Anna Schulze
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Anna Schulze

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2001

Los Angeles, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2001
Solo Pop Rock




"BMI’s February Acoustic Lounge Presents Diverse Lineup"

FEBRUARY 4, 2015 Pictured (L–R): Performers Anna Schulze, Vanessa Zamora and Craig Paddock. -

"Popular Music seniors ready to take center stage"

The University of Southern California Thornton School of Music’s Popular Music program will celebrate the accomplishments of the class of 2014 with the second-annual senior showcase Monday, April 7 at The Troubadour in West Hollywood.

The showcase, which features a variety of student performers and bands, is the capstone performance for graduating seniors.
This year’s graduating seniors represent a diverse selection of performing styles and musical genres, including folk rock, R&B and pop. Performers at the showcase will include: Caitlin Notey, a singer-songwriter who fronts the folk pop outfit, Huxlee; Aman Alem and James Brownstein, members of the student-formed indie rock band House Fire; and Anna Schulze, a songwriter and guitarist who performs acoustic pop.

“I’ve always wanted to play the Troubadour,” said Schulze. “It’s very exciting to play in the same venue that James Taylor and Carole King made famous.”

Founded in 2009 and hailed by Rolling Stone as “the cutting-edge department that’s become the site of Los Angeles’ most productive new music scenes,” the Popular Music Program is a unique music degree for the rock, pop, R&B, folk, Latin and country artist.
Each class is highly selective and limited to 25 talented songwriters, vocalists, and instrumentalists who enroll from all regions of the United States. The size of the program allows for close collaboration between students, many of whom have not performed with other musicians before arriving at USC Thornton.

“I’ve done a little bit of everything with everyone,” said Alem. “The program makes it very easy to find people to collaborate with. I now have an amazing network of musicians and friends that will be my peers and colleagues for the rest of my life.”

Brownstein, Alem’s bandmate, echoes this sentiment, adding that the program’s exclusive nature forces students to produce work of the highest caliber.

“The program tries to recognize potential in the students who are admitted,” he said. “It’s incredibly competitive, but in the most supportive way possible. We all push each other. The competition brings out the best in everyone.”

Current students and alumni of the program have secured recording and publishing contracts, won competitions, released well-regarded EPs and albums, placed songs in films and television, launched successful national tours, and received a Latin GRAMMY nomination. Students attribute the success of the Popular Music program’s alumni to the skills taught in the program’s courses.

“I feel the program has prepared me for than just performing as Huxlee,” Notey explained. “I now feel comfortable going into a session and writing for another artist. You’re given the tools you need to go into any sort of situation in the music industry.”

“It teaches you a craft and an approach,” added Schulze. “I hadn’t done a lot of performance before I came to the program, and my classes forced me to step into a different role and tap into something I didn’t know existed within me. It’s very empowering.”

The USC Thornton Popular Music program Senior Showcase is free and open to the public. For more information on the event and to see a full lineup of performers, please visit the Senior Showcase page. - USC News

"USC Thornton musicians open for The Beach Boys"

“Lindsay,” written by senior Anna Schulze, is “a darker commentary on Lindsay Lohan and fame,” the composer said. She submitted two original songs and was thrilled to make the cut.

“I grew up listening to The Beach Boys, and this is such a great opportunity for us,” Schulze said. - USC News

"Song Placement on MTV's "Awkward""

"The Sea" by Anna Schulze in Season 1, Episode 3 : The Way We Weren't. - MTV

"Anna Schulze talks Minnesota roots, songwriting and her latest EP"

At an early October show at Tommy's Place in L.A., Anna Schulze performed an entrancingly powerful set with guitarist Devon Eisenbarger—both students at USC's Thornton School of Music. A month and half later, the saccharine-voiced songstress invited me to cozy up in her homey living room, where she detailed her philosophies about the power of songwriting and how her passion for music came to life.

