“I like space in my music. I make a lot of effort to create atmospheres. I want the instruments to tell the story as much as the lyrics do. Every note you sing has to be important. Every note you play on the guitar has to mean something. I don’t want my music full of crap. I’m like that in life: I don’t natter on, nah-nah-nah. I’m quite quiet. I just say something when I have something to say, and my music’s like that as well.” - Anna Calvi
“I just think that your intention just has to be true. It needs to be about your art and not about anything else. Not about kind of wanting to be known or be famous, or even being successful. I don’t really know what success is. I don’t want to be successful in the way of people coming up to me and going ‘oh you’re Anna Calvi’. That’s not success. It’s like making music that feels like it’s really a part of you and that you’ve managed to express something really honest. That’s success.” - Anna Calvi
After half an hour with Calvi, I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface. I ask how her best friends would describe her.
“I think they think I’m a good listener,” she decides.
Would you prefer to listen than talk?
And do you give good advice?
“I think people make the mistake of thinking they have to give advice.” She smiles. “Just to listen… sometimes that’s what is most important.”
Before our photoshoot, Calvi’s management dictated that: “We absolutely must stick to no nudity. Partial or otherwise. No bare arms and legs. No skirts or dresses.” But it hasn’t always been like this. She bared all but a cigarette and a headpiece for Lagerfeld, and she used to wear dresses on stage all the time. So why the strict dress code now? “A couple of weeks ago I had a bad experience at a photoshoot,” says Calvi. “They made me wear clothes that you feel stupid in and I said ‘fuck this’.” - Anna Calvi - Timeout HK (x)
Anna Calvi at the Royal Festival Hall, London.
The sound is excellent here and you feel like you’re somewhere with a very rich heritage. You can’t beat a sweaty club for great atmosphere, but different venues are good for different things and this is one for people who really want to listen.