Anna Wise lends her infectious vocals to celebrate women on her debut EP Feminine: Act I. Over the span of 7 tracks, she touches on topics like wage equality, slut-shaming and feminine sensuality. Wise has journeyed through her musical career from being apart of the group SonnyMoon and has laid down stellar vocals on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly and Untitled albums. Here, she makes it clear that on her first solo project, her mission is to embrace femininity and also challenge the repressive constructs that limit women. While making the project, Wise also used Stem, a platform that allows all contributors to receive compensation in an affective and timely manner. Over an email, The FADER spoke with Wise about the layers of being a woman, embracing sensuality, the deeper meaning in her music and what inspired the song, “BitchSlut.”
What does the awareness that you have about yourself as a woman allow you tap into or access creatively?
ANNA WISE: Well I appreciate this vessel that chose me in this lifetime. Its definitely one of my favorites. But because I access the multidimensional aspects of my awareness I pull inspiration and creativity direct from Source. Being a woman necessitates an ability to straddle polarities at once: strong/soft/fierce/vulnerable/tenacious/patient etc. Each of us have a body to draw awareness from. In what ways are you aware of yours?
You’re embracing femininity and power by also showing your sensuality. How does that speak to some of the limitations that women face as artists?
Every woman’s sensuality is valid and important. While my songs and videos have an obvious reading which is “hey it’s ok to love our bodies” there is a deeper meaning which is, all of this is an illusion. As women, we are all so often aware that our experiences are validated and evaluated through the prism of patriarchy.
The song, “BitchSlut” addresses the some of the double standards that women face. Is there a specific situation that inspired this song? What was it?
One warm California afternoon, I was 11 years old and walking home from school. I was alone. A car full of older men drove up behind me. One of the men hung out the window and shouted, “I wanna put my tongue in your pussy, you little slut!” I responded with a middle finger. They responded with “fucking bitch!” and drove away. I walked the rest of the way home crying. About a block away from my house I dried my eyes and went inside with a smile.
Your sound is comprised of so many different sounds? What influences your willingness to experiment?
I crave change and progress and I’m attracted to weirdness.
You’ve spent so much time creating with Kendrick Lamar. How does he inspire you?
Kendrick inspires me with his poised demeanor, his work ethic, his openness to the other dimensions and realms, and his kindness. Plus he’s observant in a way most people are not, he feels your thoughts. When I’m with him I feel like I’m fulfilling a past-life contract.
You admit to speaking in metaphors a lot. How would you metaphorically explain the process of making this project?
Let’s disregard metaphor here and talk about the heart of the matter. As an artist you try to start out making your music and soon you realize no matter what a woman’s perspective in 2016 is going to still be parsed, dissected, and interpreted as a woman’s perspective, not simply as human experience. There is no way to tell my story as a woman without making the personal political, without speaking in metaphor. I work in hopes one day this will no longer be the case.
On your debut EP as a solo artist, what do you want listeners and fans to learn about you?
That I love pussy.
What do you want to inspire in them?
Confidence to ask for what they deserve. Silliness to laugh at (and with) it all.