Hey hey! I’ve been very busy, but also extremely excited that this new single and music video are finally out in the world!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single, “Poster Child of California”?
It’s an 80’s synth inspired female empowerment track. It sheds a light on the “real” California girl, not one as idealized and represented in the media. A multifaceted, strong, woman who follows her goals and overcomes obstacles.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
It’s actually a very cliché story :). I had 8 empty bars in the bridge of the song for a very long time because I simply didn’t know what to write about. I wanted it to be meaningful, to add a new angle to the story and not just be a throwaway hook. It finally dawned on me when I was in Monterey, CA with a friend and it was an absolutely gorgeous day. We took our shoes off and walked along the beach, the waves were hitting the shore and I was thinking about just how lucky I am to live in a place like this. I sat down on a bench and just looked out to the ocean for a good thirty minutes and wrote the lyrics down on my phone: “And every wave that hits the shore reminds her of the days before, when sun rays twirled around her hair, the wind blew worries through the air; all grown up still walks the same beaches, the footprints are gone but the child still teaches – her life may not be poster perfect, but she sure is lucky when you scratch the surface”.
What is the concept behind the video for the single?
The inspiration behind the video for “Poster Child of California” was “tableau vivant” that encapsulates the idea of moving posters. We wanted to represent a variety of strong women so we paired unique outfits and looks with significant locations across California – me and my photographer Jani Ugrin went on a 10-day road trip across the state to truly capture its landscape variety.
How were the recording and writing process?
I wrote “Poster Child of California” as an ode to accepting yourself, your story, and being confident in your uniqueness. I wrote it at home on my piano and played around with the production draft for weeks. I then brought it with me in the studio to my producer, Pascal Guyon in LA where we polished it and created a pop song with a late 70s/early 80s funk twist – the most characteristic instrument of the track is the synth that starts it off and serves as a foundation (it sort of reminds me of 80s Sci-Fi films which is kind of fitting since we’re talking about a powerful female superhero of California :). I was also very adamant about adding Phil Collins inspired drum fills (he’s one of my dad’s favorite artists and we love to jam out to “In the Air Tonight” together).
What role does California play in your writing?
I like to think that Slovenia raised me, but California shaped me. It’s given me the freedom to embrace my individuality and broadened my horizons, both in music and life in general. I absolutely love its diversity, forward-thinking, and the constant sharing of ideas, all of which have played their part in making me who I am today. I think it’s inevitable that it’s intimately intertwined with my music – nothing is more honest than writing about deeply personal experiences.
What is it about the 80s that you find so fascinating?
Music-wise, it was the time when musicians and producers really started to take advantage of with the more electronic, un-natural sounds. It was also a time of great creative freedom when pop radio wasn’t as streamlined into one sound as it is today, so it let artists play and experiment with their music. Thematically, it was the era when my parents were the age I am now – I love writing about the experience of growing up, all its beauty, magic, and instability. That correlation with my parents brings a sense of nostalgia and in a way connects our experiences.
How does fashion influence your music and the other way around? Tell us about Too Cool.
I believe the future of music lies in interdisciplinary art, connecting musicians with other artists who share their own interpretations of the music and together create a whole experience for the user/listener. One of my greatest passions besides music is fashion, so I decided to use this knowledge and incorporate it in my NOMAD album and opened my own online store that connects music and fashion (www.toocool.co). I worked with independent designers to create a collection based on the music – each song on the album has a correlating product. For “Poster Child of California”, that’s a pink cap with a star-shaped sunglasses patch – same sunglasses that I wear on the single cover and in the video. You can also see the cap in some of the shots of the music video for the single.
Does the new single mean we can expect new material – how’s that coming along?
There’s lots of new material on the way! I might have a few singles and videos up my sleeve. 🙂
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
The singles will be spread over the next few months – I have some funky summer jams awaiting their release. I’d like to keep the titles and release dates a secret, I believe there’s something more exciting about a surprise release 😉
Any plans to hit the road?
I’m currently hyper-focused on building a presence online. I think the internet is an incredible tool to connect with people all over the world so before I start touring, I want to truly leverage the opportunities there.
What else is happening next in Anja Kotar’s world?
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting on a plane to Boston – I’ll be graduating from Berklee this weekend! I have been able to earn my Bachelor’s in a little over two years. At the same time, I’m also applying for a Master’s at Berklee where I’ll be working on my new album.