Personal Touches: An Interview with Annika Catharina

by - March 12, 2024

Photo courtesy of Annika Marie Brown

As Annika Catharina made her way to the studio one day last summer, she had an idea about what she wanted to write about. When she arrived, however, her producers had a different idea. Known as The Renaissance, Dan Botch and Garrett Ward showed her a song written by Brettyn Rose with an incredibly catchy chorus. Catharina was immediately sold.

What If I” was wildly similar to what she originally wanted to write about that day. Her and her team agreed that she should personalize the lyrics and they brought in Parker Graye to co-write. Catharina’s idea of a past friendship that never had the chance to blossom into something more quickly took shape.

Graye is not only a friend and collaborator, but is an incredible artist and mentor. When Catharina first delved into the business side of the music industry, Graye was there to share her wisdom.

“She was the first person that gave me everything she knew of what she’s learned in her 10+ years of being in the industry,” Catharina said. “It was just so helpful for me because I was wanting to do it on my own for as long as I could but I realized there’s just so many other people that you need to build connections with. For someone to just share their knowledge of the industry was super, super helpful and super special.”

Finding the right people to collaborate with allows artists to be vulnerable. The relationships that Catharina has formed with Graye, Botch and Ward have given her the confidence to put herself out there in ways she thought she never would.

“Having them bring that song forward was a dream because the minute I heard it I fell in love and I knew there was something there,” she said. “I feel like every time you put those personal touches into a song you’re not only healing yourself but you’re closing doors on feelings that you never really got the chance to work through in the past.”

“What If I” is a song that showcases a powerhouse vocal she considers both challenging and rewarding. It taps into some of her musical influences - Pink, Kelly Clarkson, Etta James - and allows for that soulfulness that she feels when listening to those artists.

Although the creation process took under a month, it didn’t feel like the right time to release it. She held onto the song, jamming it alone in her car, before deciding to start 2024 on a high note and release it as her first single of the year.

“I was thinking a lot of people are going to relate to this,” she said. “I feel like a lot of people are in these ‘what if’ moments, if it’s relationships, friendships or jobs.”

From climbing on top of hay bales on the family farm and performing stream-of-consciousness medleys to gearing up for an EP release in the next year, Annika Catharina has found that her love for music and performing is stronger than ever.

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