Anderson East: Singer and Songwriter
Jessica Gilbert: Anderson, thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to do an interview for TSM. It’s great to have you in the magazine. What inspired you to get into singing and songwriting?
Anderson East: I guess I got into it by not being able to play cover tunes as well as my friends could play them. I was tired of “playing it wrong” so I started writing songs. No one can tell you what’s right or wrong if it’s yours.
Jessica Gilbert: At what age did you write your first song? Can you recall it?
Anderson East: Yeah, I was in the sixth or seventh grade and I wrote a song called “Brain.” It was terrible. But me and my friends had a band, and I talked them all into buying instruments, but we ended up playing in the talent show at school. Followed by Freebird. Rock & Roll at it’s finest.
Jessica Gilbert: I know you play the guitar and keys. Which one did you learn first and do you have a preference between the two?
Anderson East: I learned guitar first. And then we lived with my grandparents for a short time and they had an old, upright piano and my mother was the pianist at church. Also around that time I learned who Ben Folds was and had to be able to play his songs, so I got my mother to teach me what she could. She can only sight read music and I had zero interest in doing that. So I figured it out bit by bit through the years. I wouldn’t say I have a preference. But I do like to jump back and forth while writing. It makes your brain think differently and you can come up with things that aren’t so predictable.
Jessica Gilbert: What’s your process for writing lyrics? And where do you get the inspiration for your songs?
Anderson East: Well…I usually just start mumbling over some chords, and when a line or a phrase jumps out I take notice and will write that down. Here, recently I do most of it while I’m recording. So by the time the song is written it’s already recorded. That’s the end game for me. Songs are great but the recording is king. But at the end of the day, you have to have a damn good song to make anyone care.
Jessica Gilbert: Tell us about your album Flowers of the Broken Hearted and why you called it this.
Anderson East: The title came from the song and the song came from a real life event. It started out with my gal getting flowers from some some other guy one afternoon. And that line jumped out of my hand. And while we were recording all the songs had the same global theme. Each one was kinda like pedals. To make that sound a wuss as possible.
Jessica Gilbert: Who are your major music influences?
Anderson East: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Birds, Squarepusher, Old drunks with a guitar and a good story.
Jessica Gilbert: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?
Anderson East: If I had the power to do something…I’d buy everyone a Coke, or I’d play with some lions. Because people like Coke and I like lions.
Jessica Gilbert: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?
Anderson East: “I don’t know”
Jessica Gilbert: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about your music?
Anderson East: No, I think I’m good. Don’t want to give away all my secrets just yet.
Jessica Gilbert: Thanks again for doing this interview and all the best with everything in the future.
Anderson East: Thanks for having me and same to you.