Interviews Music

One Track Mind: Anna B Savage

The singer-songwriter discusses her abiding love for a Nat King Cole staple

The premise of One Track Mind is pretty simple: I ask artists to pick one track that means a lot to them – either something they’ve discovered recently, something that’s been with them for years, or one that reminds them of a specific time in their life or career – and tell me what makes it so special to them. I get to talk to the artists I love, and they get to talk about the artists they love. Love all round!

Released last month, Anna B Savage’s debut album A Common Turn was three years in the making and the result is remarkable, sounding at once defiant and deeply vulnerable and exploring themes both lightweight and profound. Throughout, her voice is never short of extraordinary, with tracks frequently starting life as exposed, skeletal frames before building to triumphant, roaring crescendos.

For her track, Anna has selected an artist and record that will doubtless be familiar to most, and speaks about it with such passion that we should probably all take a moment to truly appreciate its magnificence.

Anna B Savage on Nat King Cole – Let There Be Love

“My parents are both professional classical singers, so it’s no exaggeration to say that I’ve grown up loving and surrounded by music. We listened to this album at every occasion I can think of – on long sticky summer holiday car rides, on Christmases and Boxing days and birthday celebrations. Any time we were all together (which was, admittedly, not all the time because of various touring schedules) we listened to this album. This song especially is the entire family favourite. The warmth of Nat King Cole’s voice is just untouchable.

“We’ve listened so much there’s now a scripted call and response in this track (a sneeze, a pitter patter for rain), so well worn as to now be missed if someone doesn’t do it. It’s a moment of pure family glee. And I think that’s what this track really means to me: a collective joy of music. We all have specific moments of it across this song. For me, it’s the double bass, or pretending to play the piano part, of the way he sings ‘pleeeease’ at the end, the staccato of ‘let there be’ immediately after. For my dad, it’s when this song modulates in to the higher key: he squishes his face in delight and then breaks in to a huge smile ( this still happens now, after untold numbers of listens).

“This song is dramatic, warm, and most of all playful. And most of all, it feels real and honest: there’s not much pomp, not much flourish, and knowing now who the performers are, it makes this all a more special. It’s not an exercise in showing off, just feeling.”

Anna B Savage – A Common Turn is out now