Bright future ahead for talented young singer
With an album and tour in the works, singer Anna Hawkins talks with Aimie Cronin.
Anna Hawkins tried to sing before she could speak.
Her mum, Elly, remembers crooning to the baby girl she held in her arms.
"[Anna] would always try to sing back. Even if she didn't know the words, she would always be making these nice sounds . . . her little mouth would try to sing."
Anna, now 24, has just returned home after a trip to Europe to record her first full-length album.
She was gone four months.
In June, she started pre-production with Polish producer Pawel Zarecki, and worked tirelessly on scores and lyrics and vocals and then travelled to London to work some more. She's like that. Eager to make things happen. Ready to launch her career. She has the confidence of someone who has a supportive family and the voice of someone who has been well schooled.
"My husband tells me I can't control everything," she says.
"But it's like, this is my baby, I want to be involved, this is what I do."
Since returning from her trip, she's lined up a handful of concerts that will keep her busy over the summer. You might have caught her in Cambridge at the old church on the corner on Friday night where she sang with her sister Lisa.
Today, they are practising a song in their parents' lounge. It's about two women who love the same man.
In his eyes I can see where my heart longs to be,
In his eyes I see a gentle glow and that's where I'll be safe, I know,
Safe in his arms, close to his heart.
They smile at each other and wander round the space, singing. Like it's what you do in the middle of the day, in the middle of your parents' lounge. Not goofing off to Rihanna, but singing proper classical-meets-contemporary music, with voices that are the perfect marriage of hard work and talent.
They finish and both lift their knees onto the coffee table at exactly the same moment. Both talk with their hands and both are eager to laugh. They insist, over giggles, they are quite different individuals, but you'd have to know them quite well to agree.
Their mum stands in the background and bubbles over with pride. Two of her daughters forging careers in the music industry.
Lisa, 18, plans to study music at Wintec next year.
The pair have a few gigs lined up together, but insist they have quite different styles - Lisa is into more contemporary/pop music, while Anna is drawn to Celtic.
She says it's tough in New Zealand making a go of being a fulltime singer, and her genre of music is often misunderstood. There's more opportunity in London, where she may end up. But she's happy promoting her music here, for now.
The family home is in Scotsman Valley, between Cambridge, Hamilton and Morrinsville, but Anna's renting her parents' place at Mt Maunganui and lives there with her husband. It's his blue combie van that sits in the driveway. He surfs and she's trying to learn.
"I'm not confident at it yet, but you've got to get involved in your husband's interests," she says, appearing to be that enviable type who will learn and excel at it. Another tick next to her name.
But the biggest project is landing a record deal, seeing her name in bright lights, a long career singing on the world stage. She seems like just the type to make it happen.