I knew after hearing one song of Anna Vaus’ that she was everything that I was looking for for Straight Outta Nashville. I reached out to her immediately and everything wrapped up within about a 10-hour period. It is always a pleasure to find someone else who works just as hard as you do. Someone who is focused and determined on their dream and will do anything to make it work. As you’ll see in this interview, Anna is as cheery and positive as the sunflower-yellow color of her website makes her out to be. And she understands — whether it be about what small town life is like or what it’s like to be single (but ready to mingle with Kris Kringle), Anna’s got you covered. A lot of people say that there’s a Taylor Swift song for every mood, and I think that Anna certainly lives up to this quote as well.
MusicDash: Tell us about your musical background. How and when did you first start out?
Anna Vaus: Honestly I was just this little kid who liked to make up songs about princesses and butterflies and then make my family listen to me sing them. Until middle school, where I started to experience these real and challenging things that were new, exciting and challenging things for a kid to go through; being left out or having a crush on a boy in math class. But there was this compelling voice that kept telling me not to just go through these things, I had this innate desire to do more than that. So I turned to writing songs. I wrote my first “real” song at 11 about a boy who broke my heart (naturally) and since then songwriting has been and evoking, magical process I get to do every day.
MusicDash: What drew you to Nashville?
Anna Vaus: I grew up living and breathing music and my dad is actually an artist as well, so he taught me that Nashville is a place where you get to do that for the rest of your life if you choose to. I think the other amazing thing about Nashville is that it fosters songwriting like no place I’ve ever seen before. To be surrounded by insane amounts of talent that started because someone picked up a guitar and a pen is the coolest thing to me.
MusicDash: What’s your favorite or most memorable performance in Nashville to date?
Anna Vaus: I think my favorite performance in Nashville would have to be at Kimbros Pickin’ Parlor my freshman year. It was my first writers round I had ever played in town and I was just absolutely terrified. I prayed a lot about it and came out alive, such a shocker I know! But I love that performance because it was this wall I had to break through to be where I am not so I’m thankful for that opportunity today.
MusicDash: You’re going to be playing at the Bluebird (one of Nashville’s most famous venues) in February. What was that experience like and what did you play?
Anna Vaus: I actually randomly stumbled upon an article talking about how the Bluebird Cafe holds writer’s night auditions a few times a year and one was coming up, so I decided “why not go for it?” I kind of just walked into this situation and got to be the quirky me that I am by playing my song “Friendzoned” for about 60 other writers and six or seven judges. I guess they liked the song because I got invited back to play on February 21, so that’s going to be a serious dream come true.
MusicDash: Since you’re already about to play the legendary Bluebird, are there any other venues that you’re just dying to play?
Anna Vaus: Honestly, I’m dying to play anywhere anybody wants to have me. A big part of my heart instinctually wants to play an arena one day but that is so far down the line and an out of this world idea that right now I’m content playing just about anywhere. But yeah, I think my dream is to play in my hometown arena one day, that would be beyond what words can describe.
MusicDash: You write some really incredible songs and you even change the words up on some of your covers (like “Every Bruin’s Got Somebody But Me,” a homage to the life of a single girl at Belmont and “Drunk and Lazy,” the ex girlfriend’s side of the popular country song “Drunk on a Plane.”) These videos have thousands of views. Where do you get your inspiration for these videos and what has the response been like?
Anna Vaus: I think the best way to answer this is to describe myself. Like I said, I’m just this insanely quirky person that enjoys making quirky things as a result, and I think that really shows in my songwriting. Whether it’s a parody of a song like “Drunk on a Plane” or the I’m-sad-because-I’m-single Christmas song that I wrote, “If Kris Kringle Were Single,” it’s a display of who I am, minus the whole sad-because-I’m-single thing… I’m doing alright with that.
In terms of the response, I’m really grateful to have incredibly supportive family, friends, and fans who share and post my songs so it’s a wonderful feeling to see something like that come full circle from creating it to watching people share it across social media. I will say my favorite response to the songs I’ve written and parody/covered has been a comment from a friend of my parents who said to me “you know, you’re really good at writing songs about being single.” I was like, “Oh. Awesome. I’m good at being single, well alright then.”
MusicDash: You recently released ‘Friday Night Crowd” on Soundcloud. The song perfectly encapsulates life in a small town. You must be speaking from experience here! Tell us about your hometown and if it has inspired some of your other lyrics.
Anna Vaus: Yeah, so spoiler alert: I wrote this song about my hometown. I actually wrote it after seeing someone from my high school who had graduated with me post something about how boring a place Poway (my hometown) is, and then that Friday he posted a picture of himself at our old high school’s football game. It was this self-contradicting complex that was humorous but also kind of sad at the same time and that’s what inspired me to write “Friday Night Crowd.” I definitely have some other songs I’ve written inspired by my hometown but that’s more thanks to the people, specifically heart-breaker boys, living in it rather than the place.
MusicDash: What’s coming up for you?
Anna Vaus: Well, I’m really excited for what’s to come! In terms of big things I’m looking forward to: I’ll be playing at Belmont’s ASCAP Writers Night on November 10 and at the Bluebird early next year so I’ll be counting down the days to both. As for now, my mind is totally focused on writing, writing, writing, and just getting better at what I do. The sky is the limit and I’m ready to chase it.
You can find Anna at:
YouTube: Anna Vaus
Article by Kaitlyn Midgett