Heavy Hand by Anne Bennett is a grungy single that sets in a haunting vibe. Known for her deep, powerful voice, Anne creates dark music that is somewhat alternate Rock, but is just her own style honestly.
Anne Bennett grew up in the Witch City of Salem, Massachusetts. Growing up in a city known for its historic mistreatment of women, Anne was always inspired to chase after her true identity. Lately working with UK-based producer Rory Carlile she is seeing her aesthetic come to life musically. Her sound is Gothic and haunting, but her unparalleled devotion to writing helps her create an all-encompassing atmosphere for her listeners.
Heavy Hand is her latest single after a year of learning the songwriting craft from The Songwriting Academy in the UK. The song opens with thundering electric guitar riffs, and Anne’s ominous vocals set the mood. The composition is alt-rock, with a certain Brit-rock appeal. Unique as they are, Anne’s vocals contrast with the harshness of the acoustic rock with a deep gentility.
Across the song, the artist sings about the fear she awakens in the townspeople with her persona. Her appeal is dark and mystical, and this town that has been terrified of powerful women doesn’t know how to deal with her. They’re all now paranoid, getting scared of their own shadows. And you best believe this is her favorite power trip!
In conversation with Anne Bennett
Ques. Coming from Salem, how much of your aesthetic is rooted in the history of the town?
Anne: I’d say much of my aesthetic is rooted in the history of Salem. I have a slight obsession with the Devil. Not that I believe the devil actually exists, but the history of the devil/evil in Salem is fascinating to me. The witch hysteria, the darkness of it at all…. I think I carry it with me wherever I go.
The year of learnings
Ques. How was the experience of learning songwriting alongside other talented artists? How do you think this has helped upskill and hone your natural talent and inclination?
Anne: I spent a year enrolled in the Songwriting Academy. It is based out of the UK, but they ran it virtually during the pandemic. It was a very rewarding and humbling experience because everyone accepted into the program was ridiculously talented. I realized that many of the lyrics that I had previously written were kind of crap so I learned how to re-write, and then re-write again. Monthly mentoring sessions with top songwriters who whipped me into shape to succeed. I had never co-written before, and I got to co-write with songwriters from all over the world! I learned a ton of patience and respect for the other students. Being a part of the Academy pushed me beyond my limits. I don’t even think I have limits anymore, because I don’t stop for anything.
Finding the Muse in Music
Ques. What inspired you towards music as a form of expression? I understand that you got diagnosed with depression quite early on in life. Did music help with your inner complexities?
Anne: It’s hard to pinpoint what exactly inspired me towards music as a form of expression. Growing up surrounded by music, my dad was always singing and playing records. I fell in love with Mariah Carey at a young age. I think it was because she had curly hair just like me, and she wrote her own music. So I started to write songs too. It was (and still is) this huge escape for me. I am able to be myself completely in my music, even if the song isn’t about me. Having depression also made it difficult for me to connect with the world. I would hide in my room and disconnect into my notebooks and journals.
The inspiration behind the scenes
Ques. What are some present and past artists and musicians who inspire you? Who are you looking out for?
Anne: Some past artists who inspire me are Throwing Muses, Lead Belly, Nancy Sinatra, Joy Division, Patti Smith, The Doors. New artists who inspire me are Lana Del Rey, PJ Harvey, Tori Amos, Ghost, Dorothy.
The artist’s POV
Ques. When a first-time listener stumbles upon your music, what would you want them to take away?
Anne: I’d love for them to take away a sense of fierce power, but also a touch of nostalgia.
Ques. Could you describe Heavy Hand in 50 words?
Anne: Heavy Hand is a song about control. I was feeling so angry and defeated during the pandemic last year, and the lyrics just started to pour into my head. We can run but we can never hide. The virus/evil/depression will always get you in the end.