Slovakian singer-songwriter Karin Ann is always working on something. Right now, she’s got a secret project on the way which, she says, it’s an evolution from her previous work – “It’s completely different and I’m super excited for people to hear it!”.
Changing direction isn’t uncommon for Ann. Known for her hybrid style of indie, folk and pop, the artist’s creative stamp is both eclectic and adventurous. Making her debut in 2021, the Gen Z act has become a rising name in Europe winning Best Music Video at the Munich Music Awards and Discovery of the Year at the Žebřík Music Awards, a Czechian awards show, in the same year. Since then, Ann released her second EP, side effects of being human and toured with My Chemical Romance and Yungblud.
With her profile on the rise, Ann has used her platform to speak out on behalf of the community and uses her songs to address topics of mental health, belonging and gender equality.
The singer’s activism extends past her powerful lyrics too. During a live performance on the Polish state broadcaster, TVP, the singer brought onstage a pride flag in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. “It was very difficult for me to be who I am where I grew up (Čadca, Slovakia). I just want people to have something to relate to and to feel safe in,” she says.
Now, following the release of her new alt-pop single, ‘favorite star’, we caught up with Ann to hear more about her musical style and making her mark in Europe and beyond.
For first-time listeners, how would you describe your music style?
I’ve done a lot of different music. I wrote my first EP when I was 15 and my second EP came out when I was 19. Now I’m 21 and I’ve gone through a lot of change and, naturally, it’s reflected in my music. I used to try to make music that would be taken more seriously than different types of music. I did anything from alternative pop to pop-rock. Now, I feel like I’m going back to basics and to who I am at my core. I’m moving into a folk, 70s-inspired genre and my main focus has been storytelling.
Your new single ‘favorite star’ is out now. What inspired the story behind the song?
I wrote this song recently in London and it’s about how you don’t fully realise the effects that somebody had on you. Whether in relationships or friendships, when you spend a lot of time with somebody and you learn about them. Sometimes, you don’t realise how it affects you and what you end up carrying from that person even if you don’t talk anymore
What inspired the queer premise of the ‘favorite star’ music video?
I’ve filmed two music videos for my songs (‘a stranger with my face’ and ‘favorite star’) back to back. We saw similarities between the songs and how we could show a story that relates to both songs. From the beginning, I didn’t want to do a straightforward idea. We ended up playing around with the idea of a 1950s Hollywood spy story. And, through that, we ended up going down the queer route and taking inspiration from real-life events.
What’s your favourite music memory?
I used to do figure skating and dance, which use music, and I really miss expressing myself through those.
Who are your favourite LGBTQIA+ artists right now?
There are so many! Lately, it’s been Renee Rapp, Halsey, Phoebe Bridgers, Maya Hawke, and Ethel Cain
You speak out about LGBTQIA+ rights in Eastern and Central Europe. For you, why does it feel important to address these topics?
I am a part of the LGBTQIA+ community and, naturally, it is important to me to talk about these issues in mainstream media so the conversation can reach groups outside of the community, which is the only way change can happen. I also grew up in Eastern Europe where it’s not widely accepted to be a part of the community, and I want to create a safe space for [queer] people.
Would you describe this as your creative mission as an artist?
Growing up, I knew how I felt and [I want to create] a safe space for anyone who doesn’t feel like they belong. I always found comfort in music and in the community surrounding musicians. As much as people find community and comfort through my music, it works both ways. They find a community through me and I have a community through them.
‘favorite star’ is out now via 3am Records.