As the application period for the 2018 Individual Artist Awards (IAA) nears its March 1 closing date, we caught up with 2016 Project Award recipient Emily Anderson of Fairbanks. For her project, Emily recorded an album of original music titled “Simple Things.”

Name: Emily Anderson
Artistic Discipline: Songwriter
IAA Career Stage: Emerging Artist
Awards: Individual Artist Award 2016, ASCA Career Opportunity Grant

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as an artist?
The best piece of advice I received was when I took Livingston Taylor’s performance class at Berklee College of Music. He told the class, “If you’re nervous, you’re being selfish, and you need to stop it.” At first I was taken aback by this somewhat harsh piece of wisdom, but his logic was this: your job as an artist is to make the audience feel safe, even when what you’re doing is new and different. They need to know you see them, you love them, you’ve got them. That piece of advice completely changed the way I approach performing and sharing songs with an audience. When it’s not “all about me,” I can focus on the audience and be more tuned in to the present moment.

Emily Anderson (Photo: Molly Lins Photography)

Who is your favorite Alaska artist and what do you admire about that person?
I so admire the Super Saturated Sugar Strings. They are tenacious, creative, talented, collaborative, and all around supremely kind individuals. I love the music they make and the energy they bring to their live performances. Watching Kat Moore play the piano makes me want to go home and practice all night. 

I also really admire Christy NaMee Eriksen. She’s a spoken word artist I got to know a little better because of the Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Award, and her work is mind-altering, boot-shaking word magic. Even her social media posts bring me to tears. She knows the strength of words so deeply and uses her powers for good.

What was the happiest moment of your life as an artist?
There have been so many happy moments in these past few years. Perhaps the happiest I’ve ever been is at my album release show. There is no greater feeling than playing a sold out show for the town you love to celebrate a project you’re proud of.

What impact did the Individual Artist Award have on your art?
Because of Rasmuson Foundation, I can take the next big step forward in my career. Creating the album “Simple Things” has reignited the faith I had in myself as an artist – I know now that people resonate with the stories and songs I have to offer. This project has opened doors for collaborations, professional opportunities, touring and more. I have never felt more sure that this is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing with my time on earth.

We hope Emily’s experience inspires you to pursue a creative project of your own. Finish your Individual Artist Award application today.