NAME: Nkechi Anele
JOB + INDUSTRY/WHAT DO U DO: SING in Saskwatch, CO-CREATE online content for The Pin [www.thepin.org], PRESENT Roots N All on triple j, BARTEND at a bar & SOMETIMES WORK in a library.
FAVOURITE BAND: The Weather Girls
FAVOURITE SONG: Disco Inferno
FAVOURITE FEMALE ARTIST + WHY:
Nina Simone - because she was fierce and unbending in her ways. In a time that tried to put her is a box and tell her how to be she fought back and made people respect her, love her and fear her all at the same time. Her musicality is out of this world and her belief in herself endless.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
"To be honest with you, I think I do too many things. Firstly, I sing in Saskwatch, we're releasing our 4th album this year and I am looking forward to getting on the road and touring. I also run a website with my friend Lucille Cutting and on it we discuss race, identity and culture from the perspective of biracial and bicultural Australians. We interview people, get people to write short essays, create some video content and at the started the year we hosted our first event that sold out. This year I also started as the new presenter for Roots N All on triple j, which has been a new eye opening experience and I am hoping that I am getting better at it as time goes on because there is so much amazing music out there and to condense it into 3 hours each week is hard!
On the DL I also work at my friends bar with awesome people, I really enjoy hospitality and working in teams like being in a band so it's great. I also work as a librarian from time to time. As Saskwatch was starting I was seriously considering and on my way to being a law librarian but, I reached a point where I realised that it wasn't really for me."
IS THIS WHAT YOU ALWAYS DREAMED OF?
"In a way yes and in others no, not really. I love, love, love singing so much so that when I was little I had the dream of being the voice of a Disney Princess (and secretly I still want to do that one day - PLEASE!!!!). That dream moved on to wanting to be on stage in Broadway and then the dream evolved again to just singing in whatever capacity I could."
"Running and making a website has come out of having a real strong passion to workout who I am as a person of colour in Australian society and wanting to branch out into large communities of p.o.c's (people of colour) but, this is a more recent realisation."
Did I ever think I would work in a bar? No but, I enjoy it a lot. AND being a librarian kind of just happened. Firstly as a way to work while I was at uni and not risk over using my voice and then I grew to love it and love the curation and continuous evolution of information and referencing. My mum and brother also work in libraries so it has almost become a family occupation."
3 OF YOUR HARDEST MOMENTS?
1. "2016: Although The Pin was launched in this year, it was a pretty fucked time to be alive, just saying!"
2. "Studying at VCA was probably the most stressful, scary and hardest thing I did to date. We had to perform to our peers each week to be assessed by them and I also knew that I had very limit music theory knowledge and just music knowledge in general so I was in a constant state of shock and fear that people would realise that I was an imposter. I also wanted to do my best and be great because I had wanted to go to F.A.M.E school as a child and this was it; I also am competitive so I like to make things challenges even when they aren't."
3. "Deciding to only live with one parent and leave my brother to do 50/50 parenting still: it felt like I had abandoned the one person that has been a 100% constant in my life but I also knew that I had to do this if I wanted to stay mentally and physically healthy. The stress of moving from one parent's house to another and feeling like you live in a suitcase sucks!"
FORKS IN THE ROAD, HOW DO YOU MANAGE THEM?
"When I find myself supper conflicted I ask myself what can I live with? Sometimes that means that I go the way that can potentially fail at and some decisions are safe, but most of the time they are things that I can live with and, need be, I can get over and move on from."
DESCRIBE YOU WORK ETHIC...
"It moves in waves of being super productive to wanting to go MIA for a few days if not weeks. I find that when work ethic it at it's most productive I tend to have tunnel vision (or a list) for all the things I want to achieve and I just work at them relentlessly until they're done; or I have a particular goal in mind and break it down into multiple steps that I work at little by little. I think my strongest ability is to strategically plan and layout step by step goals to keep me interested because I am also the Queen of productive procrastination and I sometimes find myself creating stupid goals like 'make your bed' to pass the time and avoid doing actual work. But for someone who has multiple things going on all at once and wants to manage them all on top of being someone that people can rely on (in some respect), I have found strategically plan things out is the best way to go about it. For that I have a note pad that I will break my whole week down on so that I can remember all the things that I need to do in a week and all the things that I have committed myself to. Sometimes this also helps remind me to say 'no' to things too. I also track a lot of stuff through having multiple calendars collated on google. When it comes to my jobs as well, I normally give them a whole month of my availability, a month in advance, for when I am touring or have events that I have to attend which makes me look (or t least I hope it does) less flakey and reduces the amount of shift that I have to swap and stuff like that later on."
"With all this going on I do also find that I get worn out with sticking to a schedule and I do find that once I have reached a goal of some sort my work ethic starts to waiver. This has been something that I am trying to combat as I get older, so I am trying to turn a few things in to habitual practices and I also reward myself with my internal dialogue (like saying 'well done, you could have done nothing today but look what you have achieve') and I think that is really effective. Realistically though, I envy people who are really scarily driven and can bunker down because sticking to something with no real clear vision of end in sight is hard but, obviously really rewarding as well."
WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO GIVE UP? HOW DO YOU BOUNCE BACK?
"Sometimes I fear that I have made a mistake or that I haven't worked on the right thing or spent enough time with the right people other times I feel burnt out, angry, frustrated, scared and sad. In times like these I want to give up and run away from it all. In these times I do things that bring me back to who I am. Sometimes that means taking myself of the grid, talking to someone (a friend or a professional) or simply doing something nice for myself like going to a movie, doing 1000 steps in the Dandenong Rangers, eating ice cream or signing myself up for yoga or dance classes. When it comes to performing, I have had from a really young age the innate need to be on stage. In fact I have the distinct memory of seeing F.A.M.E. the stage production and wanting to run backstage with the actors at the end of the curtain call and that feeling has never left me. So, seeing a performance or another band perform makes me want to rehearse more or learn a new instrument and be on stage in some capacity."
"I think the urge to give up is quite natural so I really don't and it really goes back to when I am faced with cross-roads - it comes down to what I am happy to live with."
WHAT WERE YOU LIKE AS A TEENAGER? WHAT MAJOR THINGS DID YOU COME TO REALISE?
"I think I was pretty fearless as a teenager but I was also aware that I was (and still am) a bit of a loser growing up. I was also super angry and I think that pushed me to be fearless in some regards because I wanted out of feeling so isolated and strange."
"Growing up I have realised that I am fearful of a lot of things and this propels me to do a lot but it also limits me. I think as I am getting older I am constantly discovering the walls that I have built myself as a means of protection and now, I am trying to break them down as much as possible."
Image 1 by Giulia Giannini McGauran