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Waikato singer/songwriter finalist in LA Music Awards

Waikato singer/songwriter finalist in LA Music Awards

Anna Saxton was just five when she first sang to her toys as she lay on her bed. She remembers thinking she “didn’t sound too bad.”

Fast forward 16 years and the Cambridge pop artist is set to walk the red carpet at the LA Music Awards this month.

Anna — or Saxi as she’s known — is one of 10 finalists in the ‘female pop artist of the year’ category where she’s up against the likes of former American Idol finalists.

The LA Music Awards is an international online competition and televised awards show that began 1990 in Hollywood

It highlights up-and-coming artists from around the world by crowning four ultimate winners in pop, rock, country, and the newly added supermodel categories.

“The Awards were founded by Al Bowman. He’s a music heavyweight whose philosophy was ‘why not give independent artists the publicity that mainstream artists get’,” said Saxi.

“It’s pretty crazy. I can’t begin to describe the excitement,” said Saxi. “It almost doesn’t feel real!”

But it’s very real. As are her other recent achievements.

This month, Saxi’s latest track — complete with music video — ‘Lipstick’ has made it on to NZ On Air’s ‘New Tracks’ disc that is distributed to radio stations throughout the country.

“The music video was an 18-hour shoot at Auckland’s Viaduct. It ended with someone pouring buckets of water all over me!”

The video was possible thanks to NZ On Air funding and she’s hoping she may secure more funding for her upcoming EP.

“I finish recording my EP after I get back from the States and I will hopefully release that in December with a release party for that.”

She intends to do a mini tour of the North Island following the release of her EP.

Her latest career highs come on the back of years of training with voice coach Stuart Clarke in Auckland.

“Stuart teaches the Seth Riggs speech and singing method, which is from the US. Seth has taught Michael Jackson, Madonna, Jennifer Lopez.”

Saxi said her voice had changed immensely since she began studying with Clarke.

“I'd never had a proper singing lesson until I went to Stuart, and you don't realise the way it works until you study it. There is so much to it. He'll say move your tongue slightly forward, and you'll get a totally different sound. My range has improved. I thought I was a really low singer, but it turns out I have this crazy range, and I never knew I had that.”

Saxi also trains via Skype with US vocal coach John Henney, who has worked with Katy Perry and the cast of Glee.

But it’s not so much luck as sheer hard work that’s got Saxi this far.

While her pay packet comes primarily from working in hospitality, it’s not unusual for Saxi to spend dozens of hours each week practising and writing songs.

Her lyrics are all her own and she says the inspiration for them often comes to her in her sleep.

“I get a lot of inspiration at night. I'll fall asleep for an hour, then I'll wake up with this image in my head so I have to get up and write it out, I'll work on it for hours, then I'll go to sleep, wake up again, rewrite it, practice it again. Some songs I've been working on for about three years.

“I get a lot of my songs from dreams. I dream like a movie scene in my head and it will turn into a song, it's really weird. I'm constantly in a bubble of creativity.”

The inspiration for one of her favourite tracks, White Light, didn’t come to Saxi in a dream. Instead, Saxi wrote it especially for her grandmother who died last year.

Saxi’s talent and passion for music has been fostered by her family since she was a child. And while she only had the confidence to sing to her toys when she was younger, these days she’s much more sure of herself.

“I feel like music was always with me and that this is what I was born to do. When I’m performing or shooting videos, I feel super confident in what I’m doing, confident with my voice. I guess I’ve grown into myself.”

Saxi will walk the red carpet at the LA Music Awards on September 17, flanked by her mother Denise, her aunt and cousin.

Her single Lipstick is available on iTunes.

About the LA Music Awards:

The 25th Annual LA Music Awards is a milestone event. With almost 100 entertainment industry artist success stories belts since the Awards inception in 1991, the program is a leader in Hollywood and around the world at breaking new talent into the commercial market. The Los Angeles Music Awards was the first event of its kind that presented a Grammy-style format for lesser known artists or bands.


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