ANABEL ENGLUND: “GIVING WOMEN THE PLATFORM THEY’VE NEVER HAD BEFORE, THAT’S AMAZING AND NEW”
Performing is in Anabel Englund’s blood. Her father is American actor and singer Morgan Englund, and her grandfather is director-producer George Englund. But it was her grandmother, Academy Award-winning actress Cloris Leachman, who inspired her to become a singer. It’s a gift Anabel has used on hit Hot Natured collaborations like “Reverse Skydiving” and “Mercury Rising,” and her just-released 2018 single, “So Hot.”
Born in New York and raised in Los Angeles, she’s toured all across America, as well as Japan, Spain, Brazil, the UK and Mexico, often performing solo or alongside longtime collaborators MK and Lee Foss. She and Foss will be bringing their electric live show to Mexico’s RHA Festival next month. And she promises it’ll be “filled with all the music people got tickets to hear.”
We caught up with Anabel via email to talk more about the festival, making pop music, and gender disparity on America’s lineups, as she lends strong advice to any women looking to follow in her footsteps—or more accurately, any woman at all.
You and Lee have been working together at least since your breakout 2012 hit “Electricity,” produced with MK. What makes working with him so special? A mutual love of music, friendship? Or something more magical or unexplainable?
Lee is a really great lyricist and it’s fun combining what we both like and turning it into a song. He also just tells a bunch of dad jokes and has an abundance of information in his head, so he’s all around fun company. I love him very much!
MK’s known for being a hit-maker, and you yourself are no stranger to hits and the charts. Are you a pop fan, and is making bigger pop/electronic hits something that interests you?
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a pop fan. Making bigger hits is definitely something I’m interested in. Pop means popular, it means more people are listening to your music. I want to make that happen.
You’re heading to Mexico next month with Lee for a live show. For those who haven’t seen it, what’s it like?
It’s a fun dynamic between the two of us. It’s filled with all the music people got tickets to hear— and of course I sprinkle my specialness all ovaaa.
You’ve been playing Mexico for quite a few years now. What are some of your favorite things about Mexico, and what do you think will make RHA such special festival?
Yumm—the food! The ocean, the air, the music. I honestly love Mexico (te amo). I think RHA will be so special because not only am I performing with Lee, but I also will be throwing my party, Gari Safari, with my brother and friends the Sunday after! Get ready!!
In Europe/UK’s electronic music scenes, gender equality has become a widely discussed issue in the last few years. Great gains have been made—though there’s still more to be done and fought for. How does this compare to America’s scene?
There is still a lot that needs to be done. As far as the ratio of men vs. women on lineups, I think it should be equal or somewhere close to it. I have seen a lot more parties just with female DJs, which is super cool, and opens our eyes to all the talented, diverse, unique female artists out there. But that’s still not gender equality is it? It’s not. But it is giving women the platform they’ve never had before so I think that’s amazing and new. I have hope that as a human race we will figure things out, we are on our way.
Have you faced challenges or harassment because of your gender? And do you have any advice for young women looking to follow in your footsteps?
Being a girl, of course I’ve faced challenges. If you’re a women and youre reading this—young, old, whatever—we have and we will face challenges because of our gender. Never settle for less because you don’t think you deserve any better. Do your best, stick up for yourself. USE YOUR VOICE. If you’re feeling unsafe or uncomfortable you probably are. TRUST YOUR GUT and protect yourself. You deserve to be safe. There’s a lot of gross people out there who misuse their power, but there are also a lot of amazing respectful people. You are your association. Cut out all the bullshit. Just know you deserve all the best and most loving things, truly.
You just dropped your new solo single “So Hot.” Are your solo songs entirely written, arranged and produced by yourself? And how does this experience differ from writing songs with, say, Hot Natured or other producers?
Why yes I did just drop “So Hot,” and no it wasn’t done on my own. My dear friend SIrah helped me with the pre-chorus, and Diego Cuevas, who actually is a member of Gari Safari, produced “So Hot.” Any time you’re writing/working with different people it is different with each person. It’s like going on a date.
What else are you working on at the moment, and what’s the rest of 2018 hold for you?
I have the rest of my EP coming out soon. I will put it out single by single. There’s a just-piano and vocal track I can’t wait to release. I also have a song coming out June 1st on Spinnin’; a collaboration with my friend CID. Super excited about that one. So basically a lot more of me ALL THE TIME!
RHA Festival takes place from May 25-26 at Marina Riviera Nayarit in Mexico. Get tickets here.