Debut single “Runaway” has been uplifting spirits all over the world ever since it’s release. Here’s where we find out more about Anna Gilbert’s project. Welcome to the world of WYLDR.
WYLDR has this kind of music that you’d ‘dance around your bedroom and sing into a hairbrush.’ Bringing nostalgic memories and happy times back into the limelight, we caught up with WYLDR’s Anna Gilbert to find out more about the project and what’s next for the songwriter.
Hey Anna! How are things on your side of the world? (For those that are reading this, WYLDR is based in the States).
Hey Chloe! Portland, OR is a wonderful city! Things are going well, and we are gearing up for Spring over here. The weather gets nice and everyone comes out for fun outside events and festivals. I’m looking forward to some dryer days 🙂
So great to see the reception that “Runaway” has got! Can you tell us more about what the process was like writing and recording it?
Thanks so much! Yes, the process of recording was extremely fun and rewarding… Luckily, my producer and guitar player are my close friends (Troy Welstad and Johnny McCormick), so the recording process was like hanging out and having fun with your best friends. My producer, Troy, has been incredible to work with, and he is an amazing keyboard player… He has toured with P!nk, Hilary Duff, Selena Gomez and other amazing pop artists, so he always knows the right keyboard and synth sounds to use and how to make the song sound the best it possibly can… He just gets pop music…
Honestly, I love the WYLDR creative process. It’s been 100% based on inspiration and creativity. We don’t come into the studio with any pre-conceived notions of what we want to do. We just want to make great songs that people can move to, that tell a story, and hopefully make people feel something.
You’re vibrant and colorful, how would you best describe your music and yourself in a nutshell?
Thank you! I do love making music and creating visuals that are high in contrast… Vivid colors, darkness mixed with bright light, night skies and bright city lights, a dance floor with flashing lights in rainbow colors… I think that vibe best describes the kind of art I want to make. I want to make music that is exciting and colorful, complex and dynamic. As for me, I love all sorts of people and food, flavors, lifestyles, cultures, and I love having experiences with highs and lows… I want WYLDR to reflect the whole spectrum of sound, color, and rhythm. I am kind of an impulsive person, and I think the music embodies that sentiment a bit. We live in a beautiful world full of vibrancy, so I want my songs to embrace it all.
We are all influenced by others in someway or another. Who would you say are your biggest musical influences?
That is such a hard question! It changes with time, to be honest. I love finding new artists and obsessing over their music! Right now, I am listening to a lot of Ralph, Robyn, Lany, St. Lucia, Billie Eillish, Haim, and Bleachers, just to name a few! Some of my forever legendary influences that will never change (and that I always go back to for inspiration) are Queen, The Beatles, Cyndi Lauper, Stevie Wonder, and Whitney Housto
Let’s talk about your new single “Reckless” (out today btw)! What’s the story behind that track?
This song actually came out of a songwriters retreat that I went to with a bunch of friends and colleagues in Portland. We all holed up at a property in Wine Country with separate studios for a weekend to make music, and my co-writers and I came up with this track on the first day of camp. It’s actually crazy because “Reckless” was pretty much written and recorded from start of finish in about 8 hrs. Obviously, we did a little more work on it later, but the whole thing was truly an inspired experience, and the song almost wrote itself. Sometimes, as a writer, you hit a moment when things just work and the song just flows out of you. “Reckless” came together in that type of way…
The lyrical idea of the song came from this feeling we all get when we are with someone who ignites a part of us that makes us feel just a little crazy. The vibe of the song stays in this playful tension of “Should we? Or shouldn’t we?” It’s this feeling of: “You make me feel crazy, but I like it.” … My buddies, Eric Macias and Derek Horst, played on and helped write this track and it was such a great experience!
Now WYLDR is actually a new project for you, but you’ve been in the industry for a while under your name “Anna Gilbert”, what gave you the inspiration to take on WYLDR?
To be honest, WYLDR is the type of music I’ve always thought I would one day make — and it’s the kind of band I always dreamed of starting… I can say with confidence that WYLDR is the truest reflection of who I feel I am as an artist right now. (Emphasis on “right now”… don’t box me in.) I think artists evolve and follow their arrow, their muse, their inspiration… Yes – I have loved making introspective music that is very “Singer-Songwriter-ish”… and I won’t ever stop composing music in that vein.
However, the sounds of WYLDR and the direction of the production is the direction I’ve been wanting to go for the last few years. It’s upbeat, it’s dancy, it’s moody, it’s fun… I think when artists feel the urge to shape-shift, they should. So I am… I wanted to make pop songs that were both throwback and modern… songs that had a kind of nostalgic prom-night desperation… I wanted to write the kind of pop music that gave me butterflies in my stomach as a kid when I heard it come on the radio. WYLDR is a way for me to write and perform the style of music I have always loved the most.
What do you have lined up next? More releases? An upcoming tour? Be amazing if you came to the UK!
OMG, I would LOVE to come to the UK… That is definitely in the plans. 🙂 So next up, we will be releasing some music videos for all three songs on the EP. This will give a sort of visual life to WYLDR that I think will help frame the vibe and style of the band. We also plan to play live this year, and we will definitely keep you posted on that! The idea is to create a nice batch of songs for WYLDR and work towards a full length record that we can tour. I think it’s really cool when artists release a batch of songs, get people excited about them, and then play shows so that people can come and sing along. That’s really our goal!
“Reckless” is releasing today. Then, “Starlight” will release May 11. I plan to release a couple more singles and then start to build a live show. The live show will be really fun! We plan to use some tracks mixed with a live band to create a really dancy, upbeat pop show. We also hope to eventually use lights and visuals to enhance the listening experience and live show. Our goal is to do a WYLDR tour sometime in late 2019!
Do you have a favourite lyric that you’ve written? Why is that your favourite?
My favorite lyric in “Reckless” is probably the second verse: “Boy, we got a strange thing, don’t we? We like the fire, but we like it sweet. Baby, gotta keep me up all night. I don’t wanna sleep until I die.” I think I kinda like this verse because it talks about that dichotomy you feel sometimes when you’re falling for someone in a major way. You admit that you’re feeling a little psychotic and out of sorts, but you also really love the feeling and rush into the craziness when the opportunity presents itself. It’s this push and pull, this tension that keeps you coming back …
The music industry gets bigger everyday. What’s the one thing you love about it? And the one thing you dislike?
I do love the industry! As much as it is constantly changing, it can be a little cut throat. I used to live in Nashville where I worked as a songwriter full time and interned at a major studio. I loved doing the work of the songwriter, but I also missed getting to play out and sing the songs I was writing as an artist. I love that the industry gives you so much freedom to BE and DO what you feel passionate about. However, it can be really taxing emotionally to be a creator, a business person, a performer, a marketer, and do every job all at once! This day in age, you have to kind of do everything in order to start your own brand and launch your band. It’s great work, and it teaches you a lot, but it can also steal your creative energies.
If you could narrow it down in one sentence, what’s your favourite thing about being a musician?
My favorite thing about being a musician is connecting with people through performing. I love the synergy people feel when they are singing a song with an artist they love or vibing with it in some way. Music is such an agent of connection, and I think that is what we are lacking so much of these days. I love how a song can just instantly unite people who have nothing in common and no previous history. Music is this universal language that everyone can tap into. I am so blessed to get to be an artist and make music WITH and for people who enjoy it.
Check out WYLDR’s wonderful creations.
FFO: Dancing around your bedroom with a hairbrush…