Chicago singer Anna Agosta took the leap, for which we should all be grateful
January 18, 2018
“I think I always wanted to leap,” said singer Anna Agosta, but it took her awhile to feel comfortable doing so in Chicago.
The Columbia College music major took a big leap in high school when she decided to pursue her artistic goals over attending the same university as her siblings and father. “I had to make a choice of Michigan State or Chicago, which was a choice of music or not choosing music,” she said.
But navigating Chicago’s music scene was a little more challenging, at least initially. Many of Agosta’s classmates released music immediately after arriving in Chicago, but Agosta took the time to observe and absorb. “Since I’ve been here, I’ve just tried to dive in, as much as I could,” she said. She described herself as “the girl in the back of the room that knows nobody and is just standing there, not singing or anything, knowing that is what I wanted to do.”
Agosta attended many of the city’s most lively and popular open mic nights, including The Gala at Canvas, which showcased a cross-genre group of performers. The shows made Agosta question whether she made the right decision to hold back on releasing her music. “I think living in the city and getting out there made me want to rush things, as opposed to knowing what I want to say,” she confessed. But it was a good friend who reminded her everything happens at the right time. “It was my friend Josh who acted as an older brother and mentor,” Agosta began. “He said, you need to do everything one step at a time. You’re doing everything you need to be doing.”
Agosta released her first songs, “Fade” and “Never Fall,” during her junior year. And to little surprise, she found instant success. All of her patient studying and observation paid off, and soon, Agosta made a guest appearance at South by Southwest and won a school competition leading to a performance at Columbia’s annual Manifest event.
“I think I’ve transitioned from feeling like I needed to write and just trying to write something into realizing what I want to write and how I feel, knowing whatever I want to put on paper is coming from my heart. It’s not just me trying to get something down on paper,” she said.
Last fall, Agosta released “Greenhouse,” a five-track EP of soulful tunes blending elements of rhythm and blues, jazz and pop. It’s a bright and honest release, full of charm and heart, with tracks touching on issues of self-confidence and determination. The order of the tracks on the EP correspond to the order in which the events happened in her life, creating an EP that is as much autobiographical as it is relatable. “Within the past year, I think I’ve learned a lot in that everything I write, I want it to be from experience and feeling and have it be genuine,” she said.
Agosta is currently at work on her new music, something she hopes to turn into a full-length album. She warns the sound may be different than “Greenhouse,” but the switch-up is only a reflection of her dedication to being honest and vulnerable and listening to the stories of her life. “I want to take a step back and figure out what I want to do, and then everything from there will just be an upward scale,” she said.