On the Couch with Anya Anastasia

Anya Anastasia photo by Kate Pardey PhotographyWho is Anya Anastasia?
An Australian Cabaret performer, writer and singer.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
Hmm… Everything is changing every day. I’m trying to keep up and keep thinking. Every time I write a show, an element of the creative process and motivation is about working something out regarding who I am, and looking at this changing world that we live in. I suppose this means every day I’m trying to be better than I was yesterday, and trying to gain a little more knowledge. Be more aware, weed out the bad bits of me, and keep finding the magic.

It would be easier to answer the question “tomorrow, what will you do the same as you did today?” to which my answer would be… I will most definitely still be singing. Apart from that, who knows? This week alone, I’ve slept in a yurt in NSW, a little house in Preston, and on a yoga mat in my studio, and had a conversation that changed the way I see the world for the last 6 days in a row.

Who inspires you and why?
My grandma Audrey Windram. She’s a mover and a shaker. A thinker and a doer. She is always thinking about her community: locally, nationally, internationally: her fellow humans, every single one. Such empathy, such consideration for people and the environment, and CONSTANT action, from little things to big dreams. Inspiring people through a conversation, or embarking on a great big project. How to right the wrongs, how to make people feel connected. She’s a hero.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
My reflections at the moment are around how music and song can inspire empathy, and connect people to themselves, their communities, the environment.  If my work as a singer and performer can connect people with a deep feeling in themselves, the sort that can hit you in the chest but also allow you to laugh and see how universal some of these things are, then I hope that can plant seeds to inspire this connectedness in community near and far, and that may inform how we carry ourselves in the world and what imposed structures we resist to shape a world we want. I also want to invite people to question the world, cabaret and burlesque has the ability to do this in an entertaining way through satire and parody.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
I love Darwin. My friends and the people I meet there have a great relationship with the natural environment, and really explore and live in the wild elements of the tropics. I love the climate, the lifestyle and the personalities. A different pace, and a very different world, especially when you get out to some of the beautiful national parks.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
I’m a big fan of a day-trip to the Dandenongs, so beautiful. Or, I love the Edinburgh Gardens when it’s sunny, people out and about just doing their thing. Also I think it is a typically Melbourne experience is a bar to listen to live music, have a few beers on say a Sunday afternoon. There are some incredible bands playing around the traps at the moment. That’s a nice thing to share with visitors.

What are you currently reading?
I’m revisiting the Earthsea Quartet by Ursula Le Guin. So good.

What are you currently listening to?
Diamanda Galas, Yma Sumac, Shirley Bassey, Elena Kats-Chernin. They’re each serving a specific purpose.

Happiness is?
Writing and playing music in a place that has natural surroundings. With people to share that experience with. That’s pretty much the ultimate.

What does the future hold for you?
I’m just going to keep doing it. Writing shows, singing, performing. Discovering.

Anya will be presenting Rogue Romantic: Serenades from a Delinquent Diva as part of the 2016 Melbourne Cabaret Festival, at The Space: 23 – 25 June. For more information, visit: www.melbournecabaret.com or  www.anyaanastasia.com for details.

Image: Anya Anastasia – photo by Kate Pardey Photography