By Nicholas Jason Lopez
“You’re not famous enough.”
Despite the accolade as a winner of a national talent competition and being signed to a major record label deal afterwards at age 16, it was those four words the label told Anna Thompson that since set her on her own path.
That path has led to the independent Seattle artist’s rise to viral popularity – 100k followers on TikTok, 51.9k followers on Instagram and 13k on Spotify – that almost speaks for itself.
With the release of her recent single “Hot Now,” 2021 shows no sign of stoppage for Thompson, who’s out to show those who doubted her just what she’s capable of.
The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with Thompson about “Hot Now” and more.
Music Bugle – What do you attribute your success on TikTok to, so far?
Anna Thompson – I have a hard time attributing my TikTok success to anything other than luck. It’s definitely not dedication or consistency. A few of my videos got traction, not because I posted everyday or dedicate my time to content creation, but likely because I used the right hashtags and got numbers the algorithm liked and pushed further. I think that’s what makes TikTok such a great tool for lesser known artists. You don’t have to be popular or an “influencer” to get your content in front of a lot of people.
Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your style of music?
Anna Thompson – Pop music is so much fun for me. As much as I love other genres, nothing can give me the energy and confidence pop music does. I love writing it because it’s calculated and structured. I love to sing it because it’s so fantastical and gives me the opportunity to embody another persona.
Music Bugle – What was your goal for “Hot Now”?
Anna Thompson – My goal for “Hot Now” was to empower. I wanted everybody who needed to hear that song, to hear it. I want it to be the record people put on when they need that reminder of how great they are and how far they’ve come. I wrote it to remind myself of that.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Seattle to someone who has never been there before?
Anna Thompson – Seattle is my favorite place in the whole world! I love how green it is. The air is clean. I like it when it rains. I get to hang out on the lake in the Summer and ski in the Winter and my favorite part – you can drink the water straight from the tap.
Music Bugle – What do you struggle with the most in terms of being independent?
Anna Thompson – The hardest part about being independent is the fact that I have to take on a lot of roles, other than that of a musician. I’m my own manager, A&R, publicist and even graphic designer. I’ve edited nearly every cover art photo myself. While this allows me total control over most things, it leaves me with far less time to focus on what’s most important to me, the music itself.
Music Bugle – Did the music video for “Hot Now” come out the way you hoped?
Anna Thompson – Yes! All I wanted was to have a party with a bunch of girls and dance around to my song. The video far exceeded my expectations.
Music Bugle – What has been the hardest thing for you to overcome?
Anna Thompson – The hardest thing for me to overcome is writer’s block. I still don’t know how to move past it. Sometimes, it feels like I’ll never write a good song ever again. It always resolves itself in time, but it often feels hopeless.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Anna Thompson – The pandemic changed my life for the better, I think. Granted, I took safety precautions very seriously and it caused me a lot of anxiety. I didn’t leave my house for nearly four months straight. I learned to like it, eventually. During my time in isolation, I started writing what would become my debut project. I had so much time to reflect and make changes in my life, particularly, who was in it. As stressful as the circumstances were and are, I came out of it the happiest I’d ever been.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Anna Thompson – “Perpetual optimism is a force multiplier.”
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Anna Thompson – So many cool up-and-coming female pop artists! I’ve been loving Remi Wolf, Stela Cole and Emlyn – and as per usual, Ariana Grande.