For Sincerely Anne music has just always been part of what she did and who she was. Her parents made her learn the violin and piano from a very young age. Because she was home schooled, she was able to focus a lot of her energy on getting good at music and today, she is a brilliant artist who writes her own music.
From orchestras and singing groups in varsity, to a band in which she played the violin, did backing vocals, played some piano and even some percussion, she’s certainly a force to be reckoned with in the music industry. She played in the band for five years and in 2017 she decided to go solo – a brave step in her career.
About home schooling
Sincerely Anne opens up about being home schooled and says that it was interesting. “I think, if I look back, I’m very grateful for that,” she says. Still, for a large part of her life she wished that she hadn’t been home schooled. She did eventually go to a school for the last four years. “I think if you socialise your children well, it can be quite nice actually,” she continues. “I think the schooling system has got a lot of good things in it, but I also think sometimes you force children to do things that they’re not good at and they don’t enjoy it. With homeschooling you can focus on the things the child enjoys and are good at. You must still balance it, I think, but when you can focus on what you love, I think that’s priceless.”
She grew up on a farm outside of Heidelberg until she was 17 years old. She studied at North West University and did her honours in Wits. Funnily enough she did not study music – she studied a BSc in Science and did her honours in physiology. When she was at varsity, she spent most of her time doing music, though.
Sincerely Anne says that she accidentally writes her music in different styles. “These days people can consume music not necessarily as a full album. When they stream or even when you have your singles on the radio, it’s really in isolation these days, which is kind of sad at the same time, but it allows me to target different markets.” Even though she believes that a sad song should be coupled with sad music and happy songs should have happy music, she also likes to play around with the music and give sad songs some happy tunes. “The music has to make you feel something. For me, all my life, I would always listen to the music first. The music tells me what to feel, and then the lyrics. So, when I write my lyrics I feel like the music is just as important and that’s why my songs end up sounding so different,” she says. In general she likes to have a slow, pop-rock kind of vibe attached to her music, with some electronic elements included in the music.
Sincerely Anne says that she was influenced a lot by rock bands like My Chemical Romance, Muse, Keane and Coldplay. Female artists who have also had an influence on her music, include Imogen Heap, Lana Del Rey and Sia. “I’ll find inspiration in Sia’s lyrics or a hook and then I’ll find the musicality of some Lana Del Rey, like the drums.” She says she likes putting all of these puzzle pieces together like a mosaic. “It’s an accident every time!”
About going solo
Sincerely Anne says that going solo was probably one of the scariest things she ever had to do. She had been working full-time as a teacher and had that financial stability and “then I quit my job.” Luckily she has the support of her husband and her parents. She wanted to take it slow and she is also happy that she did. This allowed her to test the water with some YouTube videos and a couple of private functions here and there. “It was a journey of growth and learning to be confident in myself. I was in my mid-twenties and it was a turning point in my life,” she says.
She is now teaching music (violin) as well. “Even people who have made it, are still working to make it. From the outside you may think that someone’s made it, but there is still a lot of work, a lot of planning, a lot of testing, a lot of uncertainty actually behind the scenes.” Still, she’s happy she went solo and she is making it work.
“I don’t want anyone to say: ‘I told you so,'” she says. “That’s something that also keeps me going. It’s also myself – I don’t want to have to say to myself: ‘I told you so.'”
Being brave enough to release songs and to invest in herself has been one of Sincerely Anne’s biggest achievements in her solo career.
Women and success
For her, the hardest part up until now was to trust herself. “You always want to ask people for help and ask them how to do something, when in actual fact you can just do it yourself. Just to get that confidence in your own knowledge. We need to trust ourselves and be willing to make mistakes.” Sincerely Anne says that women are often encouraged to play it safe, but that you don’t have to always play it safe.
“Learn. Make mistakes. Just grow from it.”
She’s performed with the likes of Joshua na die Reën, Ard Matthews, Justin Serrao and more. Throughout her career, playing the violin, she has also been part of the opening acts for people like Matthew Mole, Shortstraw and Shaun Jacobs. She also played violin for Connell Cruise at one point and played in the orchestra for the production, Pers Reën.
“You somtimes forget that you’ve shared the stage with some really talented people.”
Her single, Transcend
Sincerely Anne’s latest single, Transcend, was inspired by various factors, including her 7-year battle with an unknown condition that was later diagnosed as long-term tick bite fever or Lime Disease. It has been affecting her ability to perform, mostly having an impact on her muscles and would flare up every now and again. The back and forth of getting better, planning, rebuilding, just to have it return and having to get up and rebuild again was what inspired the song. “When it rains, it pours, you know?” she aptly remembers the lyrics. Later, she realised that her inner being was changing and the disease was not getting her as down as before. She was living harder and more passionately because of it. “There was uncertainty. I did not know for how much longer I would be able to do what I want to do.” In this time, she also lost a friend to a violent crime and it was such a shame for him to die. “It should be a shame to die. People need to live. You can’t be a blob,” says Sincerely Anne. “He inspired me to follow my dreams, regardless of what I was struggling with, because now is what I’ve got. So, use now before it’s gone.”
“I also wanted to have my journey inspire other people. To grow from it. You can take a terrible situation and you can grow something beautiful from it. You can inspire others. You have a story and you’re stronger,” she says. “Allow it to make you grow.”
The video of the song also portrays the feeling of “when it rains it pours”; being swept under the waves. Sometimes it rains so much that you’re under water, can’t breathe and feel trapped. “It just had to be underwater.” The video also shows growth and coming out of the water, but also going back into the water, because that’s just life. “The storms in life don’t necessarily magically disappear,” she says.
This is definitely the one song that she feels have inspired her and other people most. Particularly in 2020. “A lot of people are struggling with mental health and losing their jobs.” The song might be about her storm, but everyone has a storm and the song is written in a way that it’s not about her storm, but about a storm that anyone can relate to.
Sincerely Anne dreams about a large crowd singing her songs with her and touring overseas with her music.
Today’s music industry
“If you want to write your own music, it takes a lot of research and a lot of introspection. You have to know what you want and you have to find your niche. Finding your niche, I think, is the most important.” Sincerely Anne says in today’s music industry you need to be different. “If you want to be a rock band, you can still do it, but be different. Find something that’s going to make you stand out.”
In South Africa, she says it is important to diversify yourself and your skill set. Making your own videos if you can, teaching music on the side…
“The only way to find out where your niche is, is to just start the journey.”