Although Annika may be only 16 years old, her songs prove that she has a soul that is wise beyond her years. Her songwriting has the distinct sound of a veteran too, simple yet powerful, with most of the weight being carried by her voice and acoustic guitar.
Given that she has been playing music since she was in elementary school, it should come as no surprise that Annika has grown into an experienced, skilled musician. Her journey started when she attended the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls and formed a band on the first day of camp.
“I realized then how much I loved performing, and I knew by the age of 9 that it was something I wanted to continue doing,” she said.
One year later, Annika’s mom won studio recording time at a fundraising auction for the camp. The time was used recording one of Annika’s original compositions, a piece that impressed the studio owner, who told her to get out into the music scene and form a band. With that, Still Saffire was born.
By the time summer 2013 rolled around, two members of Still Saffire were in college, limiting their time to practice and play together. Therefore, Annika started writing and performing under her own name.
While Annika said that her writing process has remained mostly unchanged, the difference between Still Saffire and her solo work came in the arranging.
“With Still Saffire, I had help with arranging from my mother and sometimes from band members, but now I just do all instrumentation by myself [on studio recordings],” she said. “Since I`ve been on my own, I`ve been trying out new styles of songwriting/sound/music, but that could simply be the result of me growing as a writer.”
Her growth as a songwriter has certainly paid off. Annika not only competed in the Queens Battle of the Boroughs at The Greene Space, but she was voted as the winner and moves on to face the top musicians from the other four boroughs on June 27.
“It was really exciting, and unexpected. It really made me aware of all the support I have from my family, friends and fans. And for that I am deeply appreciative,” Annika said. “If it weren’t for my family, friends and fans, I wouldn’t have won.”
Besides her solo projects, preparing for the Battle of the Boroughs, SAT prep, Driver’s Ed, college tours and everyday high school work, Annika is also taking part in a series called Real Women Real Songs. Each week for all of 2014, she is writing a new song based on a prompt, which will be posted online at www.youtube.com/user/RealWomenRealSongs.
“It`s making me grow as a songwriter and keeping me disciplined,” she said. “I’m currently recording a bunch of new songs with recording engineer Larry Alexander, and hopefully will have an album out in the near future.”
To keep up with details about that upcoming release, as well as her live dates, visit facebook.com/annikamusic1 and annikamusic.com.