Interview with Anderson East

Anderson East: American Rhythm
and Blues/Pop Musician

Anderson East

Anderson East is an American rhythm and blues/pop musician from Athens, Alabama, now based in Nashville, Tennessee. His musical career began in 2009 with a self-released album called Closing Credits for a Fire under the name Mike Anderson. He began his career under the name Anderson East with the release of an EP titled Fire Demos. His debut album, Flowers of the Broken Hearted was self-released in 2012. The album, Delilah was his first record album release for the label Elektra in July 2015. It was produced by Dave Cobb (Southeastern, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music).

This interview was originally published back in January 2013.

TSM: What inspired you to get into singing and songwriting?

AE: 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. And girls…. 

TSM: At what age did you write your first song? Can you recall it?

AE: Yea, I was in the 6th or 7th grade and I wrote a song called “Brain.” It was terrible, but me and my friends had a band. 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.

TSM: I know you play the guitar and keys. Which one did you learn first and do you have a preference between the two?

AE: I learned guitar first. And then we lived with my grandparents for a short time and they had an old upright 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.

TSM: What’s your process for writing lyrics? And where do you get the inspiration for your songs?

AE: 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. 

TSM: Tell us about your album Flowers of the Broken Hearted and why you called it this.

AE: 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 on afternoon. And that line jumped out of my hand. And while we we’re recording all the songs had the same global theme. Each one was kinda like pedals. To make that sound as wuss as possible.

TSM: Who are your major music influences?

AE: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Birds, Squarepusher, Old drunks with a guitar and a good story.

TSM: If you had the power to do something in the world today, what would it be and why?

AE: 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.

TSM: What is one of your favorite quotes (or lines) that inspires you?

AE: “I don’t know”

TSM: Anything else you’d like to share? And where can our readers find out more about your music?

AE: No, I think I’m good. Don’t want to give away all my secrets just yet.

TSM: Thanks again for doing this interview and all the best with everything in the future.

AE: Thanks for having me and same to you.

Anderson East

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