Annastasia Baker may not straddle solely in the R&B/Soul genre, but better believe she’s as talented as many of the artists coming from the UK. The burgeoning singer-songwriter is a Gospel/Inspiration vocal powerhouse, infused with a touch of pop and contemporary R&B. Baker received countrywide attention as a contestant on the X Factor UK, but she was rewarded with a big career lift after winning the 3rd series of Time2Shine, UK’s biggest televised gospel talent show (basically the Sunday Best of the U.S.). Taking full advantage of her newfound fame, the Gospel Touch Music Awards recipient and MOBO award nominee is readying her debut album, You Turn, which is led by the first single “Pass It On,” featuring BET’s Sunday Best winner, Joshua Rogers.
Get to know Annastasia Baker and check out the music video for “Pass It On” below:
Lets' talk about your debut album, You Turn; Explain the creative process for this album?
My Debut Album "You Turn" is a product of my life experiences so far; emotions of laughter, pain, perseverance and faith all bottled up into an album. I am really pleased that I could have a lot of input into the album creating process rather than have songs given to me to sing. The brief with my songwriting team was to create an album that came from the heart and with lyrics that were sincere, so I dug deep, shared my stories and we wrote. I only had one feature on my album, which is by the amazing U.S. based artist Joshua Rogers on one of my favorite tracks called "Pass it On". With this being my debut album, I wanted to tell the story myself rather than having loads of features. It took 9 amazing months to write, record and produce my album. I must say, I love the recording studio as much as I love the stage. My favorite song has to be a song called "Forgive". I had to really dig deep for that one, and I feel that the sentiment of the song resonates with us all.
What was it like working with Sunday Best winner Joshua Rogers on the album? Did you reach out to him or vice versa? Also, tell us about the single.
It was brilliant working with Joshua Rogers. We met in London when he came down for a gig and really got on. He is an amazing vocalist and a real gentleman. In the UK, I won the biggest gospel TV show called Time2Shine and with Joshua being the winner of the biggest gospel show in the US, we thought that it would be amazing to bridge the border gap and feature on a track together. We recorded the song and then during my U.S. tour last year, shot the music video in Atlanta. The song is really about sharing love… Pass it on!
Based on your personal and professional experiences performing on X Factor UK, what have you learned from being on the show? Did you get in tune with your strengths and weaknesses as a singer?
My entire X Factor journey was a learning experience. It was an insight into the ups and downs of being an artist. The importance of believing in your ability and how do deal with criticism both constructive and otherwise. I definitely came out stronger from the experience.
Now, I know you won the UK gospel talent competition, Time2shine. What was your first reaction when you won and would you say the show gave you more exposure and visibility as an artist?
I was really shocked to win Time2Shine. I had always come so close to almost winning or getting to the next stage or signing a record deal, etc., throughout my life and I felt that I always fell just short. This time it was different; I won!!! I decided at that point that for the rest of my life, in everything I do, whether in music or not, I had to be a winner! Since I won Time2Shine, I've had a lot of exposure… It has been brilliant! On the X Factor, people saw my infant stages as an artist, but Time2Shine was where the artist Annastasia Baker was born. The real me, refined with all my life experiences and ready to go. The last year has been an amazing roller coaster, I was nominated for a MOBO award in the UK, sold out my headline concert at the Jazz Cafe in London, performed in Barbados as well as a 4 city tour in America. I am really looking forward to the next chapter.
There are so many musical genres to choose from, and you chose gospel? Was becoming a gospel singer a life-long dream for you?
I don't think music should be defined by genre… But I appreciate that we have to put a label on it. My music is from the heart and very relatable. In fact, with some tracks, you wouldn't know it was Gospel unless I told you. I did grow up in the church, so naturally my music inspires, encourages and motivates… I guess that’s what Gospel music does!
With contributions from Dominique Carson