Born and raised in Tel Aviv, of Indian and Iranian parents, Israeli singer-songwriter VANNA has been dropping several singles with an aim to release them all as her debut EP.
Titled High Hopes, the EP will be released at the end of 2020 and chronicles VANNA’s journey as a musician and as a person.
We recently got in touch with the singer-songwriter to find out more about the EP, the challenges she’s faced as a musician due to the coronavirus, and if she still has hope.
Hey there VANNA! Let’s start with your stage name. What does VANNA mean?
Vanna is my last name. It’s my dad’s last name from India.
Can you share with us how your journey into music began?
My music journey started when I was 16. My older brother is a guitarist so I wanted to play a guitar like him. Then I just sang covers and I was really shy for so many years so I just sang in my room. At the age of 20 I decided that I need to go to music school to meet musicians and to write my own music and not just covers. It was a really hard time for me these 2 years in music school because I was really anxious to sing in front of others, but yeah, it was a cool challenge to get me out of my comfort zone. Since then it’s been a long journey of almost 10 years of me in the studio recording and trying to overcome my stage fright.
For so many years I avoided performing because of my stage fright and I was a bit overwhelmed with how to make it with my music. I had a vision for myself: I know I want to make music professionally but I know I need to do it slowly because of my anxiety, so I was patient. So my journey was slow, and it was an inner journey, and a few months ago I started to take one step forward and to be out there with my music.
Your song comes at a time when the world appears devoid of hope. How have you been coping with the pandemic and what have you been up to, to keep your own hopes up?
It’s been a really stressful period, at least at the beginning. To be honest I was really anxious about it, especially worrying about my parents because they were in the high risk group. So the first 2 weeks of the lockdown I was just in a bad anxiety loop. After 2 weeks I realised I just needed to stop watching the news. I realise it’s something bigger than us, and I was trying to embrace the quality time with my loved ones at home and to send small gifts to the people I love and didn’t see for a while because of the lockdown.
You were supposed to go on a tour during the fall of 2020. How much of your plans have been disrupted because of this pandemic?
Yeah it was supposed to be a cool period to start being out there with my music so I am a bit disappointed that my fall tour would be canceled. I already canceled one concert which was supposed to happen in April 2020, but seriously it’s such a crazy period to so many people so I need to take it in the right perspective. It took me 10 years to feel ready to put my music out there so one more year of creating music won’t be the worst thing. I’m just thankful and happy I’ve started to release my music.
It took you three years to create this EP. Can you share some of the challenges you faced and how you kept your hopes up?
I learned a lot these 3 years of creating this ep. I think it can be separated into 2 main aspects and periods. There are the artistic challenges and the criticism you have towards yourself as an artist during this process and then there is this part of, ok I have an EP and it’s ready. OMG. What am I supposed to do now? How do I promote it? How do I design it? So I think that for a lot of artists the big challenge starts after you finished recording everything. So I had this EP ready for one year while I was overwhelmed with “what am I supposed to do now”, and for me that’s the hardest part. Because during the 3 years of creating the EP I did what I love- I created music in the studio with my producer.
But after we finished I felt lost so it took me one year to organize my thoughts, to meet more cool people that will support my art. I think that for me it was easier to be surrounded by my best friends that are always there to support and help in so many ways and to be a part of my art for so many years, and also to remember to be patient and enjoy the process of creating music.
I understand the tracks from the EP will be released in batches. When will we be able to enjoy the EP as a whole?
Yeah, I Have 5 songs in this EP. We released 2 already and we have 3 more to go. All the songs will be released by the end of 2020.
Some people have differing views on hope. Some see it as a way to remain optimistic while others see hope as something that deludes people. What’s your view on hope?
I think Hope is a natural survival instinct we have as humans. While some of us has more or less. I think it’s important to find the right balance that fits you. For me “hope” means to find your quiet place in your heart, to be less stressed about things, and to be patient about things but at the same time to stay realistic and to be in motion to change things in your life.
What sort of moments in life gives you hope and serve as inspiration for your music?
I get inspired from both the low and good moments in life, and also from people. So I’m just trying to be with my heart and mind open, to be able to get inspired by people or simple moments in life or low moments.
It’s a dark period for many people. What’s one message you wish to share with those of our readers who might be going through challenging times?
I think it’s really a stressful period for all of us in so many aspects, it’s difficult to be with no control in the midst of so much uncertainty regarding the pandemic issue. So for me, I think it was hard for me at first to let go of staying in a bad anxiety loop, and now I just try and take things day by day and to focus energy on the things that I can control in these hard times, like creating music and making video calls with the people I care and love.
*** All images, including cover image were supplied by VANNA.