Mustard had the pleasure of speaking with London’s Annabell. Together we discussed their relationship with music, their creative process, their thoughts on Nando’s, their upcoming single “Hell”, and so much more!


1. Mustard is thankful to have you join them at Music Shelf. How are you today?

I’m great, thank you, hope everyone is well too. Thanks for having me on here. I’ve had a busy week with lots of music and other work happening!

2. Mustard wonders what was your relationship with music growing up? Can you recall a favorite early memory with music?

So, I really loved music growing up – I have sang in classical and church choirs since I was 8 years old and always loved singing! I was always generally more shy though at singing as I learnt violin, then cello up until the end of uni. My parents were really supportive of me learning music and trying different instruments! Therefore, throughout school I thought of myself as more of a classical musician/instrumentalist than a singer.

My favourite early music memory was probably singing in a choir when I was 10 years old! We sang really beautiful music in Salisbury Cathedral and had concerts there. I remember everyone else in the choir was really quiet and there were children there who didn’t even enjoy singing and had been forced to come – but I always loved it, and wanted to sing out and be heard. I think that’s when my love for singing started!

3. When did you begin songwriting? Has your songwriting style changed since you first began?

When I got to the age of 14 though I started to love singing pop covers and I posted them on Soundcloud! I really enjoyed the anonymity of it as well and used to do it secretly – so no one I knew really knew I loved singing really! I started writing original songs around that time and copying my favourite artists. I started writing songs at the time with my friend (and German exchange student!) Celine and we both discovered a love for songwriting. We have written so many songs together over the years and we still write together now as well.

I think my songwriting style has definitely matured a lot, although I think I still have a distinctive style that has stuck with me. I really like singing satisfying and soothing melodies so I have always been drawn to those.

4. What is your creative process?

Good question! Well, I can literally be inspired by anything – usually I start writing something off of a strong emotion I’m feeling, or something I’ve witnessed – for example, if a friend is going through something, or I watch a film and think “Wow, that hit me hard!” Some of the time it’s personal, and I’ll take an emotion, or something I’ve experienced and exaggerate it for the sake of the song.

5. Who (or what) influences you?

I do tend to be inspired mostly by female artists who are my age (early 20s) who sing in the industry at the moment – I listen to a lot of indie pop artists that are in the same kind of lane that I’m trying to break into! But I do listen to a lot of different genres as anything can feed into an idea or inspire something for a song I’m writing. 

At the moment, I’m particularly inspired by artists like Maggie Rogers, Ethel Cain and Sophia Alexa. But this changes a lot, I have favourite artists for different moods! I particularly love artists who are songwriters and producers on their tracks as well – I find that so inspiring when they just do it all themselves!

6. You have posted various covers on your Instagram. How do you decide what song to cover? Do you have a favorite? Is there a song you absolutely refuse to cover?

This is a good question actually, as at the moment I’m really finding it difficult to sing good covers – I just feel like I’m focusing mainly on my own original music, so when I go back to a cover I don’t feel like I can do it justice as it’s just that artist’s song! I only really sing covers when I feel it suits my voice – I like doing the classic thing of a stripped back, acoustic cover and slowing the song down a bit!

I think my ultimate favourite song to cover is either ‘Light On’ by Maggie Rogers or ‘Long Sleeves’ by Gracie Abrams as I can just give it all the emotions when I’m singing it. 

7. Mustard has heard a lot about Nando’s. Is this establishment any good? Where do you recommend humans check out in London?

Haha, yes Nando’s is pretty good! At the moment, I’m definitely going through a fried chicken phase. But there are definitely a lot of similar establishments out there 🙂 My personal favourite restaurant at the moment is Flat Iron in London (they do nice steak!) and I go there a LOT.

8. You are tasked to write a song for your favorite BBC Quiz show program. What quiz show do you write a song for and why?

This is probably one that I can’t answer that well as I barely know/watch any BBC quiz shows anymore! But I’d probably go with ‘University Challenge’ though I have no idea in hell how I’d go about writing a song for that – it’s already got an incredible theme tune so I can’t really do it justice… I can also never answer about 90% of the questions despite having been a uni student myself – but its definitely worth a watch!

