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The Anna Shoemaker Experience

Brooklyn-based indie pop artist Anna Shoemaker made her first Chicago appearance this past Thursday, September 29th, opening for Foreign Air. Shoemaker started her musical career with her single “What Am I Doing to Me?” which she released in 2018. Since her initial single, Shoemaker has been steadily creating music including an EP, and 10+ singles. In 2022 she released her Debut album is titled Everything is Fine (I’m Only on Fire), which reflects the explosive emotional journey you hear as you listen to the album. I got to witness the Anna Shoemaker fire on stage at the Chicago venue Beat Kitchen. The space at Beat

Kitchen made the show much more intimate, which was perfect for the way Shoemaker’s music comes together. Her deeply emotional and expressive songs pulled you in, even more, when you were able to be so close with her and the audience. I noticed right off the bat that the indie pop princess was very in tune with her music and her connection to performing. Shoemaker came on stage with herself and her drummer. Meaning that all the attention was placed on her as she stood center stage. Shoemaker being a solo artist, seemed like she understood her role and took it very seriously. The entire set, Anna captivated the audience with her ability to move around with the music and really get herself and the crowd into the music. The free spirit and energetic nature of her dancing and movement the entire night was something that I feel I don’t see in a lot of solo artists, and with her being so new to the scene it was really refreshing to see.

 The overall confidence Shoemaker portrays throughout her performance is so powerful, and is a really big part of why her music comes across so well liked among listeners. Anna spoke with the crowd to start off her set, but she didn’t spend much time waiting to start the show. I really enjoyed how she focused on keeping the experience about the music. Any pauses she took in between to address the crowd and introduce songs felt very intentional each time, and she got to the point very quickly. Despite working what seemed like a very well oiled machine, Anna kept the experience very light and did not seem forced or strict at any moment, everything that she did seemed to be very second nature to her. The entire show, the way she performs, you can tell that being on stage performing is where she belongs. Anna brought out some of her biggest hits during the set. Performing her songs “If You’re Going (I’ll Go),” “It’s Depression (feat. Middle Part)” and “I’

m Your Guy.” Overall, her songs were so easy to enjoy in a live performance. “If You’re Going ( I’ll Go)” holds up incredibly as you hear it live. Its upbeat pop nature mixed with the dreamy vocals is right on par to what Noah Cyrus does. The song that stuck with me the most was absolutely her song “Until I Die” from her album Everything is Fine ( I’m Only on Fire).

“Until I die” has everything I want in a rage filled pop song. The chorus is dramatic and to a point, and her repetitive rhyme scheme makes the whole thing have a rougher edge than some of the other songs she played. She incorporates some of those dreamy vocals into this song which is something she executes so well throughout all of her music. Anna commands an audience with the confidence of a well produced pop star, and based on the performance she gave here in Chicago, she is going to go far. I got the chance to ask Anna Shoemaker herself some questions about her experience with music and this tour and she had a few things to say. What I found the most interesting after our discussion, was how much anxiety Anna has around performing and being vulnerable with her audience. Despite my perceptions of the natural confidence Anna portrays in her act as a solo artist, she still deals with a lot of the stressors that come with performing. I asked Shoemaker about some of the most compelling parts of having a career in music, “…  it never really gets easier to be vulnerable.” Something that a lot of people can relate to. Anna explains how she expected that she would get much more comfortable sharing her music, the more music she put out. But she still struggles with being vulnerable. It really makes sense that she is figuring out how to deal with the vulnerability of putting your life into your art. For Anna, a lot of what makes her music so relatable for her audience, is that she pours her lived experiences and the feelings surrounding those moments into her music.

After seeing Anna perform live, it was incredible to see how contradictory the feelings she has towards sharing music are to the way she performs. Anna has an electric confidence while performing, and a natural ability to seem so sure of herself and the music she creates. She comes off very open and ready to perform and to share her experiences with the world.  Anna’s music is highly emotional and completely reflective of her own life, so I wanted to know more about the process of how she decides what to write her music about. She had a conversation about how she lets her own feelings dictate what she is going to write about. That sort of go with the flow nature, seems very beneficial to her songwriting process, and can even bleed into the music itself. “I think there’s a lot to be learned from decisions you’ve made and things you’ve experienced in the past though even if you’ve moved on from it— time and reflection always brings a lot of clarity.”  Being able to hear this from Anna really just encapsulates the power and reflection she brings to her music. She is an incredibly deep thinker and has a really healthy outlook on the experiences we have and what we can do with them. For Anna, she has taken those experiences and has chosen to bring new light to each story. I think that the things Anna Shoemaker is choosing to do, and the music she is choosing to put out, are going to help her receive the attention and fame that it deserves. So get ready to be seeing a lot more of Anna Shoemaker from now on. You can listen to Anna Shoemaker on Spotify, Apple Music, Youtube, and Soundcloud. Or check her out live as she finishes off touring with Foreign Air.

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