I found two records by a younger Anna on iTunes—the first an EP called Bigger Than Me and the second an LP titled Perfect Sound. Did you first realize music was your calling when you recorded Bigger Than Me?
No, actually. I had an album before then, but thank god it wasn’t on iTunes! I recorded [my first album] in 5th grade. I first started playing guitar in 4th grade, and took piano lessons before then. One day, I just had it [with piano]. I went up to my mom and said, “You know what, I can’t do this classical piano stuff anymore." We found a coupon for guitar lessons, and I started playing [and writing] in 4th grade. I vividly remember the first time I picked up my guitar. I just wrote a song. I didn’t really know how to play chords, so I just plucked open strings that sounded good together and wrote this song called “My Friend.” It was funny to see how the arch of my subject matter has changed. When I go back, it’s like seeing little snapshots of my life. I think I really committed to music [when I went] to college for it. Music was always something that was there, and I knew I loved to do it, but there are so many other things I loved to do that I felt informed it, too. I didn’t really consider pursuing music seriously until I came to school and saw [L.A,]. People don’t necessarily take music as a path—it isn’t standard amongst my friends in Minnesota. Coming here, I found that people are creative for a living. You can be a musician and pursue your craft.

Did you ever have formal training?
I took guitar lessons all the way through elementary school, middle school, and high school. I was in choir, too, in middle school, and concert choir and chamber singers in high school. I was a choir nerd! That’s basically my formal training. I’m so thankful for them because you learn how to project and also blend very well.

If you were to describe your music in one word, what would it be and why?
I think I have two sides to my music. I have this kind of Americana, rootsy vibe which I love. I love just getting up and playing—even with my electric guitar—a song and delivering the song. My music is about the craft of the song. Especially in my performances, people are always coming up on stage and back. We’ll put together a band some day because I have some songs that are just rock-driven and could go super bluesy, but also could be kind of punk. So I guess the word for my music is cross-collateral.

Would you like to remain a one-woman act, or perform in a band?
I have thought about this a lot these last couple of months and weeks. I think on stage, I want to be the writer. I’m open to writing with other people, but I think there’s a power to being a singular female artist onstage with an electric guitar, with a band behind you. Sometimes you can kick [the band] off and play an acoustic song and totally give yourself up to the crowd, which I think is one of the most vulnerable positions to be in. I love it because you can tell its an energy that people feed off of each other; when all of a sudden you just wipe off everything from behind you and it’s like, “Okay, push me over or take me in. This is what I got.” I think I want to obviously work creatively with my band, too.

Tell me about your 6 String & Me EP. What's the significance of the title?
The EP was my first recorded release since Perfect Sound, which was recorded when I was in eighth grade. So it was kind of the culmination of a lot of my writing throughout high school and the first couple years of college. It’s not necessarily a comprehensive concept as an EP. I would consider it as a group of well-recorded songs that I released together. The name of the EP came from the song on it that I wrote basically as my ode to L.A. It’s kind of my realization that I have a newfound life in L.A. and an appreciation that regardless of where I am, I have my music to sustain me and to be around.

Which artists have the greatest influence on you and your musical style?
I grew up listening to Sheryl Crow—her early stuff is some of my favorite stuff ever. Liz Phair’s early stuff as well. I like Death Cab for Cutie; I think Ben Gibbard is a brilliant writer. i’ve gotten into Dan Wilson—he’s a Minneapolis guy. He’s the lead singer of Semisonic, that “Closing Time” song. He [also] wrote “Someone Like You” by Adele. I love 9'0s Pixies and The Smiths. I think my music is really informed by a lot of different angles, but geez, I love Top 40 stuff like Katy Perry. I’m a believer in good songs and good music. But Sheryl Crow, Liz Phair—those are kind of my roots.

