Perfect images, perfect songs, and perfect presentations bombard the collective consciousness on a daily basis. They flicker in and out of focus in a flurry of blurry, non-descript gloss. However, the most memorable art wears its scars with pride as truth thrives in the cracks and amidst the frayed edges.
San Francisco-born and Los Angeles-based 22-year-old singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and performer Anna Dellaria uses her flaws to start a fire. Translating lyrical singer-songwriter catharsis a la Jeff Buckley through bold Aretha Franklin-style delivery, she doesn’t back down from darkness; rather, she turns it into light… “My music is centered around the idea that it’s okay to be fucked up,” she admits. “I believe confidence and strength are born from self-awareness. Even if that means you don’t quite know who or what you are yet, I try to celebrate the journey and struggle to get there. On that path, you find a way to endure. The lyrics might be dark, but the hooks remain uplifting. My music confronts themes like depression, suicide, or personal conflict because those are real and consistent challenges so many of us face—but often hide due to the surrounding stigma. I want to bring those realities to light and emphasize that those edges and battles are the very things that make us powerful and unique.”
That approach has unassumingly drawn the spotlight to her after a lifetime dedicated to the craft. Growing up in a “non-musical” household, she taught herself how to sing by studying the likes of Lauryn Hill, Stevie Wonder, Kurt Cobain, Robert Plant, and even the Sister Act soundtrack. Amidst a tumultuous upbringing beset by physical and mental abuse and bouts of anxiety fueled by a nightmarish relationship between her mother and biological father, music became a refuge. “The very act of singing was cathartic,” she goes on. “Each of our voices are literal parts of ourselves that are 100% authentic. No other instrument offers that intimate of expression that can just as easily turn excruciatingly powerful. Singing was the only way I felt relief or could begin to understand what I was feeling. Soul music in particular was hugely influential because of its raw and evocative nature.
Accepted into USC’s prestigious Thornton School of Music (against mom’s better judgment), she devoted ten hours a day to honing her voice—often sleeping in the practice rooms. Through the program, she caught the attention of early supporters and industry icons Lenny Waronker and Rob Cavallo, while performing backup vocals for John Fogerty, Chaka Khan, and more.
By sophomore year, she started releasing a steady stream of solo singles beginning with “Sudden” in 2016. Soon, the artist garnered coverage from DJ Booth, The Four Oh Five, and Indie Shuffle, among others. 2017’s “Bolder” landed a prominent sync on Younger and surpassed 272K Spotify streams in a matter of months. With a rising profile, Ethan Allen tapped her to sing during a national campaign aired during the 2018 Academy® Awards.
However, everything set the stage for the release of her single “I Choose Me.” Driven by stark production, her voice captivates during intimate verses before booming with unbridled power on the refrain. Its message remains close to her heart. “It’s an anthem for anyone who’s ever been manipulated, taken advantage of, or felt worthless for not fitting some ridiculous standard. It’s painful for me to realize, but I’ve found most often young women tend to compromise in order to feel validated or enough. I’ve grown up around strong women who faced hell, but still felt held back by their histories or imperfections while I watched in awe wanting to scream “You are enough!”. This is for them and for everyone who more than deserves to say, “Fuck it, I choose me. I am enough.” In the end, Anna wields real strength with the power to inspire. “I want people to feel empowered by their flaws and find strength in them without apologizing,” she leaves off. “I have this image of sitting amongst broken glass, yet finding the glitter among it. The pieces aren’t put together again and mirroring back some perfect reflection. Rather, you’re sitting on the floor and discovering the glitter and character amongst all of the wreckage”.