Anna Vaus is The California Kid. “I’m guilty as charged when it comes to writing songs about where I come from,” says the Poway, CA native. “It’s made me who I am. So many different experiences have shown me the ups & downs, the lights & darks of growing up. Although, I haven’t turned all of those into songs, the ones I do are the truth.” Vaus’ deep connection with her home state combined with an ever-growing passion for evolving country music made Nashville the perfect place for her roots to find wings.
First-Ever Miranda Lambert Scholarship Awarded
Miranda Lambert's inaugural Women Creators scholarship has been awarded to a very promising student at Belmont…
First-ever Miranda Lambert Women Creators scholarship award winner. How has Lambert’s music inspired your songwriting?
I’ve always been a fan of Miranda Lambert. Growing up, I thought of Miranda as an incredible artist. As I’ve spent more and more time in Nashville I’ve heard a lot of stories about what an amazing writer she is. To me, that is so inspiring because I want to be that kind of artist. She takes the craft of writing very seriously and I think she writes from a very honest perspective. I appreciate that as a singer/songwriter and as a young woman.
“one girl yeehaw version of Haim no one asked for.” How has Haim (the three sister American pop rock band from Los Angeles) influenced your sound?
I first saw Haim open for Taylor Swift on the 1989 tour and at the time I was too busy trying not to hyperventilate over the fact that I was seeing Taylor Swift play a show in Nashville, ha! It wasn’t until I saw them cover a Shania Twain song online that I really fell in love with their music. I grew up loving country music but also can’t deny the fact that I grew up in California where pop music ruled the airwaves. When I heard Haim’s blend of shimmery acoustic guitars with cool syncopated phrasing, I identified with it as both a country and a pop fan. To me, their music and their fanbase are a testament to the fact that there are people out there that will enjoy good music regardless of genre. I feel like I look at country music and think “I don’t totally fit in that box” and I look at pop music and think “Well I don’t totally fit in that box either.” so their music is a really cool form of encouragement to me.
Nashville Association of Independent Music Publishers’ (AIMP) Songwriter Series, being named an up-and-coming songwriter in the indie publishing community. What was the first song you wrote for Black River Publishing?
I actually had to look this up because I couldn’t quite remember but it was actually a song called “Cowboys Ride Away”… it’s literally *just okay.* I think the only people that have heard it are myself and my publisher and that’s very fine with me.
ON THE HEELS OF CMT'S HIGHEST RATINGS IN FOUR YEARS, THE NETWORK REVEALS "NEXT WOMEN OF COUNTRY"…
ON THE HEELS OF CMT'S HIGHEST RATINGS IN FOUR YEARS, THE NETWORK REVEALS "NEXT WOMEN OF COUNTRY" CLASS OF 2019 AND…
music | Anna Vaus - "Day Job" | Music Videos S, E
In this music video directed by Jacob Vaus, Anna Vaus performs
Can you describe how it felt to see your video for “Day Job” the first time on CMT?
I mean it was absolutely so cool. The first time that I saw it I was actually out writing with one of my friends (and also an amazing artist), Abby Anderson, who was on tour with Brett Eldredge at the time. I got up early one morning and turned on the TV on the bus on our way to the next venue and watched it. It was very surreal, especially because I filmed/edited it with my younger brother, Jake. I’m so thankful to CMT for giving new artists like myself, and creators like my brother, a platform to share art. That is the greatest gift I could ever ask for.
Co-writing “Lightning in a Bottle” with Hannah Ellis. Carly Pearce recorded the song for her self-titled, second album. Did the songwriting start with an idea or a melody?
Hannah actually brought in the title “Lightning in a Bottle” and said “My boyfriend said he didn’t want to write this title so I thought we could write a great song and prove him wrong.” Aaaand I would say we did! (We give him a hard time about that now).
“Lightning in a Bottle” is really special to me because two female artists wrote the song, another female artist (Savana Santos from Avenue Beat) did the demo, and then to top it off another female artist (the incredible Carly Pearce) cut it. It’s very bad ass.