Speaking of Dan Wilson, how is the Minneapolis music scene? You grew up there.
You know, I didn’t appreciate it until I came to L.A. and went back. It’s a really cool scene. Prince has his roots there, his studio there. It’s got a big songwriting scene, but right now it’s kind of a hip-hop scene, like Brother Ali and Atmosphere. I love Minneapolis because the crowds are so loyal; the fans are so loyal to their Minneapolis guys, these kind of dark singer-songwriters with upbeat melodies. There are a couple really cool local people who I admire and would love to play with some day when I go back and tour or something.

Talk to me a bit about your songwriting process. How does the songwriting process usually go for you? Does it start with lyrics, or melodies? What comes first?
I don’t think there’s a formula. That’s one thing that has really strengthened my writing over the last couple of years. That is, breaking the mold and trying out new ways. I have a lot of voice recordings. Sometimes it’s at night or sometimes I’m in the car and I’ll record a little melody that comes to mind. Sometimes it starts with a snippet like that, sometimes it’s lyrics in the notes of my phone, even writing a poem. I got really into sitting down and trying to write a song all the way through without going to my guitar. Just kind of hearing it, really developing it and conceptualizing it. The coolest feeling is then going to your guitar because you can do literally anything with [the song]. You have this melody and you can capture it the way you want to. I write mostly on guitar, but sometimes I go to bass or record on ProTools and do funky stuff like that. I think the process is informed from all angles. It’s really about being perceptive to keeping your eyes open. Things will come at you.

One of your songs has been featured on the MTV show Awkward. Tell me about that.
It was season one episode three. I ended up getting connected with the music editor for the show. I was interning at the indie label Dangerbird Records that summer, which was a very fruitful thing. I ended up getting connected with a lot of music supervisors. I sent one of the editors some tracks from Perfect Sound, which had just been released, and he said he was into “The Sea.” The awesome thing was that it ended up being source music. They even mentioned the song in one of the scenes. It’s at the very end, and I’m on the radio.

So you're at a concert, and the lead singer is nowhere to be found. You get called up to replace the lead. What band would you want it to be?
Sheryl Crow would be my first choice. If I were thinking in terms of audiences liking me just as much as the person who they came to see. If I was thinking more modern, honestly even Katy Perry. I think that she is all about songwriting and what she presents is so genuine. I think the reason why her lyrics and her songs are so effective is that she is so poignant with who she is and what she wants to do. Or John Mayer!

Who would you like to collaborate with in the future, besides your influences?
I would love to do a little bit of—and I know this is not as unique anymore post Lorde-phase—a collaboration between a folk, more singer-songwriter thing and hip hop or R&B, veering toward that Avicii “Wake Me Up” kind of vibe. I think that’s something of the future that could be a cool avenue to explore. Especially since there are so many people at USC who are good at that stuff and that’s kind of their primary thing. I mean, I would just as much love to collaborate—and have actually—with other students, too. I think there is so much talent all over, you know? It’s that same thing of keeping your eyes open for what makes sense at the time and what stands out to you. I interned at Atlantic Records last summer, and one of the engineers sends me tracks. I do top lines over them—vocals, melody. You kind of have a dialogue over what to change. I just love to write. I’m in love with the process itself and making people feel.

If you could perform at any festival, international or in the U.S., which would it be?
It’s funny because I’ve never been a festival person. I was totally oblivious to the scene at Coachella until two years ago. I think I’d like to do Outside Lands or Bonnarro, or even 10,000 Lakes in Minneapolis, where I saw Dave Matthews and John Mayer play.

Do you have any upcoming gigs?
I’m performing at Room 5 on December 6th at 7 p.m. That’s going to be more of an acoustic, Tommy’s Place type performance, with piano and some percussion. Looking ahead—and I’ve been focusing on how I want to launch forward from USC as an artist—I want to put together a band with a drummer and bassist, more of a full band arrangement that can make my songs that crave this come to life, and make it a bigger live sound. I think I’ll probably play more around the Hollywood area next semester to feel it out a little bit and see if that’s my avenue. I’ve been doing a lot of recording. I've been recording with Glen Ballard through Thornton's Board of Councilors' Mentorship Program, he worked a lot with Alanis Morissette. We’re going to release some stuff this upcoming spring.

