Meet the talent from Songtradr Showcase. Garage Rocker Anna Carmela of Thrift, Folk Pop artist VanRiss, and singer/songwriter Kole.

Lead singer of garage rock band, Thrift sitting in chair.

Kyle Warner: You’ve got a really badass sound with Thrift, who/what are some of your influences that led you to play this old school garage rock style?

Anna Carmela of Thrift: There are so many influences for Thrift – ranging from The Rolling Stones to Lady Gaga to Bessie Smith to Prince to Judy Garland to Nine Inch Nails… I love all types of music and like to experiment fusing different genres – mainly pop, disco, and garage rock – to create what I call “dirty disco.”

KW: Your style of music really lends itself to live performance, judging from some of your Twitter mentions you guys are great at it, is giving fans a memorable something you put a strong emphasis on?

ACoT: I definitely put a strong emphasis on the live shows. Performing is my favorite part about being in the band. I always try to think about how I feel as an audience member at other shows and what I would want to see live. The biggest thing I want to make sure of is that I allow myself to be vulnerable. I want people to feel comfortable in the audience, so I need to make sure I feel comfortable when I’m performing. In the future, I’d like to add another dimension to the live performances. I started my musical endeavors by doing theatre, and I want to add dramatic elements with a storyline and lighting at some point to Thrift shows


Folk Singer holding guitar.

Kyle Warner: You’ve had some very impressive placements. Do you feel these placements have been an instrumental part of growing your fanbase?

VanRiss: Beyond increase my fanbase, licensing has offered me a sustainable marketing and recording budget without the overhead of live performances or slow scalability of selling fixed-price MP3s.

KW: Writing for sync is not an easy thing to do. Do you actively think about “sync-ability’ when writing songs or you think it’s just a natural byproduct of your sound?

VR: It’s important to me that songs start from an intimate perspective. I choose to write within a pop structure but I believe listeners value authenticity in art even more than originality or formulas. My new album, “Every Streetlight and Every Turn”was very intentionally written for “sync-ability” but I kept it at the end of the lyrical or mixing process.


Pop star posing with pay phone.

Satya Fuentes: We’re so excited about the release of your upcoming EP! You have such a unique sound that is reminiscent of classic songwriters such as Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon while also incorporating elements of R&B and funk. Could you speak a little about how you would describe your genre and what artists have influenced your writing style?

Kole: Thanks! I’m inspired by so many artists, musicians, and writers – artists like Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon introduced me to the “art of song,” and really kickstarted my love of lyrics. After starting at UCLA, friends of mine showed me artists like Hiatus Kaiyote, D’Angelo, and James Blake – and that led me towards legends like Etta James and Billie Holiday. The sound for this project was heavily influenced by artists new and old, from Prince and Michael Jackson classics to contemporary artists like Daft Punk, AlunaGeorge, Sinead Harnett, Tom Misch, Jorja Smith – I could go on and on!

SF: You’ve also mentioned you work as a songwriter for other artists. How does your approach to writing for other people differ from how you write for yourself?

Kole: When I’m in a room with another artist, I make sure to synthesize and absorb as much as I can about their story, what’s going on in their life, and their voice – (Where does their voice fit comfortably? Is there room in the song for their voice to cut through and shine?). I always ask about their influences, musical heroes, and what they’re listening to at the time of the session. I try to keep those main ideas in mind during the session, referencing back to the identity of the artist as much as I can. At the end of the day, a good song is simultaneously entirely relatable and extremely personal, so rather than putting myself in “someone else’s shoes,” I find a common, emotional ground (two people’s experiences can be completely different, but they often experience similar emotional responses) and play off of that as much as I can.

SF: As you continue to develop your career, how do you think sync and licensing will play a role in how you approach future writing and projects?

Kole: I believe that sync and licensing are two of the most important components of an independent artists career. It is such a powerful tool for marketing, growing, and introducing songs and artists to the public, and in some cases, a beautiful example of combining two forms of art. I’m a huge proponent of pushing for finding a place for songs in sync, whether as promotion for a single or as a home for unreleased songs. I know that I’ll be working to find homes for my songs in sync as long as I keep writing them!


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