successful, proud or significant point in your career so far?
Anna Farquhar: I just released my first single ‘Boy’ off my new EP (which will be released later this year) and made it onto the iTunes Alternative Charts (Debuting at #22) and iTunes All Genres Charts. This is a significant point in my career because I’ve done this completely independently and I never thought I would make it onto a chart!
- Do you handle your own recording, production and mastering work or do you outsource any or all of these processes?
Anna Farquhar: I had an amazing producer, James North (James North Productions). He really helped me bring ‘my sound’ to life. James listened to all my ideas and really pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and make the best EP I could. I really couldn’t have asked for a better producer.
- How do you handle criticism, haters and/or naysayers in general? Is it something you pay attention to, or simply ignore?
Anna Farquhar: Simple, ignore them.
- Which aspects of being an independent artist excites you most and which aspects discourages you most?
Anna Farquhar: Being independent makes me appreciate my successes so much more because I know how hard I’ve work for them. To see my handwork pay off makes me really proud of myself.
- What were your main compositional, performance and/or production challenges when starting out, and how have they changed over time?
Anna Farquhar: My main challenge and one I still struggle with today is self doubt. I’m slowly becoming less judgemental of myself and I do that by looking back and seeing just how far I’ve come.
- Could you tell us something about your latest project and what fans can expect to hear?
Anna Farquhar: I’ve got an EP being released later this year! It’s 6 songs about my relationships; I really went all out and let myself be really venerable. I wore my heart on my sleeve with this EP and at times was probably a bit too honest but I think that’s the one thing that’s going to make it stand out.
- Do you have a personal favorite track in your catalog that has a specific backstory and/or message and meaning very special to you?
Anna Farquhar: My new single ‘Boy’ is definitely one of my favourites that I’ve written, I love that song. ’Boy’ came about after a guy I’d fancied kissed me at the local bar. The next day he messaged saying “I’ve been thinking I’ve just gotten over a sore throat, I hope you don’t get it because that’d be a bit detrimental to your job!”. Two days later I was sick. So, while I had a couple of days off work I was thinking “Why didn’t this guy just warn me!?” and that’s where the chorus of ‘Boy’ came from. The song ended up turning into a song about relationships or crushes that are all consuming, the ones that just sneak up on you and you wish that the person could’ve warned or told you that you’d feel so deeply for them. I never thought I would end up recording it because I just wrote it for a bit of fun and was just making a joke at my own expense!
- Creative work in studio environment, or interaction with a live audience? Which of these two do you ultimately prefer and why?
Anna Farquhar: Both are great! Out of the two, live performance would be my top pick. Performing and interacting with a live audience and being able to connect with people is such an amazing feeling!
- What’s your favorite motto, phrase or piece of advice, you try to live or inspire yourself by?
Anna Farquhar: Focus on the things you can do not things you can’t, don’t focus on anyone else’s journey, just focus on your journey. One piece of advice that I hold close is that there’s not just one way to do things, if you really want something you’ll find a way to make it happen!
- What do you find most rewarding about what you do?
Anna Farquhar: Connecting with people. Music has been such a huge part of my life and I have connected with so different artists and their music and many of them have shaped me as a person. For me to be able to connect with people the same way I have connected with music would be the most rewarding thing.
- Do you have a specific vision or goal that you would like to achieve in the very near future?
Anna Farquhar: Main goal is to continually grow as a musician and continue to do music full time for as long as I can.