The concept of the singer-songwriter is relatively recent; born out of the folk music tradition, it appeared in the second half of the 20th century. Up until that point, the vast majority of artists were one or the other"they either wrote the songs or they sang them. But beyond the simple definition of being an artist who both wrote and performed his or her own songs, the hallmark of the art-form is that those songs generally address real-life issues and struggles and tend to be personal in nature. One could argue that King David was a singer-songwriter"even if he existed thousands of years before the 'genre.'
Anadara's Into The Unknown, on Spring Hill Worship, introduces a new voice and pen into the tradition.
Through her introspective lyrics and acoustic/folk style, her music combines her easygoing, reflective artistry with her heart for honest, transparent worship. The Carlsbad, California native has appeared as both a writer and a performer on Spring Hill Worship releases for more than a year. During that time, Anadara saw several songs that she co-wrote gain national attention, including "The Name," co-written wrote with Billy Sprague and Joe Beck, which was nominated for Best Scripture Song in 2005 by the Worship Leader Magazine Praise Awards.
On her debut project, Anadara (pronouced Anna-dare-uh) has crafted 10 songs that range from straight-up worship to the practical working out of faith. As she and producer Kent Hooper (Scott Krippayne, Travis Cottrell) began talking about a musical direction of the album, they decided to try and blend modern pop and acoustic music with strains of Anadara's beloved 70's singer-songwriter influences, such as Carly Simon and Joni Mitchell.
"Kent was wonderful to work with," Anadara explains.
"We had a great time making this record and didn't want to see it come to an end...I am truly grateful to him."
The result is a tuneful collection of literate and lovely songs. From the up-beat pop stylings of "Go,"
to the musings of "Simple," to the majesty of "To The One," a duet with Watermark's Christy Nockels, Into The Unknown is both personal ("Simple," "Die For The Rest Of My Life," "Song Of My Surrender") and universal ("To The One," "The Name," "Echoes Around The World.")
"The Name" was the third song that Anadara wrote with Sprague and Beck, with whom she has developed a kinship. "I think there is something special about the writing chemistry between the three of us," she says.
"Joe brought up the idea of writing a song that listed the various names of God. We sat and wrote down every name in the Bible that we could think of; names that the Word uses to describe who God is in His nature. I was stunned at how many beautiful descriptions were scribbled all over my piece of paper. It was astounding to see "Friend" next to "Master" and "King"
next to "Counselor." When I sing this song to the Lord and really allow myself to digest each word as it passes from my lips, I am overwhelmed."
Destined to be another worship classic, Anadara wrote "To The One" with Stephanie Lewis. "The lyrics truly inspired the melody in this instance," Anadara remembers. "'To the one who hung the stars up in the sky, then painted all the colors in our eyes' begged for a steady and reverent melody. Writing this song was a very spiritually encouraging time of reflecting on all of the magnificent ways God reveals Himself throughout creation and in His Word."
"To the One" also holds a special place in Anadara's heart because she recorded it with friend and mentor Christy Nockels (of Watermark). "Christy has a beautiful heart to encourage other women worshipers and I feel blessed to be one of them," describes Anadara. "She has consistently supported and inspired me to continually seek after the heart of God in my music and in all of life."
Growing up in California, Anadara was steeped in the sounds of the folk/singer-songwriter genre. Her mother was a professional musician and Anadara exhibited her own creative bent early on, writing her first song when she was eight. The worship team of the church they attended met at their house weekly for practice. It was one of the things that instilled a love for music in her.
Upon graduation from high school, Anadara headed east to pursue music and theatre studies at Syracuse University, in upstate New York. That first year held a lot of culture shock for the native Californian. "Do you know how much snow Syracuse gets in the winter?"
she asks with a laugh. "Pretty much from October through April, you can expect snow on the ground."
Apart from the weather, Anadara struggled to find her place in this new world. Feelings of loneliness and displacement prompted her to pick up her guitar and start writing again, pouring her experiences into songs. Performing these new compositions at open mic nights, she soon found herself with a Best New Artist nomination at the SAMMYS, the Syracuse Area Music Awards.
Anadara finished her degree at Syracuse and, upon graduation, promptly moved to New York City to pursue a long-time dream of making it on Broadway. She began waiting tables and would frequently go on auditions, but spent most of her time continuing to write songs. It was during this challenging time of transition that Anadara began to feel the effect of having drifted away from an active pursuit of her faith during those years.
During an audition, Anadara saw a sign for a church that met in that studio...