Akosua DF talks to Annatoria and Areatha Anderson – two UK female gospel artists coming to the fore
2022 saw UK Gospel’s Sharyn, Asha Elia and Naffymar pull in a combined 5.6million Spotify streams. The ladies stand on the shoulders of gospel giants, Lavine Hudson, Lurine Cato, Rachel Kerr and Priscilla Jones, who have blazed the trail for a new generation of female artists. With larger-than-life personalities dwarfed only by their powerful vocals and strong stage presence, this new breed of female talent is definitely world class. Two names likely to dominate the scene this year are Annatoria and Areatha Anderson.
Annatoria first caught our attention at Big Church Day Out 2019, when event headliner, Tye Tribbet, tossed her the microphone to sing a snippet of his smash hit, What can I do? A year later she stole the hearts of the nation with her powerful multi-octave range on The Voice UK, eventually taking home the crown and making history as the show’s youngest winner.
Akosua DF: Take us back to the night you were crowned winner of The Voice UK.
Annatoria: Well… the night itself was unreal and, when I say unreal, I really mean it did not feel real. I always tell people that the moment I won didn’t feel like a victory, because there wasn’t a wild audience shouting, clapping and screaming (due to COVID-19 restrictions). For me, the night I truly won was when I watched it back at home with family and friends. Hearing my name announced and seeing them celebrate me, as though it was their own victory, moved me to tears. In that moment, I understood that some victories just don’t feel the same if you have no one to celebrate with.
Akosua DF: Last year, you nabbed the Premier Gospel Award for Best Newcomer and also took home the gong for the StepFwd Awards Afrobeat Song of the Year. Let’s talk about your massive Afrobeat hit, Stay with me, which currently has over 1.2million Spotify streams.
Annatoria: To my surprise and in answer to prayer, Stay with me got so much love. To echo the bridge of the song, I was ‘overwhelmed’ [laughs]. I am African and think that, since that part of me will never change, I will always have an Afro gospel song waiting to bubble out of me.
Akosua DF: So, I know you have a very eclectic taste in music. I am curious to know who the top five most played female artists in your playlist are?
Annatoria: Ooh that’s a tough one, but right now I’d say Grace Tena, Brandy, CeCe Winans, Tori Kelly and Tamy Moyo.
Another artist likely to have a strong 2023 is Areatha Anderson. Her duet with Travis Greene at his 2022 London concert and Big Church Day Out, coupled with her appearance at Thy Kingdom Come alongside Nathaniel Bassey, Dunsin Oyekan and Victoria Orenze, helped raise her profile significantly.
Akosua DF (ADF): How did you get started in music?
Areatha Anderson (AA): “I was named after Aretha Franklin and had a prophetic word spoken over me at my baby dedication. God said He would use me in the gospel music industry. My mum was very intentional about praying that word into existence, and interestingly I loved music from a tender age. I was that kid who always wanted a karaoke machine for Christmas and sang everywhere. As I matured, I grew to understand my calling. I did veer into secular music for a season [laughs]; I used to sing Afrobeats.
ADF: 2022 was a huge year for you, what can we expect in 2023?
AA: 2022 was crazy! I still can’t get over it. God did A LOT. I am so grateful for the people He connected me with and the incredible platforms He allowed me to minister on. 2023 is going to be more explosive. There is definitely going to be a live recording and I’ll be doing more collaborations.
ADF: Speaking of collaborations, which female gospel artists would you love to collaborate with?
AA: Jekalyn Carr — she is such a powerhouse and I think that would be a crazy collab. Victoria Orenze — I love the way she ministers…. and then my UK Gospel sisters, Annatoria and Shekinah. So hopefully I will get these collabs done in 2023.
Follow Areatha Anderson and Annatoria on social media – @areathaandersonmusic and @annatoria_
Written by: Akosua DF