"The strong female narrative voice in this song is saying that she is not going to be treated poorly by anyone" We chat with Ana Cristina Cash
Hey Ana, how’s your day going?
My day is going really well. Thank you for asking.
So... where are you right now?
I’m at home in isolation with my husband John Carter Cash and our daughter, Grace June. Hopefully this COVID-19 situation will go away soon.
Tell us a bit about you, what do you do for fun?
I love to cook different types of cuisine from all over the world and I am an avid fan of indoor cycling.
You released your album, Shine, last month, what can you tell me about it in two sentences?
Shine is a record with lots of twists and turns and is a fusion of Pop, Americana, Country and Jazz. This is the album that has been the most collaborative for me as far as writing goes, and it was produced by my husband, John Carter Cash.
How weird has it been releasing a record in the midst of a global pandemic?
It has been a surreal experience, because I'm used to doing live performances for the release of a record as well as visiting radio and TV shows. I've gotten into the world of live stream shows with different organizations such as SESAC and American Songwriter, and I do love the personal feel of answering people’s questions in the chats while I am doing a live stream and performing.
One of my favourites on the record is ‘Tough Love Woman', what can you tell me about that song?
'Tough Love Woman' is a song about empowerment and about standing up for yourself in a relationship. The strong female narrative voice in this song is saying that she is not going to be treated poorly by anyone. I co-wrote it with Shawn Camp.
‘Broken Roses’ is a beautiful song, what’s the story to that?
I wrote this song with my husband John Carter Cash, Kevin Dunne, and Bill Miller. I shot a video for it in Nashville with director, David McClister. It tells the story of a romantic relationship disintegrating due to one partner’s mental health and substance abuse issues.
You’ll almost certainly be asked about ‘Brand New Pair Of Shoes’ quite a lot, so… I wanted to ask where did the idea to put Johnny’s words with your music come from?
My husband, John Carter, brought me his father Johnny Cash’s unfinished lyric of 'Brand New Pair of Shoes' that did not have musical accompaniment because he strongly felt that I would do it justice as a songwriter and performer. I kept Johnny’s lyrics intact but just moved the structure around and created a jazz melody for the song, and that is how the song was born.
Your rendition of ‘Seminole Wind’ is beautiful, why did you decide to cover that song?
I love the haunting melody of 'Seminole Wind'. I am a native Floridian and I could really relate to the nods to my home state in the lyrics.
You recorded the album in Cash Cabin, can you describe that experience to me?
A lot of legendary musicians have recorded there and there is a great energy and spirit in the room. It is always an honor to record at the Cash Cabin.
What does it mean to you to be able to record there?
It is very special to me because my daughter Grace June Cash’s grandpa, Johnny Cash built it and my husband, John Carter, has been producing records there for years. It means a lot to me because of family.
You’re doing some live streams, how do you find those vs playing live to people? A bit weird?
The live streams are a fun way to connect. I don’t find it weird. Any way that you can connect with people via music is a special exchange. I am grateful that we are still able to connect because of technological advances.
I usually ask, what have you got planned for the rest of 2020, but I’m not sure any of us know… so, what’s the thing you’re looking forward to doing most when things settle down?
I am finishing up my Master’s program in Creative Writing at Harvard University. I am almost finished and it has been a long and fulfilling journey. I would also like to complete a jazz album.
Gender and diversity are much discussed in the music industry, what’s your experience of being treated differently as a woman in your industry?
I have experienced some people commenting more on body image with regards to female artists and also double standards about female singers having children compared to male singers having children and how that doesn’t slow down the male’s career as much in people’s minds. I hope that the double standard changes someday. This is 2020, not medieval times. Women can do it all.
Have you noticed a difference at all in the last couple of years?
I did notice that CMT did something really wonderful about equal play time for both genders on their network. That is a step in the right direction. More still needs to be done and I believe in equal pay for women. I do not believe that women should be making less money than men when they are doing the same job.
Give me a flavour of the kind of music you listen to in your spare time.
I have honestly been listening to a lot of jazz music. I’m really into Jo Stafford lately.
If you could recommend one artist to hear this week, who would it be?
Celia Cruz. She reminds me of my Cuban heritage and her music makes everyone happy.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
I feel like the questions have been very thorough! Thank you.
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
I use my Nespresso machine and I insert a vanilla roast pod. I put a little bit of milk or cream and add one little packet of stevia.