Six weeks spent at the ISINA music mentoring programme in Los Angeles has propelled Cambridge singer/songwriter Anna Saxton on a new and exciting career trajectory.
Anna, who works under the name “Saxi”, spent over six weeks in LA as part of an international group mentored by experts in six categories – vocal, instrumental, composition, sound engineering, guitar and DJ. Her mentor was award-winning Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, and the upshot of the trip was a recording and distribution deal of her own song, “Dirty Hands”, through ISINA sometime in the next few months. The song has already been recorded.
“The trip was a huge success for me … it’s so exciting,” she said. “When I sang “Dirty Hands” to the judges, they said they loved it and wanted to release it. I’m not certain of dates yet, but I expect to hear that within the next month or so.”
In the meantime, Anna is putting in more hours than usual in the gym, aimed at the production in May of a new music video set to coincide with the independent release through a New Zealand distributor of another new song, “Craze”.
“I’m working out every single day in the lead-up to that, mostly because we’re going to be doing something really artistic for the music video, and I must be in shape for that!”
Amid the busyness of being home, Anna took time to reflect on the “intense activity” that made up her time in California.
She landed in LA on October 1, directly into a barrage of media activity which followed the participants throughout because the six-week mentoring programme is to be released as an eight-episode reality television series. The 15 international participants were put up in a Beverly Hills mansion, with Anna the only Kiwi among them.
Time was spent in a frenzy of instruction and performance, interviews, song-writing, rehearsal and studio time – all leading up to a grand finale on November 15 at The Belasco in LA before a panel that included host Randy Jackson, as well as Kenny G and Babyface.
Participants’ best songs were performed at that finale before an audience of 3000, where Anna found herself on stage with Ariana Grande’s back-up dancers trained by Chris Brown’s choreographer. She said Randy Jackson provided great feedback and described her as one of the “stand-out performers”.
Hard-pressed to pick out a highlight of the LA trip, Anna settled on the show at The Belsaco. “It was incredibly inspiring performing for a massive crowd, and to have back-up dancers and such an amazing band … I couldn’t have asked for a better performance.”
She’s also grateful for the relationships built over there – many of which are ongoing on an almost daily basis.
For the time being, however, Anna is busy working out at Cambridge’s FIT gym, and trying to organise some live shows pending the release of her new songs. She is also working towards the release of an EP down the track.