9. In 2020 you released “Always.” What was the inspiration behind this single? What do you find yourself always thinking about?

So, my single ‘Always’ was a song I wrote ages ago with my friend Celine! She was inspired one day by two characters (Lily and Snape) from Harry Potter and sent me the lyrics one day out of the blue. I was sceptical about how to make it into a song, but quickly found a melody idea had formed in my mind – and I honestly think it’s the fastest song I’ve ever written! It just flowed and within 2 days I had written a full demo. It was the first time I’ve felt like that with a song and I think that’s what makes ‘Always’ so special to me as it was definitely a turning point in my songwriting where I grew a lot in confidence! 

We wanted the song to be a really heart breaking story of love and loss, and we hope that anyone listening can either relate or ball their eyes out to it!

10. Mustard has observed that not all humans are sympathetic. Why do you think this is? How did sympathy inspire your song of the same name?

‘Sympathy’ was definitely an interesting concept for a song. I just had this one line ‘I wish I could’ve lived through all your problems’ stuck in my head. I think I was trying to say in the song that I did sympathise with a situation someone I knew was going through, but it was also so hard to understand everything behind it and all the layers – the anxiety, depression or other emotions. So it was a frustrating situation where I really felt for them but also didn’t know how to help. Also, sometimes it’s hard to be sympathetic or empathetic towards everyone as we all have things going on in our lives that are difficult to deal with.

I hope the song brings some peace to anyone who listens and maybe some people can relate to feeling this way – either from my perspective or from the perspective of the person feeling all of it.

11. “You write like you’re in another world. Could you write me in?” Could you elaborate more on this lyric?

That lyric was another random thought I had! I really loved making up a story for my song ‘Write Me In’! In my mind, it feels like a woman just wants to be seen and for her lover to include her as a character in the book he is writing – he writes about all the other women in his life, but not about her. It’s basically a metaphor for waiting around for someone to realise that you’re the thing that’s missing from their life. The song starts calm and gets more dramatic as she becomes more and more frustrated. 

12. The end of 2022 saw the release of your single “preschool.” What is the education system like in London? Did your own preschool experience influence this song?

Funnily enough, ‘preschool’ is really unrelated to what you think it would be about – it’s not actually about being back in school! 

It’s just a song in which I wanted to convey how you can sometimes feel like you’ve been patronised, or made to feel like you’re a child by someone else. I’ve definitely been put in the situation where someone treated me like a child who wanted attention. Sometimes you realise that you do deserve better than how you’re being treated, and writing the song was definitely a way for me to find an soothing, but empowering response, where I said “I won’t let this affect me and you don’t have power over me”.

13. How would you describe your live performance?

Live performance is definitely something I’m working on making happen more this year! I only did a few open mic gigs last year, and I’ve always been pretty shy around performing! However, I do love performing an acoustic set live as I feel it adds an extra layer of emotion to my songs – I can’t wait to do more of that this year! Check out my insta: anna_bellmusic for more info on when I’m playing live 🙂

14. What can fans expect from your upcoming single “Hell?”

Yes! ‘Hell’ is out on Friday 10th February, and it’s definitely a bit of a different one as it’s less acoustic than my other songs.  It’s an indie pop track with raw and emotional vocals and we really went for it in the production. ‘Sad but upbeat’ is how I’d describe it – you can expect to hear some nice punchy drums and guitar!e?

15. Where can readers listen to your music?

ou can find my music on all streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Amazon etc…) by searching ‘Annabell’.

Here is the link to my Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/2fLLvnXpeib5cTbBacon4r?si=Lux347khTtSu4IdJDn20Ew

Feel free to give me a follow on there, and a follow on Instagram too: Anna_bellmusic

You can also reach me by sending me a message on insta – I’m always up for chatting & connecting with you 🙂

Management: High Plateau Productions (email: david@highplateauproductions.com)

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