Anna Morsett

Anna Morsett
by Alex Teitz
            A music scene has many parts from the club owners, the press, the promoters and most importantly the musicians. Anna Morsett is that musician that you always see playing in the next biggest project. She is the stable hand in the chaos. Her main band is The Still Tide which she shares with Jacob “Jake” Miller. She can also be found in Ark Life, Porlolo, the Brent Cowles band, and with Natalie Tate. She can plays guitar & bass. She also does background and lead vocals. This interview was conducted via e-mail as Morsett was on tour with the Tallest Man on Earth as a guitar tech. 
FEMMUSIC: How did you first become interested in music as a career? Who fostered your growth in music the most?
AM: I’d day dreamed about being a full time musician probably since I was in middle school? Ha! I surely didn’t quite see it as a reality for myself until many many years later of course, probably not until I was in my mid-twenties when I was around people who WERE making it a career. I’d say my close friends were – and are still – the ones who have helped push me along and through all the self-doubt you wrestle with when you’re first starting out. My parents too have always been kind and supportive and that’s certainly helped.
FEMMUSIC: You play a number of instruments, Do you have a favorite? Why?
AM: Guitar is and has always been my home base and where I do most of my writing. I often use open and alternate tunings, easiest to do on guitar, and found that to be a wonderful writing tool. That’s why it’s been my favorite; I’m always inspired by what I find when I have a chance to sit down and experiment with those different combinations. Bass is a close second though and I’ve definitely been writing more on that lately.
FEMMUSIC:  You work in a number of bands. Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does it vary from band to band?
AM: I really only write songs for The Still Tide which is a different head space than writing the bass parts and harmonies that I have for the other bands I play with (Ark Life, Brent Cowles, Porlolo, Natalie Tate) so the creative process is quite different. When writing parts for other projects I have to think more in terms of what will best serve and elevate the song and focus on how I should fit into what someone else has already created. Whereas when I’m writing for Still Tide I’m the one creating that landscape and can do whatever I want with that wide-open space until the song evolves into something I feel comfortable bringing other people – usually my bandmate Jake – into.
FEMMUSIC:  What is the biggest challenge being involved in multiple projects?
AM: Scheduling! Trying to make time for everyone, including my own project, can definitely be a gigantic struggle. I want to be equally present for each project but there is only so much time and energy.  
FEMMUSIC: What is your biggest challenge in musical career growth? What are your goals to overcome it?
AM: Touring is great and I love it but it’s hard – at this level – to take a band out consistently enough to keep your reputation strong in each of the cities you tour through. I think presently that’s one of the bigger challenges for us in terms of growth. If you only get to those cities you tour through once a year, if even that, it can be really hard to sustain the enthusiasm within that city for the next time you come through. And as we get older and are less excited about crashing on a series of floors and couches (as you often do on the road) it becomes harder to sustain overall even though we all know how important touring is to do. Goals to overcome it? Be smart about how we tour and try to make it and the band itself as sustainable as possible.
FEMMUSIC: You’ve toured through a number of music scenes beyond Denver. What, in your opinion, makes a good music scene?
AM: For me, and what Jake and I found in Denver and fell in love with immediately, it’s how inclusive and supportive the people involved in the music scene are. In Denver other musicians have definitely made us feel welcome (especially as we only landed here about 3ish years ago) but it’s also so many of the other members of this music community that really do make it a true community and one that we’re proud to be a part of. I’d very much longed for that for many years.
FEMMUSIC: As a woman in the music industry, have you been discriminated against? Do you think it has changed over time?
AM: Yes, but I do think that’s changed over time just as I too have changed over the last decade of working in music. The more confident and experienced I’ve become the less of that gender barrier I’ve felt, in the larger sense. If you come into a space, a venue, a conversation knowing who you are and what you’re doing people often – not always – respond to that and not so much your gender. At least that’s been my experience so far, I can’t speak for everyone else.
FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?
AM: I would love to live in an era where musicians just got to be musicians. Where there was less of a concern about finances and climbing any kind of ladder and more just the joy of playing music without the stress of how to carry on when times are thin. I know there’s an argument for the kind of great work that can come from struggle (yeah, sure, I get it) but personally, I would get a lot more done creatively/musically if I didn’t have to worry so much about how to pay the bills. Perhaps that’s something that would need to change culturally and not just within the music industry itself.
FEMMUSIC:  If you could tour or collaborate with anyone, whom would it be?
Ah, so many people, that’s a tough question. I’ve been really into Wye Oak, Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile for a while now so  . . . that’d be cool?! I’m already so lucky to tour and collaborate with so many of our local gems, for now I’m pretty well satisfied.
FEMMUSIC: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out? 
AM: Just keep going and be courageous.

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