We had the good fortune of connecting with Anastasia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Anastasia, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I’ve achieved what I have thus far because I stick to it. Throughout my journey as an artist – and as a human – sheer determination has won out against self-doubt, failure, rejection, and uncertainty. My goals may change or evolve over time, but my hunger for achieving them does not. And the longer and harder I stick to it, the better I get at trusting my own judgment. The only solution is to keep going. Place one foot in front of the other.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My medium is words. As a writer, it is my job to paint a picture or evoke an emotion with language. When I really discovered Rap in the late 80s/early 90s, it occurred to me that I could easily paint a picture with words, but that I could also enhance and embellish that picture with rhythm or melody or cadence. This perspective and respect definitely bleeds into my all of work. The goal is constant growth. So, for me, each project or release is a case study. With the music, I find out what people actually connect with so that I can make more of that sound. And the same follows for my image, my song concepts, my creative process. Learn what works and implement that. Starting out, I had no idea how much my gender would matter to others. I consider myself a Rap artist who is also a woman. People seemed expect my gender – literally – to color my content, my ability, my presentation in the most predictable ways. And I love shattering those expectations. I hope that people who get to know my story will identify with at least one repeating theme: resilience. There are times when I just don’t want to work, or even think. I allow myself that time, and I enjoy it. When it’s time to get back to work, I take a step in the right direction. Reply to a text. Do a couple squats. Turn on the microphone. Use the momentum!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wouldn’t be the artist I am today without the web of community/cultural institutions of East Austin, TX. Between the schools, churches, libraries, community media, and social circles, I was able to explore my history, discover/create art, and learn to use my voice. There was my elementary school music teacher, Mrs. Harris, who brought me into her home for private piano lessons on Saturdays. There was Mr. Griffin at the Carver Library, who helped teach us respect for books and literature (and how to use inside voices). In high school, Mr. Thomas was the cool young teacher who put video cameras in our hands and empowered us to create our own content and tell our own stories. I consider myself a patchwork of many influences and investments from so many amazing people and places.
Michael “Blue” Smith Rashad White Dan2TheL