Growing up in a dutch flower growing family in the hills behind Rincon, Anastasia Van Wingerden has had a few cameos on Korduroy over the months with her “Xmas Kookies” song in our Gingerbread Cookie- Surf Sufficient and “Cold Outside” cover on the Gift Wrapping Ideas -Surf Sufficient. When she’s not hitting the books to complete her double major in Spanish and Environmental Studies at the University of San Francisco, she’s surfing down at Ocean Beach, jamming with friends and playing at open mics throughout the city. Here’s a little interview with this 21 year old talent.
What’s your story? Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
I feel like a very very fortunate young lady knowing I come from strength, love, and stability. Growing up in the little agricultural/surf town of Carpinteria on an avocado ranch, surrounded by my family is quite a fairy tale. I was the kid that tried everything: gymnastics, piano, soccer, musicals, the only little girl in the roller hockey league, violin, volleyball, surfing etc. etc. I was never really the star of anything I did, but I know I’m well rounded and content from getting a tasty bite of it all.
For the past four years (with the exception of a semester abroad in Chile) I’ve been living in San Francisco. Quite a change from my small town upbringing, but so refreshing and eye-opening! I’m in my last year at USF studying Environmental Studies and Spanish. Between my academic life I seek culture, sell potatoes at the farmer’s market, get worked at Ocean Beach, and share the beauty of the city with friends. There is such a buzz of creative energy here.
Tell us about how you started playing music.
My love for music started as a young girl. I sat on the piano bench at home, my short legs swinging and my little fingers experimenting with sounds. I can give a lot of credit to my elementary and middle schools for encouraging growth and creativity through music. Guitar entered the picture at the end of high school- my best friend is an incredible violinist and vocalist so we collaborated. With any instrument I have played or any songs I have sung, I always find that melodies bring people together and communicate incredible spiritual energy.
Looking back, how has your relationship with music evolved over the years?
With a foundation of classical piano, I was always taught to read notes and follow the proper rhythm. While this is a wonderful genre, I have now chosen to enter a music world with my own rules. I look forward to playing much more once I graduate.
Tell us about writing your own songs- how many have you written and how do you formulate your thoughts into lyrics?
How many finished or unfinished songs?? I have lyrics and tunes written on papers everywhere… or I get frustrated or sick of something and start something new… It’s a constant learning process! But songs that I have fully finished and roughly recorded- probably about 15.
I’ve started carrying a mini notebook around with me. Sometimes I have an inspiring thought for a song and scribble it down. Once the melody is formed, the arrangement and rhymes fall into place.
Who inspires you musically?
A lot of my inspiration is spontaneous and oftentimes a flow of consciousness. Reflections of nature, love, death, new life, people, silly moments, and letting go. Other musicians who inspire me are the ones that keep their style open to change and outside influence. It’s so important to be exposed in order to grow and evolve… Also, I love the musicians that have the patience to sit down with me and teach me their skills!
Do you have any advice for younger girls looking to pick up a guitar and start playing?
Don’t be discouraged if it sounds terrible at first or if it feels like your fingers are put into uncomfortable pretzels. No matter what level, there is ALWAYS something to learn. Music is such an amazing gift to share, and a guitar is transportable and fun. Remember that simplicity is just as powerful as intricacy- a great song can consist of just a few chords.
What is beauty?
Beauty is sharing. Sharing skills, good food, music, art, positive energy, ideas, love… Beauty is also the big bowl of persimmons and pomegranates on my kitchen table. mmmmm
What do you see yourself doing in the next few years?
For the first time in my life, I cannot answer this question. The 21 years of my life have been in the rhythm of school… Come graduation in May I am free as a bird! Scared sh**tless, but empowered and ready to see the world in a new light.
Check out myspace.com/stasvw