Los Angeles-based R&B/Pop artist Annalé is a gifted entertainer with an arsenal of musical talents. Born in New York and raised in South Korea, she received early exposure to music; her father is an active orchestral conductor/composer in South Korea, and her mother is a professional organist. Annalé began playing the piano at the tender age of 4 years old and was one of seven students to receive the 5-year Presidential Scholars scholarship at Berklee College of Music. Majoring in Contemporary Writing & Production and Vocal Performance, Annalé was constantly surrounded by top tier musicians from around the world; which assisted in sharpening her musical and performance skills.
Fast-forward to the present, Annalé’s latest single, ‘Roses,’ is climbing Billboard’s Urban Adult Contemporary Charts, and her debut album is dropping soon. We caught up with the rising musician, and she shared some of her progress including working and performing with Mint Condition’s Stokley Williams, her likes & dislikes, her love for soul music, and more.
Tell us about yourself as an individual…likes, dislikes, etc.
I’m very easy going and chill. But when it comes to work, I’m a perfectionist and very hard-working. Other than music, I love traveling, eating good food, watching TV/movies and playing board games with friends. I despise LA traffic, spicy food, cold weather, humid weather, bugs…lol.
How and where did you develop your love for music?
My parents are both musicians, so I was always exposed to music since I was in my mom’s womb. I started out with classical music by playing the piano at the age of 4 but eventually grew to love contemporary music in middle school. My sister gave me a small mp3 player that could fit like 20 songs and I only knew to listen to pop/rock and whatever was on the radio. And then in high school, when I found some early 2000’s R&B music, I loved it so much. I loved the groove, harmony, and melody in all the R&B songs I found and tried so hard to find more songs like it. Then I eventually started singing along and LOVED learning to sing all the songs. I found karaoke versions on YouTube and sang my heart out. But in high school, I didn’t even know “Neo-Soul” existed. It wasn’t until I got to Berklee that I was exposed to Neo-Soul, more old school R&B, and Funk. While attending Berklee, I was exposed and introduced to all the R&B/Soul artists that I’m influenced by and look up to now. It’s where I came to truly love R&B/Soul.
How would you explain your musical sound? What artist(s) or person(s) inspires you? Does your Korean background play a role?
It’s a perfect blend of Neo-Soul, R&B, and pop. There are so many artists that I look up to that also inspire me. Jill Scott, Brian McKnight, Erykah Badu, Floetry, John Legend, India.Arie, Dwele, Musiq Soulchild, Lalah Hathaway… so many. Their music is how I fell in love with R&B/Soul. My Korean background definitely plays a role because I also wanna cater to my Korean fans. I would say some of the tracks on my album has some pop elements to it that Koreans would love.
From childhood to your education at Berklee, you’ve received an extensive amount of musical training and development. Do you credit that for your current success?
Oh yes, definitely! I wouldn’t call it a “current success” though but rather a “current progress” lol. No matter where I am, I believe I always have room to grow and develop as a singer/musician day by day. But because of my deep foundation/knowledge in music theory, the musical ear that I’ve been developing since very young and being a well-rounded musician, who can sing, write, arrange, produce, etc., It makes me a musician/artist, rather than just an entertainer.
Did you actually record with Stokley Williams? If so, how was that experience?
Yes! I have a track on my album that Stokley produced and is also featured on. We weren’t physically together during the recording session, but we had a FaceTime session where he produced me vocally and got to listen in while I was recording. Everything ran smoothly, and we finished recording in one day. Then, he actually flew into LA to sing with me at the Los Angeles Korean Festival, which was so much fun. Such an honor and pleasure to work with a legend like Stokley! I’m forever grateful and will never forget the experience.
What will fans learn about you and take from your forthcoming debut album?
The album will have a total of 8 different songs and two more that will be Korean versions of two tracks. If “Roses” was considered neo-soul/R&B, there will be songs that have more pop elements, R&B/ballad, R&B/Funk and even an intimate/acoustic song. Every song has its own style/character; it’s a nice blend/variety of styles as a whole. Even though each song is pretty different from one another, they make sense as a collection. So I consider the style of my album as a perfect blend of Neo-Soul, R&B, and pop.
What’s been rewarding about your time making music? What would you like to forget?
Working so hard to write/record every line and every harmony, then seeing everything come together in production at the end is so rewarding. Also, having the pleasure to work with so many amazingly talented musicians/writers/producers and seeing everyone come together as a team through music is such a good feeling. Not sure what to forget… Every experience, whether good or bad, is so valuable and I’m able to learn from all the mistakes.
Watch the music video for the beautiful single, ‘Roses.’