Hot List: Anna Calvi
By Jason Lamphier
Anna Calvi's scorching guitar rock is the sort of bluesy, ballsy summer soundtrack that works its way into your system like a drug: It's slow-burning, but after a few listens comes the rush. If songs like 'Desire' and 'Suzanne and I' feel almost cinematic in scope -- all blazing sunsets and life-changing drives through the desert canyons -- it's not coincidental. The 28-year-old U.K. singer-songwriter says she's very inspired by film (she cites Gus Vant Sant's My Own Private Idaho as one of her favorites) and aims to create music that fully envelops her listeners. "For me, in terms of music, I really want there to be a lot of dynamics, moments of real intimacy but then moments of feeling like an experience can go on forever, like it's really epic," Calvi says. "To have both extremes is something I'm really trying to do."
And though she's one of the most striking new female musicians to break this year (her self-titled debut album is available now), Calvi doesn't shy away from what many would consider less than appealing. Her vocals -- at times reminiscent of Edith Piaf, at others PJ Harvey -- range from barely there whispers to operatic wailing (see: 'The Devil'). "I feel fearless when I'm singing," she says. "I just find expressing myself through music the most natural thing I could ever do. It makes me feel almost like I've gone into a trance."