Anna Lee is storming the Dance music scene recently, but we know it is sometimes hard to keep your finger firmly on the pulse in the digital world of music.
Representing the iconic label Abstraction Records, Anna has forthcoming works in the next few months for us all to look forward to. We caught up with her to introduce the artist to those who don’t know her, and give more information to those who already do!
T.H.E – Hey! What’s going on in the world of Anna?
Anna Lee – The following is going on in my world – before anything, I am passionate traveller. I travel a lot, see a lot, and talk to many people: getting to know the world from different angles. All of this is very inspiring and gives me ideas for new music, since I spend a lot of time in the studio. Additionally, I organize club events and festivals. I run a few different club and radio projects, all of which are aimed at making Trance music more popular. Recently, I’ve became a part of the Abstraction Records team. You could say that I am fully inspired, full of power and hopes for victories that lie ahead.
T.H.E – Where about are you based?
Anna Lee – At the present time, I live in Ukraine, in a city called Kiev. I came here a very long time ago from Latvia’s capital city, Riga, where I was born and lived for a little while. Historically, it has come to be that I needed to move to Ukraine, where I began my career as an artist, and created a large trance community. I’ve been working at making Trance popular in Ukraine for a very long time, and have conducted quite a few successful events such as “Open Space by Anna Lee”, “Club Styles Fest” and others. At the moment, many Ukrainians hold me for one of their own, without even knowing that I’m originally from Latvia.
T.H.E – How long have you been working in the Dance music scene? And how did it all
Anna Lee – It began a long time ago: the 90’s. For a few years, I’ve accumulated money, working as an office manager, in order to build up a great music collection (vinyl), buy necessary professional equipment, DJ headphones, and so on. When that finally happened, I began to literally storm the city’s nightclubs. It was very hard to get a job at a nightclub as a DJ for me, because they would only hire male DJs, and before me, a female DJ was something unheard of. As time passed I kept trying, and finally, got a job at one of Kiev’s nightclubs. Later, in 1996 I was officially presented as the first female DJ in Ukraine. A year after that, upon winning a DJ contest, I got a job at a bigger nightclub, and just a little later, I was invited to be a resident at yet another, but very popular club. Of course, by that time I had already developed my musical style and began to receive invites to play in different cities of Ukraine and even different countries. Everything started with a strong determination and the wanting to become a DJ.
T.H.E – Describe your sound in three words!
Anna Lee – Rapid, determined, melodic.
T.H.E – Who were your influences as you got in to Dance music?
Anna Lee – At first, the biggest influences on me were Westbam, Marusha, and Dr. Motte. Later I discovered Carl Cox, Sasha and of course, Tiesto, who is responsible for changing my music world upside down. I really wanted to be a part of the Dance music scene and, of course, play this music in clubs.
T.H.E – What have been your career highlights so far?
Anna Lee – It was very difficult for me to get to where I am now. Nobody waited for me or expected me anywhere. At first, people were looking down on me as a person of “second sort” because I am a woman and not a man. I had to really prove to people that I am a good DJ, and I worked hard on that for years. Finally, all the hard work paid off and I got the results I was looking to achieve. That is why every single victory, even if it was small, made me very happy: I’ve earned everything I have with lots of hard work. I’ve received a myriad of different recognitions and awards in the country I live in, in multiple nominations. For example – best Trance DJ in Ukraine and the award for special contribution to the development of club culture in Ukraine. I think that everything I’ve ever wanted to do for this country I’ve now done and I plan to move forward.
T.H.E – What does this year hold for you?
Anna Lee – This year I am dedicating lots of time to studio work, as a result of which we will see many new releases of mine come out this year. These are original works, collaborations and of course, remixes. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve started working with Abstraction Records and hold the position of Head A&R and Label manager at that company. There will be many releases on this label coming out rather soon and from very good and well-known artists. Of course, I will be releasing my own music on Abstraction as well. I see a great potential in this American label, and I am very happy about the way things are going there. We have big plans and are starting to execute them. Additionally, my job allows me to work from any place in the world, and thus, I am planning to move to another country, somewhere closer to the ocean.
T.H.E – What’s your ultimate career dream?
Anna Lee – I set different goals for myself everytime, and the closest of them at the moment is to play at Luminosity Beach Festival: a festival where not too much “commercial” trance is played. Additionally, considering the fact that I have changed my music style lately and now play (and create) the “harder” side of Trance (Psy Trance), it would be nice to play at an underground Psy festival in the U.S., preferably together with Christopher Lawrence. For me, he is the world’s #1 Psy Trance DJ!
T.H.E – Can you tell us about any upcoming releases and projects you’ve got lined
Anna Lee –
With pleasure. The following works were released in the past two weeks:
Anna Lee – Mars Attacks / Invasion [Pharmacy Plus]
Anna Lee – Departure (Incl TrancEye remix) [Abstraction Records]
David Farquharson – Firefly (Anna Lee Remix) [Sorcery Records]
Anna Lee – Endeavour (Craig Connelly Remix) – The best of Critical Uprising 001 [Komplex Sounds]
The following will be released this summer:
Anna Lee – Together [Pharmacy Plus]
Anna Lee vs. Rafael Osmo – Wake Up Again [Liquid Energy Digital]
Anna Lee & Hiromori Aso – Mercury (Incl. Aimoon Remix) [Abstraction Records]
Anna Lee & FloE – Cyclone (Incl Alex Wright Remix) [Entrancing Music]
Anna Lee – Departure (R3nov8 Remix) [Abstraction Records]
I am already preparing a few new tracks for autumn releases, including a few vocal tracks. As for projects, as always, I am thinking of something new. For now, it’s studio work full speed for me.
T.H.E – Can you tell us something not many people know about you?
Anna Lee – You always need to surprise people with something. I am sure not many know about this – last week, celebrating my Birthday, I hosted an event together with a Ukrainian group of perfumers called #Olfactorium. The event was presented as the “Anna Lee Open to Close 5 hours birthday set”. The idea was that the best club tracks from my entire 20-year DJ career would be played, accompanied with different fragrances consisting of multiple layers. Every hour I would change the music style, and the fragrances released into the club would change to represent the “hardness” of the music being played, thus adding a layer on top of the already existing layers of fragrances present on the dance floor. At the end of my performance, when I started playing Trance music, the perfume became “complete”, and was later presented as a new fragrance by one of Kiev’s perfumers. This was definitely something out of the ordinary. Do you want to know how music smells? 🙂
T.H.E – Anything to add?
Anna Lee – Right at this moment I am leaving for Portugal to get new inspiration for new victories ahead. I wish every one of you to travel as much as you can, to get to know our world more and to meet new interesting people. And definitely, definitely – listen toTRANCE music!