Anabel Englund on “London Headache” & Female Empowerment
Not one to be pigeon hole herself (or her music), singer-songwriter Anabel Englund is proving to be a distinct gem amid the ever-growing sea of pop mimicries. And though mostly known for her membership in electronic music outfit Hot Natured, put her on your solo radar, now, thanks to her new single: “London Headache”. Throughout the track (and its accompanying video), Englund stakes her claim in the land of solo pop stars, exuding sultry confidence and intoxicating vocal harmony (despite a love-life lesson hard learned) the whole way through. And just like that, she’s one to watch.
What’s more, the Models 1 signee has also launched a series of parties christened Gari Safari, which consists of her brother Jackson Englund, along with Human Life, Matt Ossentjuk, and Mont Blvck (Jackson Englund and Diego Cuevas).
As far as the wild Gari Safari festivities go? “It’s cool because my brother starts it off, then I kind of do stuff in the middle with our vocals sprinkled throughout,” Englund says. “Then, at the end we have a Gari back-to-back finale and we both just get on the mic, my brother Jackson and I, and jam out. It’s so magical because how often do you go somewhere and [you’re] like, ‘Oh, they’re brother and sister doing the end of this amazing house/techno event?’”
If it wasn’t obvious, Anabel Englund is making some serious waves, and not just when it comes to her sultry, specific sound. Milk caught up with the southern California-based songbird on International Women’s Day—which proved to be extra fitting, considering Englund’s commitment to female empowerment—to discuss “garis,” what it means to have a “London Headache,” and the story behind her search for purpose and growth. Check the full interview below, but first, peep the new-ish single, “London Headache”.
So, tell me about the theme of Gari Safari.
I’ve always hung out with my brother and the guys—the DJ guys. Actually these are guys I went to high school with; one of the guys I went to high school with and the other one went to a close by high school. Basically “gari” is an endearing term we have for one another. Do you have a best friend where you have a weird name for each other that kind of develops over time and changes, but it has one origin? I feel like most best friends have that.
Yeah, I do.
So that’s the term “gari” for us…it kind of developed as an inside joke. Then, it was like Gari Safari. It was all about having fun, even if it was like a joke or whatever. Then all of a sudden, we were like let’s turn this into, well, let’s have a party basically. A while ago we threw a party at the Mondrian and we called it Gari Safari. We were like, “Let’s try it out” basically and it actually was real fucking fun. A lot of people ended up showing up. It just kind of transpired.
The theme of the party is animals, safari, but it’s also a little bit more than that. For me, it’s really fun-loving and it’s not necessarily about dressing in all black and trying to look all techno. It’s not about needing to look super-hot. It’s just about letting your inner animal out [and] run free and channeling your most higher self—exploring the best you, singing, and having fun on the dance floor. Wearing whatever the fuck you want to wear even if it’s not safari gear. It’s just about having fun. I’ve never said this before, but it’s just about having a safari in your inner you and channeling that and having fun with it; and meeting new people too. When people come to the Gari Safari you’re an honorary gari for the night. I’m Princess Gari because there’s only one girl gari.
Well, that’s exciting! It’s cool to see that you’re close to your brother like that, too.
Yeah, I love my brother very much.
So, you’ve come a long way from performing for restaurant patrons and waitressing in college. What’s been your favorite part of the journey so far?
The best part about all of this is getting to know more about who I am as a person. I guess today it’s not about where I’m going really. Some days it is about where I’m going…no one’s satisfied yet. Even if they’ve won a GRAMMY, it’s like never good enough. It’s never where they should be because we don’t practice that, right? It’s all about wanting more. For me, like today, I’m not really in that mindset. I can’t say for tomorrow. Getting little epiphanies from God about like who I am and I’m just really grateful and able to figure out who I am while I’m on this journey and just to share it with the world. The more I know who I am, the more I’m able to help other people who may have gone through the same things or anything like that.
I feel like everyone on this Earth is designed to get to know who they are and what their purpose is. There’s a lot of people that work at a desk all day; even I heard this guy yesterday say, “I hate my job. It’s fucking terrible, like this is my life.” I felt so bad for him because we live in this society where it’s all fucking wrong. You go to the school and we’re learning the wrong shit and then we have to like conform to this life that we’re supposed to do and yet no one’s fucking happy. I’m just grateful for what I fucking do and I’m grateful for the kind of path I’ve chosen to take with it. I don’t know if that makes sense or whatever, but that’s kind of what I feel about that.
It makes sense. As an artist it’s important to see where your growth takes you and how you can affect your fans too. So, I get you. Speaking of sharing things with your fans, you’ve recently released “London Headache”. Congratulations!
What was the catalyst in you producing that record and creating the lyrics?
I just wanted to create something new and get it out there. “London Headache” is to me represents like a certain period in my life, but also like it has the balance of the highs and the lows—the darkness and the light. The verses are more—I don’t want to say dark because that’s not necessarily what it is—of a darker story, but the choruses are more uplifting. Nothing’s permanent.
I was in the studio with my brother and my friend. We just started creating and it was just one of those songs that just kind of came out of my mouth. It just kind of worked and that’s how it happened and I love it.
Dope! I know you’ve collaborated with other artists such as Hot Natured, but was this solo project a long time coming?
No, because I’m always working on my own stuff. I love collaborating. Collaborating is actually one of my favorite things because I feel like it’s nice to share what I have and get a piece of what someone else has and putting it together is so amazing.
I don’t think it was a long time in the making. I think its always been there. It was just matter of whether I did it or not. I’m still doing it now. I’m working on other stuff now and I’m figuring out how I want to release it, but I’ve always been hearing that holding things is the death of an artist for their soul. I kind of just want to put some shit out. Honestly, I’ve been writing a lot on the piano and exploring so much more on the piano. I’m just trying different things. Does that answer your question?
Absolutely. I was wondering if it was something spontaneous or if you’ve always been planning this. You answered it.
Yeah, I’ve always wanted to do my own thing, but also if the opportunity comes to work with people who I love, I’m gonna do it. I’m not really the kind of person that’s gonna turn down something that I think could help me or make me feel good—if that makes sense.
Yeah, it makes sense. You’ve been doing a lot of traveling. So, have you been writing songs on the road, too?
No. Honestly, when I travel I’m writing in my journal a lot. Sometimes I’ll be on the plane and start humming something and I’ll write it down and like record it on my phone. Most of the time when I get home, it’s a way for me to ground myself to get back in the studio.
On a side note, happy International Women’s Day!
Happy International Women’s Day! I love today so much even though there are some girls who are like, “We get one day. It should be every day.” Every day is International Women’s Day, but at least we fucking get today. I’m happy about today…let’s fucking appreciate this right now and sing it out loud and show what we have every day. I love women so fucking much. There’s so many of us that’s been so pushed down and beaten down mentally, physically, sexually, spiritually, and it’s too long that this has been going on for. Through family and friends it just needs to be broken down so we can build ourselves up. I’m gonna start using my voice more often.
How do you think we can empower each other in the industry?
Everyone is so focused on what everyone is doing. I think that if people just start focusing on themselves and making themselves better. Start with smaller goals that you can see that you can achieve them and start making them bigger. If you can start empowering yourself—which not too many people can do, which is really sad—then you can start empowering other people.
Featured image courtesy of the artist
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