I was stricken with stage fright but now I can perform anywhere...even the Himalayas! (From Gazette)
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I was stricken with stage fright but now I can perform anywhere...even the Himalayas!
ANNA Pancaldi clearly remembers the time she froze with stage fright. “I was nine years old and was singing in a competition in Sudbury,” she says.
“But maybe because it was a competition and the pressure got to me, but I just froze and cried. I tried to sing through my tears because I so wanted to do well and then the whole audience joined in with me and sand along to Edelweiss,” she says.
Surprisingly, stage fright is something Anna has battled with for years and admits she still gets incredibly nervous when she is about to perform.
But a singing teacher in South Africa, where Anna lived for three years, helped her through the trauma.
She explains: “He always said I should do a performance and I always refused and eventually when I agreed we rehearsed so much but I still broke down and cried in a number of performances. But it was having him there, encouraging me to go on, which helped me get through it.
“He gave me no choice but to get up there and carry on and that is what I needed. Eventually I had been forced to go up so many times that I got on with it, even if I was still scared.”
Born and brought up in Chappel, near Colchester, Anna moved to South Africa when she was 12. She says the experience meant she was able to be her age rather than grow up too quickly.
She says: “We lived just opposite the beach in Cape Town and they were some of the best years of my childhood. “By my age girls back at home were covered in make-up and everything was so demanding. “My life was about swimming, everyone had pools and the friends I made then are still my best friends now.”
The upheaval to another country did not phase Anna, who instead found the move an adventure.
She explains: “I hadn’t been massively poopular at school here, so I didn’t feel I had lots of ties. But it was incredibly painful to come back home when we left South Africa.”
Singing had always been in Anna’s blood. Her dad was a singer who supported bands including the Stylistics and toured America, and she grew up listening to Stevie Wonder and Carole King. But rather than being pushy her father was encouraging and supportive.
From singing in school plays to that competition that brought on her stage fright, Anna went on to perform around the world.
She went on to study a National Diploma in Music at Colchester Institute and has since worked at various day jobs while writing and performing in her own time.
Now living in Bethnal Green, in London, Anna says she is in the heart of the music industry and has opportunities that may make music her day job.
She says: “I have never questioned music as it has always been a part of my life.
“But one day I thought, what am I doing? I realised music was the only thing I was half decent at and I am passionate about. There is nothing I adore more than performing my own music.”
Having always written her own songs and played the guitar, the last few years have been a bit of a whirlwind for Anna.
She embarked on a nine-month trip around the world, taking in countries and continents including Nepal, South America, New Zealand and Europe.
“It was a life-changing time,” says Anna, who currently works part-time to support her music career.
“I took my guitar with me and I performed everywhere. Nepal was my favourite place because it was like stepping back in time. “I did so many random gigs – one was in the foothills of the Himalayas. There were not many people around so it was like having a jam with the locals. “ She was selected by Radio 1’s Huw Stephens to tour the UK’s O2 academies supporting the likes of Rudimental, Rita Ora and The Noisettes, to playing a sell-out show at Ronnie Scotts.
“It was quite overwhelming,” admits Anna. “Particularly the Indigo at the O2 Arena, the gig was in front of 3,000 people, it’s like nothing you can imagine. But I managed to work through my stage frieght and nerves!”
Asked if she would ever perform on the X Factor or the Voice Anna cautiously says: “I was asked to participate on one of those – I’m not saying which – but it’s not for me. I want there to be longevity in my music career.”
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