So you’re working on new music now?
Yeah, I’ve been mainly writing and developing, that side of stuff. It’s been fun because it informs live performance stuff, too.

Do you want to remain independent or sign to a label in the future?
I’ve been around [that idea] a lot since I’ve interned at many labels. I think it all depends on the deal. Promotion wise, that’s what labels are nowadays. They are mechanisms for increasing your fan base, distributing your product and booking shows. They’re not anything they were pre-2000s, when they developed artists. So I think I’m open. I’m also interested in maybe being signed to a publishing company. I love production as well. It all depends on which avenue best facilitates me pursuing what’s best for me.

Tell me about the craziest show you've played.
There are a couple. I played at the state fair in Minnesota when I was a freshman in high school. At the Minnesota state fair, everything is on a stick, people are running around with turkey legs, there are deep fried candy bars! But, it was for a crowd of 2,000 people. In contrast, I just opened for The Beach Boys here at USC. That was crazy in an entirely different realm. That audience was probably a similar size to the state fair's audience, but very different. Being able to walk off stage and have Mike Love shake my hand and say, “That was really powerful!” melted me. That was definitely a highlight.

How do you know when you’ve got a song right?
[Anna laughs]. The songwriter’s dilemma. That’s, like, literally the infinity sign. It’s funny because I heard someone say this once and I think it makes sense: it’s like looking at a picture. All of a sudden, you zoom in and draw on certain parts, and then slowly, as you’re making final touches, it starts to get bigger. You start to step away until you see the final product. There are some songs that this never happens to. I’ve had songs that I’ve rewritten four times and I play them and think, “That’s not it!” It’s usually lyrically when it doesn’t come together. You have those songs in your back pocket and it’s sometimes kind of fun because you know you can pull them out, sit down and say, “Maybe this is the day!” It’s frustrating sometimes, but that’s the joy of it. You can always get better, and it’s like a sport sometimes. I’m an athlete too, so it’s something I approach with that kind of mentality. It’s like an exercise that you keep working through. Maybe you write one crappy song, but that crappy song has one line that sparks this whole new song. It’s very fluid.

Yeah, it’s all about enjoying the suffering.
Exactly! Songwriting is your gift to give to other people, so why not do it in joy? It’s what you have to give to the world, and that’s the most powerful, but patient thing that you have to evolve with as you grow.

Get tickets to Schulze's upcoming show at Room 5 here and listen to her EP on Bandcamp or ReverbNation. - IndieU

"Feature on "The Blend""

"Don't You Fade Away" - Anna Schulze - WDIY NPR Radio 88.1


"Don't You Fade Away" (Single) December 2015
6 String & Me (EP) - 2012
Perfect Sound (LP) - 2008
Bigger Than Me (EP) - 2005
Open Your Eyes (LP) - 2001



Anna Schulze is a Minnesota native singer-songwriter and guitarist whose music oscillates between raw pop and indie rock. Schulze has been writing and performing since she picked up her first (nylon string) guitar at age 9. At 24, she has released two albums and two EPs to date. In 2010, she set west to study Popular Music at the University of Southern California, and over the next few years was given the opportunity to open for the Beach Boys, work with mentor and Grammy Award-winning producer and songwriter, Glen Ballard, and perform at the legendary Troubadour with her band. 

Schulze currently lives in Los Angeles where she frequents the local music scene both solo and with her band. Her recent single, "Closer," has received attention from local radio stations as the second single off her upcoming album "Pickford Market," released in February 2016.

As a songwriter, Schulze aspires to create songs that resonate universally: "I write because I want to make people feel. I want to give people the permission that they don’t give themselves; permission to cry, to laugh, to question, to wonder, to escape, to smile, to be alone, to dance, and to lose and find themselves in the moment.”

Band Members