ANNNA: ‘People have no idea what their €2 T-Shirt is doing to the planet’

Latvia’s selection process “Supernova” consists this year of a one-shot final in Riga on February 8th, and we have 9 lucky finalists competing to become the Latvian entry for the Eurovision Song Contest in May. One of the 9 is 25 year old Anna Madara Pērkone, known as ANNNA who is singing her self-written entry “Polyester” which warns of the horrific realities of fast fashion.

We were lucky enough to grab a few moments with ANNNA to chat about her career, her song, and her life in the Netherlands!

ANNNA, hi and welcome to Supernova! You are a Latvian living in Amsterdam, tell us how you ended up there?
Hehey, I’m indeed a Latvian living in Amsterdam, however, at the moment I already consider myself an “Amsterdammer” since I’ve got two homes – Latvia and The Netherlands, but I do not truly belong to either of the sides. I went to the Netherlands in order to study when I was 17 years old, then, I started working in a couple of advertising agencies in Amsterdam, and even worked as a music producer in one incredible agency for advertising & film until October 2019. Meanwhile, I’ve always been in a band or working on my own music, either in Amsterdam or touring around Colombia in a tiny 4×4 car with my previous band, MADARA.

Your song for Supernova “Polyester” is a clever piece of social awareness about the fashion industry and the environmental impact of our quest for cheap clothing. Is this something you have wanted to write about for a while?
Yes, definitely. I own my own organic fashion brand, https://masa.organic which is also where I produce my own organic & sustainable merchandise. Somehow, all the music I write is about themes that either bother me or just make me emotional. Polyester is about the fast fashion industry, which is the second most polluting industry in the world. Some people have no idea what their 2 euro T shirt is doing to the planet, the people and everyone involved. To me, it’s amazing to get that instagram message of someone saying “Hey, today I went in the store, and instead of buying that polyester jumper, I chose a recycled polyester one”. It makes me so so proud

Was this written with Supernova in mind, or was this a lucky coincidence?
It was quite a conscious coincidence 🙂 “Polyester” to me is not just a song I wrote for Eurovision, it’s the third song of my upcoming EP that will come out in May. My whole aim in taking part at the Supernova selection, was to be myself: wear second hand clothes onstage and keep on dancing in that exact same way how I would do it in any other concert. 
Also, I’m a huge fan of Mahmood’s song “Soldi” that came second last year. His performance, career and attitude has really inspired me to take part in Eurovision, and that’s exactly how I’d like to continue with my track

I’ve had a great time researching your previous releases, I particularly like “The One That Got Away” which was a hit for you in your native Latvia! What would you say your musical influences are?
Thank you for the nice words, “The One That Got Away” was really my first song that entered the Latvian territory. I’m so happy with that song and every time I have to perform it, I enter this nice, dreamy state
Maybe you won’t hear it directly in my music (since I don’t really reference anyone literally), but I’m a huge Radiohead, Empire of the Sun and Sam Smith fan. I also admire how Lana Del Rey and Michael Kiwanuka have brought completely fresh new styles and influences to the modern music industry.

You have just returned from appearing in the enormous ESNS 2020 festival in Groningen, Netherlands, which had around 300 acts appearing over 4 days. How was that experience?
Incredible, for the first time we had a full house- people waiting in a line outside in the cold in order to get in our show! That’s incredible, I even had some people sing ALL the lyrics of my previous releases in the audience. We had such a blast, so many lights, friends, love and so much impact.
I’ve been in all the biggest Dutch news sites, radios and television shows for the past week (and it’s still going on every day). It’s amazing how much the Dutch audience seem to love my story, the fact that a Latvian , living in Amsterdam, might have a chance to go to the Eurovision final !

There were some names there that are very familiar to Eurovision fans, such as Blanche (BEL 2017) and Duncan Lawrence, winner from 2019, I guess you didn’t get a chance to get a few tips from them?
Not yet, I did go to a small tiny acoustic show/story telling evening by Duncan last September which was an amazing experience, as well as I went to see his incredible show at Eurosonic. Also, turns out that my band’s rehearsal space where we have spent almost every weekend the past year, is also the place where Duncan’s band as well as this year’s Dutch representative, Jeangu Macrooy was rehearsing! So I’m definitely influenced by positive karma vibes 🙂

Obviously the winner of Supernova will go on to represent Latvia at the Eurovision Song Contest, is this a goal of yours? Is Eurovision something that you usually watch?
It is definitely a dream goal to go to the final. Every year, me and my friends to organize the “The Eurovision Watching” dinner party. It’s so much fun, and everytime someone gets 12 points, we do something funny. Eurovision just seems like such a fun, loving event. Last week I got to meet all the other Supernova finalists in Latvia, and already during that one day we spent together, I felt all the great vibes.
Going to the final would be incredible, it would be a chance for me to get my message heard to so many more people. If that happens, I’ll start my own sustainable fashion initiative and with each sale of my organic “Polyester” T shirts, people will be able to donate in order to help make the fashion industry at least a little better.

The line up for Supernova is so strong this year, we already know that the number of songs reaching the final had to be increased from 8 to 9 to accommodate the quality of the entries.  What are your thoughts on the songs you’ll be competing against in Riga on February 8th?
I definitely have some very strong competition, but I’m very happy that each entry is so different. So many music styles, performances and emotions. 8th of February will be a fun evening!

What are the rest of your plans for 2020, do you have any concerts lined up?
I will release my first big EP in May (woohoo) which will hopefully lead me to a full summer of concerts and festivals. Next week I’m going to Barcelona’s W Hotel Suites studios in order to record some of my tracks with the Amsterdam Dance Event’s team, MixMag Magazine and Dave Clarke which is unbelievable. Also, I’ll be releasing some great collaboration tracks together with some incredible Amsterdam DJ’s and producers. So there’s a lot on the table, and I can’t wait to perform my next show!

Sounds like ANNNA has some great stuff in store for the rest of the year, which we will follow with interest! Thank you so much for your time, and we will see you on the 8th!

Watch ANNNA’s song “Polyester” here, or listen to the studio version via this Spotify link

Don’t forget to vote in our poll for YOUR winner of Supernova 2020!

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