Following the digital release of her latest solo album in early Nov., Madison pop artist Anna Wang will host a CD release party at The Frequency.
While Wang wrote one album of songs prior — entitled “Radio” — her latest project, “In Your Head” is the first album she produced. Using a D.I.Y. studio in her spare bedroom, Wang wrote, recorded and produced the album entirely by herself.
“It was kind of a slow learning process,” Wang said. “So this album is basically a collection of songs I created from that, so the very first song I ever recorded by myself is on this album, and then the most recent one I recorded by myself is also on this album. So it’s kind of like a journey.”
Set for Dec. 15, the event will include a performance of songs from the album by Wang, along with opening performances from other Madison musicians, including Woodrow and Genevieve Heyward. After Wang’s set, DJ Boyfrrriend will end the night.
Wang expressed her excitement for getting the chance to work with these local artists because they are each performers she admires.
“I think my favorite thing about Madison’s music scene is how much community there is,” Wang said. “I just think that willingness to help each other. I think that’s what I’m most grateful for.”
Wang’s party will take place at The Frequency, one of the first venues she ever performed at when she first started in music.
Wang started playing music in Madison’s local music scene while attending school at the University of Wisconsin. After releasing her first solo album, “Radio,” Wang began playing with her band, Anna Wang and the Oh Boys! and played the songs most often as a band.
However, Wang soon realized that her band was limiting her own experimentation in music, because of conflicts with scheduling and creative visions.
“I think I’ve always been really drawn to more electronic, pop music in general, so I just felt like I wanted to make those sounds and I just couldn’t ever make it come to fruition with a band,” Wang said.
Wang soon parted ways with her band, and even discontinued playing music entirely after developing a condition called Eustachian Tube Dysfunction, which affected her ability to hear music without pain.
“One of the side effects of what started happening was everything sounded like a blown speaker all of the time, whenever I was listening to music or if things even got a little bit loud, my eardrum literally felt like blown speakers. For a while, it was painful to listen to music or even go out to a show or play music,” Wang said. “So I just kind of, you know, stopped.”
After leaving music, Wang spent time focused on a new job — an advertising sales position — but the long hours and draining nature of her job made her long to get back into music.
Backed by her training as a classical pianist and her knowledge of music theory, Wang began slowly building her own home studio and learning how to mix and arrange tracks herself.
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Wang’s love for music began at a young age — despite cycling through three different piano teachers at the age of three. Her parents, now very supportive of their daughter’s passion for music, recall the way she would make up and sing her own songs when she was a little girl.
“They actually have some really old cassette recordings back from like ’92 or ’93 when I was 2 or 3 years old of me just singing to myself, little songs I made up myself in Chinese about flowers and stuff like that,” Wang said.
Through that, Wang made the realization that she is a bit of a “control freak” as an artist, and blames college group projects for her distaste for teamwork.
Along with the high costs of studio time as a deterrent, Wang wanted to start creating music on her own terms.
“And I just really quickly realized that it’s really hard — when you’re writing something, you have an idea of what you want that piece to be,” Wang said. “Trying to get somebody else to write it for you just doesn’t work, because you can’t really communicate those subtle nuances that you are imagining in your head.”
While “In Your Head” relied heavily on trial-and-error in its production, Wang feels proud of the work she made, and the difference in sound and style from start to finish.
“It’s much, much harder to do everything by yourself, but at the end of the day, I like being responsible for everything,” Wang said. “And if something goes horribly wrong, I have no one to blame but myself. And if something goes horribly right, I can pat myself on the back for it.”
With the confidence of a self-produced album in her works, Wang is eager to return to The Frequency with her new music.