Southern California is home to a countless number of musicians, but if there is one in particular you need to know about, it is ANORA. You may already be familiar with her through the collaborations she has done with Stick Figure and HIRIE, but if not, allow me the privilege to introduce you to one talented, humble, genuine, and determined singer and songwriter.
Music lovers gather ‘round and welcome ANORA.
I had the opportunity to sit and talk with her about her first solo reggae single titled, “Mama,” discussing her background as a musician and her passion and drive to write meaningful songs with a story. “Mama” releases to the public tomorrow, but you can listen to it exclusively here today.
ANORA is no outsider to reggae music, both as a listener and a musician. She grew up listening to reggae and reminisced with me about how her mom would always have Bob Marley playing when she was growing up. She has always had a deep connection with any and all music and this has led to her versatility as an artist.
When ANORA was 16 years old, she and her sister formed a pop-punk band. As they got older, her sister decided it was time for her to branch out on her own as a musician and ventured into the EDM scene. It was then that ANORA started working on solo songwriting projects.
In 2022, ANORA joined Stick Figure and Walshy Fire on a track titled “Love Me Easy,” which charted on iTunes as the #1 bestselling Reggae song on its first day. She is also featured on HIRIE’s newest album Mood Swing, alongside Chelley and Naomi Cowan on a track titled “Hello.” Independently, ANORA has released a more pop-based single titled “Lovely” that she wrote for her husband. It was through the creative process of these songs where she would begin to find her emotional connection and direction in reggae.
Finding a genre of music that meshed with ANORA was a journey; however, through her positive attitude and grateful mindset, she remains humble and true to herself. She shared with me her ambition as a singer and songwriter: “My goal as a writer is to write something meaningful. I don’t ever want to write something that is inauthentic or not me.”
Now that ANORA has found a place to call home in the reggae scene, she has been releasing her creative flow through a genre she says “curates with my soul” and “resonates with my vibe.” When I asked her to elaborate on her connection with the genre, she enthusiastically expressed, “Reggae is where it’s at. I love the genre. I was always trying to find out where my sound should go. I am really happy with ‘Mama.’ This is where my sweet spot is. This is what I’m going to try and recreate in the future.”
ANORA’s soulful, comforting voice mixes incredibly well with the sound of reggae music. She wrote “Mama” as a gift to her mother to express how much her support and love have always meant to her while encompassing the love and gratitude she has for her family, which she refers to as a blessing.
Listening to ANORA graciously talk about the closeness of her family was really moving. She, her mom, and grandmother have always remained exceptionally tight as ANORA grew up. Anytime the three women were physically apart, they would tell each other, “We are always together in spirit.” These comforting words inspired some of the lyrics in “Mama” that emotionally hit me straight in the heart, in the best way possible. The lyrics go:
One love, one heart, we’ll be together under the stars. Just know I’m not far. I’ll be with you wherever you are.
This verse is a great reminder to all of us that even if we’re physically alone, we’re not alone. I’ve always found it so fascinating that the 8 billion people in the world are under the same sky.
This particular part of the song also resonated with me, because I have a 14-year-old daughter, who is becoming her own person and on a constant search for independence and self-love. When I heard this song for the first time earlier this week, I immediately called my daughter into my room to listen to the song. We both got emotional, and I also pointed out the bridge of the song and asked her to listen carefully. I told my daughter these lyrics are from my heart to hers.
Mama told me you’re not lonely. You’re my baby, don’t you cry. Mama told me don’t you worry. You’re my honey, hold on tight.
ANORA refers to both her mom and grandmother as positive women role models as they provided examples of female empowerment in her life. ANORA is the third child of eight children and often wonders how her mother managed to raise her and her siblings so successfully, especially now having recently become a mother herself.
ANORA’s 7-month-old daughter, Shya, is the love and light in her life. Now fully grasping how challenging parenting can be, her admiration, respect, and gratitude for her mom have multiplied.
“I just think, how did I get so blessed?”said ANORA about her mother, who continues to be a rock for her large family. “My mom, what she’s gone through…My mom has definitely been through it. I had my baby and I’m just like, Mom, how did you do this? This lady has a lot of heart. We are a tight knit family and I feel like it’s because of her efforts, for sure. She definitely wants unity.”
Besides soothing and reassuring lyrics on this track, the flow of the keyboard mixed with the synthesizer and subtle guitar have created a simple yet powerful song. Produced by Stephen Rezza, “Mama” was written by ANORA with “musical development and helpful insight” from Hunter Havokk, for which ANORA expressed her gratitude.
ANORA is currently working on a new song about her grandmother and will be looking to release an EP down the road. Don’t let this beautiful voice pass you by.