Anna Burch Takes Creative Control on 'Personal' Debut Album 'Quit the Curse'

Anna Burch
Ambar Navarro

Anna Burch

"I was able to express myself and have a good handle on how I wanted everything to sound," she says of telling her own story on just-released debut.

Michigan singer-songwriter Anna Burch has been touring with other musicians and bands for the past few years, but after releasing her debut album Quit the Curse on Friday (Feb. 2) via Polyvinyl, she feels like she’s just getting started.

“The idea of ‘quitting the curse’ is leaving behind this point of my life where I didn’t feel like I had any real creative control or outlets,” Burch tells Billboard, revealing her excitement for her first solo release with her own band consisting of friends she hand-picked to play with.

In the past, Burch has worked and toured with other groups, like folk rock band Frontier Ruckus, traveling everywhere from Colorado to Norway -- but her solo debut is the first time she’s really on her own. "It’s a lot more responsibility," she says. "But it’s really fun too, the music side of things, and playing with a band, my own songs, it’s so rewarding.”

Quit the Curse is a sunny rock album full of fun tracks with weighty lyrics. She explores intimate themes over light riffs and soft vocals, like on "Tea-Soaked Letter" where she sings of death (“Strange the ones you love/ Can bury you underground”) over an upbeat riff and propulsive drumbeat. She also touches on long-distance relationships and the uncertainty that comes with them, like on “Yeah You Know,” a dreamy track with insecure lyrics about calling someone and getting no answer: “I call you up to calm me down, your phone’s dead and you’re sleeping/ The problems, there in my head.”

Burch says it took a long time to find the confidence to write about vulnerability and personal moments. “I was never really able to feel confident enough to write my own music. I tried a few times, but it’s really hard,” Burch says. “There’s so many things that can stop you from being able to express yourself and come across the way you want to, and for the first time I felt like those things were in line. I was able to express myself and have a good handle on how I wanted everything to sound.” As for what she wanted the album to sound like, Burch cites Alvvays and Elliott Smith as her main influences for her album. “I cycle through [favorites] like everybody, but I could listen to Elliott Smith forever," Burch adds.

Burch heads out on tour with Ezra Furman next month, playing mid-size venues like New York's Bowery Ballroom, where she's never been.

While she’s used to touring, being able to play her own songs with her own band can be a bit of a challenge, but she’s ready for it. “My love for the songs changes. With the band dynamic, it’s such a living ecosystem,” she says.  “Sometimes, one song, I feel like we’ve got it down. And another song kinda stresses me out. Then the next show I’m like, 'Wow, we nailed that.'"

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