Like any unapologetic Gemini, Anna Moon, doesn’t like choosing sides. Instead, the 24- year-old singer, songwriter, performer and powerhouse pop-star-to-be opts to meld the double-edged paradoxes of her personality.
“Duality is my motif,” she says. “My voice, when I sing, is very jazz. The production is very pop. My style is a mixture of modern and old school.” It’s a motif that’s written all over the singer … almost literally. Equal parts glamour and grit, the singer — who’s based in Nashville, but whose musical marriage of vocal jazz and contemporary pop is anything but country — is obsessed with the magnetic allure of classic beauties like Marilyn Monroe and Judy Garland. And yet, her arms bear sleeves of tattoos. “ELEGANCE,” spell the letters inked across her knuckles when she puts up her dukes.
Nothing tells Moon’s story — of a precocious Spice Girls and Britney Spears fan turned Billie Holiday disciple, whose first concert was Taylor Swift — better than the 12 arresting earworms, co-written with husband and songwriter Niko Moon, on her debut album (which is due to drop later this year on Monument Records). The release, riding high on Moon’s 10,000-plus hours of experience writing and singing her own songs — which she started doing at hole-in-the-wall Atlanta area bars at age 13 — distills the singer’s dual obsessions with jazz vocal icons from Frank Sinatra and Josephine Baker to Amy Winehouse, and contemporary pop playlist dominators a la Khalid and Dua Lipa. “When I get ready in the morning, I listen to one of two things: I listen to classical jazz Billie Holiday radio [playlist], or I listen to a What’s Charting radio [playlist],” she says. “For me, and I think you can hear it in my album, everything about me is I love duality, and I love always being updated on what’s happening, but also what’s been. And I think it’s important to always be relevant and well-versed in both.”
As a kid, Moon cut her teeth on the other side of the fourth wall. She discovered music at the age of 8 years old, when her mom enrolled her in theater camp. The singer says the lasting impact of that formative experience, which at an early age led her to discover a deep love and strong knack for writing songs, still informs her artistry and how she presents herself now.
“I’m so proud to be from the south,” says Moon. “I truly feel it’s made me who I am and has given me such a strong foundation. I grew up in a home that really valued education, and parents who always supported me in whatever I was interested in learning. That support and freedom really allowed me to explore music in an indulgent kind of way.” Drawing from influences equal parts contemporary and classic, but with an eagle eye toward the future, Moon’s music offers an infectious, inscrutable blend of sultry, blues-y crooning recommended for fans of Adele and Duffy, with a taste for unabashedly upbeat modern pop. When it comes to the former, like on brokenheartedly whimsical, candlelit listening-room-ready album cuts like “Cry,” “Mr. Valentine” and “Ordinary,” Moon’s anything but a throwback artist, whip stitching big-band orchestration with programmed beats still swing with a modern sheen. And on lit AF club-ready bangers like “XXX,” “Selfish” and “Boomerang” the singer isn’t chasing trends, instead offering them with sassy, versatile, virtuosic vocals that croon with devil-may-care moxie, and coo or cry with a well-honed pop sensibility.
“When it comes to the visuals, and my live show, even the songs themselves — it’s very visual, and that’s on purpose,” the singer explains. “I love the idea of really putting on a show and creating a total aesthetic. … I’m really inspired by old Hollywood even, in that way; it was all so thoughtful.” In an era of increased oversharing on social media, it’s a classic mystique she thinks is worth preserving. “Now it’s like, you see so many sides of people that you lose that mystery a little bit. … There are a lot of sides of me that I do want to share, but I want to be conscious of that as well.”
Moon credits producer Jamie Kenney — a savant-like popsmith with a jazz background, who jumped at the opportunity to guide the record — with helping fuse the many sides of her musical personality in a ways fans of all her many influences have never heard before. “He’s such a visionary, and I’m so excited for the world to get to hear what he’s capable of, because I truly think he’s the next best producer to be,” Moon says of Kenney. “I just think he’s so creative. … There’s so much out there [now]; there’s so much saturation, which is great. But at the same time, it’s really hard to be original and have an original sound within all of that. And I think when you work with someone who is such a mad genius like that, you can really create something that’s in its own lane.”