STORY WRITTEN BY CRAIG OSTROFF
For Digital First Media
Asked what fans can expect when she performs at Havana in New Hope on May 28, Anna Nalick is quick to respond.
“Costume changes and lots of pyrotechnics,” she says with a laugh. “And we’ll have a big fireworks show afterwards!”
Anyone familiar with Nalick and her introspective, emotive, highly personal music knows that a big spectacle is probably the last thing to expect. Instead, fans can look for the singer/songwriter to make a personal connection with her audience and draw them in with her stories, her melodies and her raw, heartfelt lyrics.
“The shows I’ve been doing the past year have been small, and that’s been a very exciting way to perform because it’s very intimate, which I prefer to the really big shows,” Nalick said during a recent telephone interview from her home in Los Angeles. “Don’t get me wrong, I love a full band in a big arena, but I really like a little venue where I can see everybody and have them laugh at my jokes. I like to get to know my audience and have them really get to know me and my songs. It’s really nice that way.”
Havana will be Nalick’s first stop on a short, five-show-in-five-day East Coast swing. Hard at work on a new album, her first since “Broken Doll & Odds & Ends” in 2011, Nalick decided to get out of the studio for a quick tour to fine tune some of the new material and gauge the audience reactions.
“I had a little bit of time and I missed performing,” she said. “Now that it’s nice and it’s warmer, I wanted to take a little time out of the studio and play some shows. I have some new songs and before I record them, I want to play them live. That gives me the opportunity to get to know the songs.
“People can expect a lot of old songs and a lot of new songs, but the newer ones are the songs I want to perform and get to know, and there’s no better way to write the arrangements in my head than to perform in front of the high energy of the audience. I don’t think the audience knows how much they’re helping me.”
Getting a chance to share her new music is important, Nalick said, because for the new album, she has also taken on producing duties. It only makes sense, she said, since she would know better than anyone else the sound that she is trying to achieve. And though it’s her first attempt at the producing side of the business, she said it’s been surprisingly enjoyable.
“I had produced a few songs with some other producers, and it just didn’t sound like I imagined it would,” she said. “I realized the most effective way to go about it was to produce it myself.
“Honestly, producing isn’t my favorite thing. But my band has been with me for such a long time, more often than not I tell them the emotion I’m looking for and they play what I want to hear. I have no reason to complain; they make it pretty easy on me.”
It only makes sense that Nalick is taking on the lion’s share of building her new album. Writing songs and creating her sound and style have always been intensely personal affairs for Nalick. That approach has led to the creation of enduring songs dripping with honesty and emotion, such as “Breathe (2 AM),” “Satellite,” and “Citadel,” from her debut album “Wreck of the Day,” which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year.
“Being honest, being true to who I am, the things that inspire me – those have never changed,” she said. “I didn’t start from a place where I was worried what people thought. I started from a place of being honest and being true to myself, and that works to my benefit. I get to focus on what’s really important to me and that’s doing honest work and trying to reflect the world around me.”
IF YOU GO
What: Anna Nalick will perform at 8 p.m. May 28
When: Havana, 105 S. Main St., New Hope
Info.: Check www.havananewhope.com or call (215) 862-5501