Shakespeare, MacBeth, the plague. Have you written any songs that are quarantine inspired?
I have written a few! Towards the beginning of quarantine I didn’t spend much time writing because I really thought it would be a one and done, two-week lockdown and things would be back to normal. So I took the time to re-fill my creative tank… and then the conversation became “It’s looking like writes, shows, etc are going to be cancelled for the rest of the year.” At that point I was really discouraged. I wrote my new song “In Bloom” just before the world shut down, it was never a song about quarantine, but now it’s become my light at the end of the tunnel 2021 song. I am starting to feel the world open back up again in different ways, be them big or small, and “In Bloom” feels like the theme to that.
Your band recording “Gentle on My Mind” together (apart). Favorite Glen Campbell song to cover and why?
“Gentle on My Mind” is definitely my favorite Glen Campbell song. That’s just such a beautiful song and a sweet way to nod to a relationship. When I went to record the vocal for the cover my band and I did from our own homes, I got choked up because I just miss making music in the same room together so much. So when I hear “Gentle On My Mind” now I think of how the every one in the band and every person in every venue is gentle on my mind for now… and we’ll be together soon.
Joshua Tree National Park, home to two desert ecosystems (Mojave, Colorado). Where else have you found ‘thin space’ (as your family refers to places “where the distance between where your feet are and where Heaven starts is so thin you could reach out and it with your own hands”)?
This question is GREAT because it’s a deep reference to an Instagram post and I just feel the need to express my appreciation. When I think of thin space, the first place I think of is Highland County, Virginia. My family has a farmhouse there and I grew up spending pretty much some part of every summer there. There’s absolutely no cell service, internet, or TV so you’re completely disconnected from the world other than through a landline. It’s magical.
“In Bloom.” What is the backstory to your new song?
I wrote “In Bloom” with Oscar Charles and Scott Stepakoff about the end of a relationship and how finding myself again really felt like going through the changes of the seasons. We wrote it about a week before a tornado devastated Nashville and COVID-19 numbers were growing. Oscar is an amazing producer and had a really cool track worked up the day of, so I sang a vocal and left really not thinking much of it. As the months have passed, “In Bloom” more and more becomes my 2021 anthem. That’s what ultimately led me to want to release it on a total whim. I wanted to give fans something to dance to in their own bedroom apartment with their cats while they wait for the metaphorical storm of 2020 pass. That’s at least what I’ll be doing. ;)
Promoting new music as the pandemic intensifies. How will you connect with fans while apart?
All of the ways. I really enjoy going live and playing my own songs and some of my favorite artist’s songs on TikTok. It’s just really fun. I feel like I’m hanging out with my best friends in my living room.
Douglas Corner Café closed, where you met songwriters and played your first proper Nashville show. How will pandemic venue closures and other changes impact the post-covid country music scene in Nashville for independent artists?
It’s immeasurable. Beyond how it has changed opportunities available to artists in general, it has changed lives. It impacts band members, sound and lighting crews, venue owners, managers, agents, you name it. Thankfully, Nashville is one of the most resilient cities and it values its people. I have no doubt that we’ll come together as a city to help support the music community in every way we can just like we did to help North and East Nashville after the devastation of the tornado.
The BEST Butternut Squash Soup Recipe! | Gimme Some Oven
Truly the best butternut squash soup recipe…
Cheese. Wine. Bread (sourdough). Can you share a favorite comfort food recipe you’ve made during quarantine?
Butternut squash soup (Gimme Some Oven’s recipe) and sourdough bread (my best friend’s mom is my sourdough sensei) have saved my life in quarantine.
The pandemic, nature walks, Matilija poppy. What is one thing you will continue to do once the world opens back up?
Taking the time to breathe. I love the balance that I have right now in life. There’s time to sit and drink coffee in the morning, write a song, play around on the piano, and then cook a good meal for dinner at night. I really enjoy the pace of things and want to take a little bit of that stillness with me into 2021 as things start to pick back up.