ANNIKA is no stranger to the world of Canadian country music. Some may know her as part of the duo, Leaving Thomas who closed their chapter together in 2020.
ANNIKA has been working on her solo-project, and has had two “twingle” releases, with “It Still Hurts” and “I Really Don’t Want To” hitting the airwaves in May, and “Love Looks Like You” and “Encore” featuring Brett Kissel in late September.
I got to chat with ANNIKA about all things life, music, and more!
Five Questions with Country Artist ANNIKA
1. What would you say is your biggest motivation to continue to build on your work as an artist?
“It’s so special as an artist that we get to create music that captures what we’re doing in our life at a given time.”
ANNIKA is grateful that as a songwriter and musician, getting to have this musical time capsule of the moments in her life is pretty incredible. She’s motivated in a way, to create and record in that time and in that moment. When she looks back in ten years, she can have this artistic project that is full of memories.
2. If you weren’t a singer-songwriter, what do you think you’d be doing for work?
While ANNIKA has a degree in Accounting, that’s not exactly the path she’d be on if she weren’t a musician.
“I have always loved travelling, I’ve been to 84 countries, I’d be a travel vlogger or a travel guide. Something that involves travelling and showing other people the world.”
3. What are some of the barriers you’ve had to overcome as you’ve built your career?
ANNIKA always knew she wanted to get married, become a mom, and have a big family. It’s always a challenge balancing work and personal life in the music industry. As a female country singer with your personal life, it’s really difficult. Balancing the demands of the schedule in this field of work has been a barrier, but the pandemic allowed her to breathe and focus on building her family.
Congratulations to ANNIKA and her husband on the birth of their first child this summer!
4. What advice do you have for young women pursuing a career in music that you wish you were given?
“First and foremost, don’t get caught in the mould that industry members might try to put you in”
ANNIKA is encouraging of all women looking to pursue a career in the music industry to really be yourself and stay authentic to you. You’d be surprised, but you will be more successful if you remain authentic. You do have to actively make that effort to remain true to yourself, as it can be easy to follow in another’s footsteps or start to do things because it’s trending.
“Sometimes we have this idea of what it looks like to be a successful woman in country music and I think there is room for you to create your unique identity.”
Another thing ANNIKA really encourages is to focus on the long-term; being successful is outlasting other people, not hitting your peak in two years and that being it.
“I would love to have a career that lasts 30 years, not hit the top and be done in two, you know?”
Finally, don’t be discouraged because you’re not taking leaps and bounds. Take baby steps and let yourself experience the process. But at the same time, ANNIKA really wants to emphasize that your career can’t be everything about you.
“Don’t let it become everything. You need to have family experiences and travel. Don’t let it overtake everything; let it be a piece of the pie.”
5. Your solo-project is in full flight. What do you want listeners to know about the music you’re releasing?
“I would like listeners to know that this music showcases a different side of me”
On social media and with Leaving Thomas, ANNIKA was quite a bit younger and at a different stage in her life. She likes to show a silly side of herself and isn’t afraid to be goofy, because that’s a part of her. Writing is a space where she’s able to express herself creatively, and she’s really utilized this to show a more introspective side and a mature side.
“You really are following me on my journey and are getting to listen to songs as my life changes and as I’ve gone through these things. I hope they enjoy seeing this different side of me that I haven’t shared before.”
More About ANNIKA
ANNIKA was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta, and still lives in her hometown on the same block where she grew up. She now lives there with her husband Spencer, who is a music producer.
ANNIKA grew up in a musical family. As the youngest of five kids, she and each of her siblings all took piano. She started piano and violin when she was four years old, and began voice lessons at the age of ten. She lived in the world of classical music for a long time and that’s why her music always has the piano or some classical element interwoven.
She’s always had a raspy low voice, and while her dream was to be on Broadway, she just had too low of a voice. She learned young that she had to start songwriting for herself, so she picked up writing songs at thirteen.
She followed her dream of being a singer, but also got her accounting degree at the same time. After graduation she was an entertainer on a cruise ship for five year.
ANNIKA fell into country music when she started playing and writing with her friend Bryton … her partner in the former duo, Leaving Thomas. She had grown up listening to country music but never thought of herself as a country singer until the music they wrote naturally fell into the country genre.
After Leaving Thomas played their final show in January 2020, ANNIKA began her solo project and spent all of 2020 writing. That’s also when she became pregnant.
“We were writing, recording, making babies, it was a busy time!”
Her goal is to bring soul, blues, and piano back to country music and her classical background, paired with her natural country sound is exactly how she’s doing it.
She’s always been inspired by Shania Twain. “She really broke the boundaries of country music and inspired a generation of women to make their country music whatever they wanted it to be.” She’s also a fan of Motown. ANNIKA loves Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight, and is inspired by singer-songwriters like Elton John, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, and Carole King.