2020 was the year Ana Clara Hayley released her single “Brixton“, in fact, 2020 was a feat in itself with studios closed. Whilst Ana wasn’t able to release the rest of the music she had intended to, she was able to get recordings started with three new partners in Brazil, Germany and Australia, which was very exciting. Feeling like you are still meeting people and progressing was a true bonus for Ana, even if it looked entirely different to other years.

However, Ana’s biggest achievement is to have worked with CUFA-DF, which is an NGO (non-governmental organisation) that provides support to mothers in Brazilian slums. “I was able to sing in their benefit show earlier in the year and I released a cover version of IMAGINE/HEY JUDE as part of Brazilian group ELAS CANTAM CLÁSSICOS (with Daniela Firme, Carol Melo, Nathalia Cavalcante & Ana Lélia) last week to raise awareness and funds for school books and supplies for the children in these slums,” Ana tells Eat This Music. “It’s a truly beautiful initiative and CUFA’s tireless commitment is inspiring. I am very honoured to have made a contribution.”

Eat This Music: Who was on your “Must Listen To” List at the start of 2020?

Ana Clara Hayley: At the beginning of 2020 I was very much listening to reggaeton artists like Maluma, Cleo, J Balvin and Bad Bunny and classics like Carlos Vives, Tom Jobim and Prince. I was also listening to a lot of 60s artists like Diana Ross and The Temptations and staples like H.E.R and Pharrell Williams. These artists were on my lists for my last beach holiday soundtrack, gave me focus when I was working and working out or just hanging out with family and friends… until that fateful day in March.

Has that list changed in the previous 12 months?

The playlists have changed and evolved over the year. Given the change of pace due to COVID-19 which allowed extra time to listen to new artists and different styles, I spent more time listening to Drum and Bass classics like Patife and DJ Marky and discovered a few newer artists like Vangelize. I started swapping a lot more new finds with friends and family and began listening to ELIZA, Big Wild & Rationale, Lolo Zouaï and Sonny Cleveland.

What type of new artists/bands have you discovered in 2020?

I’ve discovered so many artists across different genres which is really nice. My favourite new discoveries are Karli Bree (whose songs are like poetry), Sonny Cleveland and Charlotte OC. I have literally just found Zeeba and I am so grateful to have I got you on my playlist. I listen to it along with JLO Medicine and El Anillo for some seriously fun workouts.

I’ve probably spent more time in the kitchen this year than ever before so it’s been nice to have the company of these new artists and their material as I learn new cooking skills. My playlist New Loves, quickly grew from May to December to a list of 40 songs although, there must be 5 or so that are rediscoveries from a whilst ago like Fatman Scoop & Faith Evans, Be Faithful and Jennifer Lopez & Chayanne Dame.

What were your guilty pleasure songs or albums in 2020?

I don’t think I had any guilty pleasures this year. 2020 was such a strange year, with so many feelings, I think all songs were welcome and therapeutic and necessary for that moment. I did hit loop on ELIZA’s Alone & Unafraid many many many days… I am probably a top listener of H.E.R’s Hold On too…. but why not be? They are brilliant songs.

Which song, or songs, of yours in 2020 would you recommend to listeners?

Big Wild & Rational’s 6s to 9s is really uplifting and each piece of the song is so unexpected.The tone of the main riff is absolutely delicious it just moves your body. So that is a must have!

Sonny Cleveland’s Bring It On Back gives you all the romantic feels, reminds you of why raw instruments on recordings are just so good for the soul and has the capacity to draw you into the moment.

Emily King’s Remind Me is another one that brings you into the moment and those harmonies…. so beautiful! You can sing along to different harmony line each time. It’s a beautiful mix of old and new sounds that are very kind on the ears.

What keeps you making music?

Music to me is an essential part of my life. I keep making music for my own catharsis & in the hope that by sharing my interpretations of my experiences there will be an option for someone else out there who needs those words/comfort/validation/support/likeminded sentiment when they need it.

Music has helped all of us get through the ups and downs of 2020. Music has the ability to comfort and support in the best and worst circumstances. In the isolation of 2020 music helped so many of us still feel connected, engaged, supported and I want to keep making music to add to the musical options for all these moments, no matter the year or situation.

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