Over the years, emerging multi-hyphenate Annalise Azadian has made her mark in the music and fashion scenes defining herself as a vibrant artist with a soulful pop-R&B sound.
Following her well-received 2020 EP Six Weeks of Seven and viral single “Bogu$” she has released an introvert’s summer party anthem. “Life of the Party,” produced by Grammy Award winner Swagg R’Celious, shares the perspective of “a wallflower in a crowded room” through a club-worthy beat and emotionally profound lyrics.
We chatted with the Bronx-based artist about the single, hitting the studio with will.i.am, and all the exciting things in the works through her partnership with The Orchard!
Where did the concept for your new single “Life of the Party” come from?
The concept of “Life of the Party” came to me over a year ago and kind of came out of nowhere. The original beat was kind of funky; so randomly and spontaneously the first line I thought of was “life of the party” and to me it just sounded like a hit title so I started building the song from there.
This song took you a year to create. Can you tell me about what the writing process was like?
A year ago, I was in the studio with my producer WhatsGoodKev, he had the beat started and I wrote the hook. We took a stab at the verses but the only thing I was sold on was the hook & bridge when I left. I move on to things pretty quickly, so I almost forgot about the reference for months. I was in conversations with The Orchard and was excited to take on a new journey with them. I showed them a number of song references, just for them to get a gauge of my current vibe and they loved the hook “Life of the Party”
! The producer, Swagg (Swagg R’Celious) ended up flipping the beat into more of the dancehall house track and we went back in and changed up the verses! Voila! The track was finished, and I wanted to put my stamp on the track’s meaning through the music video, so I art-directed the treatment and delivered the final product that everybody at The Orchard just loved.
The song was produced by Grammy Award winner Swagg R’Celious (H.E.R. / Kehlani / K. Michelle / Dawn Richard). How did you get connected and what was it like to collaborate?
Swagg and I connected through The Orchard, which was serendipitous cause I had wanted to work with him for years and he actually said the same about me. He said he had DM’d me at one point on Instagram, but I didn’t see it.I believe it was the universe’s divine timing! We were in the midst of COVID, so pretty much everything was done via zoom, but I’m super excited to start the in-studio sessions again.
You conceptualized, styled, and directed the music video. Can you take us through what that experience was like?
Whenever I write a song, I think visually to try to match the senses in the lyrics to the video. I had an original treatment of being in this deserted place at the Seven Magic Mountains (colorful installation in Vegas) with an abstract feel, bright colors to symbolize a party. I love colours and all of my projects in the past have been somewhat of this rainbow scheme. When the song was changed, it was now more of this party anthem and it was calling for this house party theme. I went back to the drawing board with director & videographer Steve Muelz and we flushed out the treatment and details for the new vision. We got to mix the party with the abstract concept, showing the parallel meaning of the song.
If you could set fans up in the perfect environment to listen to “Life of the Party,” what do you imagine it looking like?
If I could set up fans in the perfect environment for “Life of the Party,” I’d want it to be colorful with strobe lights or a disco ball. Balloons all over and confetti! I launched the track during Pride weekend, which is such an important celebration of diversity, happiness, and acceptance. I did pop-up performances all around NYC including Times Square with the lighting and over the top backdrop which is such a party environment. I hope fans feel “Life of the Party” can be a theme song to make their party vibe even better.
You’ve also served as the Creative Director for Pharrell Williams Billionaire Boy’s Club (BBC) apparel line. Have you found that fashion has inspired your music and vice versa?
I worked at BBC Ice Cream for years doing retail while being an artist. I ended up getting really busy, so I stopped working there and am now doing music full-time. While I was at BBC I had started my modeling career in shoots for them, landing the homepage of the website. I also began getting picked up by other brands too being in the heart of SOHO. During my time at BBC, I got involved in creative directing shoots for specific seasons, which was a lot of fun and an amazing experience. I do it now as freelance in between music which is my number one priority right now. They’ve asked me to help out with a summer campaign next month, which I’m trying to fit in between everything else. I’ve always had a unique sense of fashion and it has definitely inspired my music and just the person I am in general. Getting to express yourself freely is a gift. Pharrell is also a huge inspiration the way he pioneered trends through music and fashion, all under his unique brand and has had longevity in all forms.
You recently worked with will.i.am. What was that like?
Working with Will was a dream come true. It felt so surreal that I had to pinch myself a few times to realize I am actually sitting next to will.i.am, writing music with him in his domain. Definitely, a blessing and motivation after all the kind things he had to say about me and my talent.
What can fans look forward to next?
Fans can look forward to a ton more music. New visuals, content, shows & merch. I have been doing this for a while, but it’s just the start! Can’t wait to put out a new body of work that represents me as who I have grown into. Swagg and I have gotten into the studio as well so we hope to have more music coming together. I am also open to collaborations with the right artists when they come along.
What is one quote that you have heard or that you go by that you want to ECHO out to the world?
I built on inspirational messages I have heard before to create my own mantra and quote. It is “Move in Faith, Not in Fear “- I have it tatted on me as a constant reminder. It’s a journey, not a race and your mental ability to stay strong and believe in yourself is everything.