Videos by American Songwriter
ARTIST: Anna Cate
SONG: This Old Radio
HOMETOWN: Wenatchee, WA
CURRENT LOCATION: Palo Alto, CA
AMBITIONS: To be a finisher not just a starter
TURN-OFFS: Clothes that are super cute but too tight to want to wear for more than five minutes
TURN-ONS: Discovering a new place that I love, people who are thoughtful and kind, stories that make me laugh so hard I cry
SONG I WISH I WROTE: “The Story” by Phil Hanseroth
I WROTE THIS SONG: in Seattle. I was living in my own place for the first time, and so I had the ability to really experiment with my music. It was then that I figured out how to shift from classical harp to indie rock harp. I found creative ways to repeat notes, and this song is a good example of that—the eighth notes alternate between the left and right hand, making it more percussive than how the harp would be played traditionally.
The lyrics started out as a sentence I was thinking about. I said it out loud then tried to make a melody that sounded similar. I wrote it in a songwriting journal and later sat down at the harp to fill it out. The chords in the chorus I thought would be filler but ended up staying put. A few days later the harp interlude was woven into it. Each time I played around with the song, it would meander into a new style. By the time I was in the recording studio it was still a free-spirited song, taking on a new shape every hour. The line “You light up the world for me” came around while I was listening back to what was already recorded, and it ended up being repeated like crazy in the song. I still had tons of new ideas every time I heard the song and the producer that I was working with had to draw a line in the sand and say it was good the way it was! What I loved most about the recording was the juxtaposition of the sound of the harp and the sound of the drums.