Interview | FFS 5 with Ana Silvera

For Folk’s Sake recently premiered the music video for Ana Silvera’s ‘Early Frost’, featuring Alan Frampton. It’s a prime example of her heartfelt songwriting, showcasing a strained romance with palpable heartache. We are pleased to have once again touched base with the London-born, Copenhagen-based singer-songwriter, whose music rides a stirring line between alt-folk and bluegrass. Taking on our ‘FFS 5’ interview series, Ana’s answers illuminate such notions as how her London upbringing has effected her person, the realities of surviving as a touring artist, and such movements as her hopes for what her music can bring to her listeners.

Please tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you get started in music? Any defining moments along the path to present day?

I was born and bred in London, and I’m very much a proud London girl – I love my hometown and I think it has defined me greatly as an artist. The creative scene there is such an irreverent concoction of cultural influences and genre overlaps and that’s definitely bled into my songwriting. 

As a child I was always singing, especially along with my father who played the guitar and raised me with the songs of Leonard Cohen, Carole King and Paul Simon. Then when I was 11 years old, I auditioned and got a solo role with English National Opera, which I guess was a defining moment. Though I didn’t go down that route, it did lead me to getting a formal musical education. My love of poetry brought me to find a way to fuse both music and words together through songwriting, a quest I’m still on today. 

As an artist, how do you define success?

That is such an important question, which requires defining one’s own deepest values. My experience is it’s all too easy to get pulled into the vortex of external validation as the measure of success and whilst it’s really important for me to feel that my listeners are enjoying and connecting with the music, ultimately I have to know I’ve created the very best work that I can, as well as understand its place in my own evolving language and development as an artist. And honestly, though this doesn’t get talked about so much (because we like to imagine art as totally unsullied by money), finding ways to survive financially from what I do feels more and more a marker of success for me, especially in this ever-tougher climate.

What do you find your greatest struggle to be when it comes to the music business?

As above – surviving as a touring musician, post-COVID and as a recording musician in the time of Spotify and squeezed incomes. Dealing with many no’s before the eventual yes’s. The pressure to feed the social media machine. Competing with cat videos (disclaimer: I love cat videos). 

What do you hope to achieve as an artist?

To move people, to create places of refuge and revelation in the listener’s mind; to be inspired by and collaborate with fellow artists; to find joy and playfulness in my own practice; longevity.

What else do you like to do that you feel contributes to the creativity that you tap into with your music? 

Wild swimming. Reading Paz, Pessoa, Montale, Rilke. Boredom. Being alone. Long conversations with good friends, deep into the night. 

Words by: Jonathan Frahm