Wānaka Sun       

PROFILE Anna van Riel — songbird

Posted at 6:00am Thursday 03 Oct, 2019 | By Emma Conyngham editor@thewanakasun.co.nz

Lake Hāwea singer/songwriter Anna van Riel has been announced as a finalist in the Australian Songwriters Association Awards for her children's song 'Throw out the grain'.

The song, which is from her recent children's album Fishing for Stars, was also a finalist in the international songwriting competition.

The catchy tune which is about feeding animals on a farm was written to inspire kids to get more connected to farming and their food sources. “With two thirds of the world now living in apartments in cities, many children have never visited a farm and perhaps don't consider where their food comes from,” said van Riel. 

“I wanted to write a fun and interactive song that helps them feel a little connected that rural life. It also talks a bit about having gratitude for where our food comes from, which is something I talk to my kids about.” 

Van Riel lives the quintessential Hāwea idyllic life: the family property has three generations and the grandparents are always on hand for a morning hug with their grandkids. Cousins are all around and it's quite “sentimental” for van Riel. “I realise a lot of people in our town have next of kin overseas and are doing it on their own, so I don't take it for granted. It helps that our property is nestled in a magical valley not far from the lake. It's pretty hard not to feel inspired on a daily basis, and the music just follows from that,” she said. 

Van Riel wrote ‘Throw out the grain' last year. “The hook of the song just downloaded from the ethos one day, which often happens for me, and it all fell out into a song. It's a total earworm,” she said. 

Winning the Australian Songwriter Association Award would be a boost for her career; “ It let's me know I'm on the right track.”

“How it helps however, is that it supports me in gaining better performance and funding opportunities by showing potential clients and funding bodies that I take my work seriously and create quality content.

“Being an independent artist in rural NZ, while raising a family is hard work. You have to believe in yourself first and foremost, but having some accolades for all the hard work serves as an awesome encouragement.”

The award ceremony is on October 30 and Anna will be flying over to Sydney to be there on the night. To listen to ‘Throw out the grain', look up 'Throw out the grain' on spotify/applemusic/itunes.

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