Photo courtesy of David McClister Photography and Ana Cristina Cash
It was a great pleasure to meet Ana Cristina Cash this year at CRS. It was our first time talking with her so we had a lot of ground to cover in a short time frame. What a life this lady has led! She was so interesting and such a sweet person. I couldn’t wait to listen to her music after chatting with her and what a fun surprise! She’s fabulous! So good that I instantly began adding her music to my playlists. Come and sit in on our interview, get to know her, and then absolutely go listen to her stuff. I’m betting you’ll love it as much I do.
Think Country (Annette Gibbons): Hello, how are you doing?
Ana Cristina Cash: I’m doing well actually, just happy to be here. Thank you so much for having me.
TC (AG): You’re a new name for us at Think Country, so can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
ACC: Yes. My name is Ana Cristina Cash. I’ve been singing for a very long time. My history is that I was signed to the Latin Division of Sony Music when I was 15-years old and I toured Latin America. I had a career in the Latin music industry first, and that’s because my parents are from Cuba and they migrated to the United States in the 1960’s, so I grew up in Miami, Florida. So, I’m a bilingual singer/songwriter and a country singer/songwriter. I grew up listening to country music my whole life, to artists like Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn. I love the storytelling.
TC (AG): Do you sometimes throw a little bit of Latin flair into your music?
ACC: I throw in some sass in. I roll my hips a little bit when I sing. It just comes out, like, I’m not even trying.
TC (AG): It comes naturally. That’s nice. So, tell us about your sound. If you were going to describe, in maybe just a few words, what your sound is like, how would you do that?
ACC: I would describe this new album Shine as a cross between pop, country, Americana and blues. Lots of soul in it. I come from a background of jazz singers and I love Sarah Vaughn, Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald and improvisational jazz singing.
Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic/Think Country
TC (AG): I can tell how much we love her already!
(Laughter from all of us)
TC (AG): We’re going to keep you, okay?
ACC: Thank you!
Think Country (Patti McClintic): We’re having so much fun already!
ACC: Thank you. I just don’t like to limit myself musically, I still sing in Spanish as well as I sing in English, and I’ve been working since I was six.
TC (AG): Do you ever mix up something so there’s both languages in a song?
ACC: Sometimes I do. Sometimes I’ll do it for special performances. I just wrote a song for my husband for his upcoming birthday party, and I’m kind of throwing in a few Spanish lyrics there while I’m playing guitar and singing in English.
TC (AG): So, you play guitar?
ACC: I play guitar and I play piano to write my music. Since the age of six-years old I was in the longest running variety show, Sabato Gigante, which is on the Univision Network. I worked there from the time I was six to thirteen-years old, it was kind of like a Mickey Mouse Club situation. So, from there I was signed to the Latin Division of Sony Music when I was 15 or 16-years old.
TC (AG): So, what made it change so now you’re focused on country and Americana?
ACC: Just going to English-speaking schools and loving the influence of American culture, I just really wanted to make an English language record. I became an independent artist and I started working the club circuit in Miami and Los Angeles and started releasing records independently. Then I fell in love with my husband before he was my husband, moved to Nashville, and just fell in love with the genre even more. It reminded me of when I was little and connecting with the country music singers and how much I adore the storytelling of country music.
TC (AG): So, you write your own music?
ACC: I’m a songwriter, yes.
TC (AG): So, as a songwriter, do you pretty much write about what’s going on in the world day-to-day, or what’s your style?
ACC: Well, you’re from England, so I’m sure a lot of people there say their early songwriting influences were The Beatles, and the reason for that is, they sound like very simple songs, but they’re actually very complicated in structure. So, when I started playing guitar and piano, it was interesting, it really took a special talent and skill to make something sound so simple for everyone to sing along, and that’s really a challenge. People think it’s easy and it’s not. It’s a talent making it a likable song, making it something people can connect to, so The Beatles were an early influence. Shakira was an early influence growing up in Miami. Gloria Estefan was. I love Elton John, I love David Bowie.
TC (AG): If we were to look at your Spotify or Apple or whatever playlist, what are you listening to at the moment?
ACC: I listen to a lot of reggaeton because I’m from Miami, so it has a lot of the Caribbean influence. I’m listening to Thomas Rhett. I like The Cadillac Three.
TC (AG): We interviewed them yesterday. They’re one of our favorites.
ACC: They’re one of several country music acts I like. Kacey Musgraves is a friend of mine, she’s wonderful, love her.
TC (AG): So, tell us about your music and your album Shine.
ACC: Yes, so it’s going to be out April 24th and I recorded it at the Cash Cabin Studio, which is on our property. It’s produced by my husband, John Carter Cash. I recorded this over the span of three and a half years, so I’m happy that it’s finally being delivered to the world.
TC (AG): Is it because you’re just a perfectionist?
ACC: It was a combination of things. The scheduling was one thing, because we have a lot of clients that book the studio too, so, it was that, and perfecting the mixes and everything. It really is a wide array of different things, like, you know, the song “Tug of War” is pretty sassy. That’s me with a short fuse. I have a little bit of that because, you know, that’s kind of like warding off a woman, like a “You can’t mess with my man” kind of song. “Southern Roots” is a murder ballad. It’s about a woman that’s being abused, domestic violence, and she’s taking matters into her own hands. She ends up burying her husband under a tree.
Lyric Video courtesy of Ana Cristina Cash and YouTube
TC (PM): Wow. I like that.
TC (AG): I’m going to play that to my husband tonight. Just in case he annoys me.
ACC: I did a cover of Roy Orbison’s “Dream”. “Where the Muscadine Grows” is really about longing to be home in the south and the muscadine trees, that’s a special fruit that grows here during a certain time of the year, in the summer.
TC (AG): If we were going to pick one song to introduce you to the UK and the world, a song that kind of captures who you are, what’s that one song?
ACC: Without a doubt it would be “Broken Roses”, which is a piano ballad on the album. I shot a video for it where I’m playing piano. It’s a very “Nashville” video really. I would say it’s the most emotional track that I have. It’s non-linear, only the second verse was recorded to a click track so the pianist was kind of feeling it while I was singing it, and it’s a very emotional song. We released it during Mental Health Awareness Week because I believe it’s very important to talk about mental health awareness and issues like depression and substance abuse, and kind of bring that to light. I partnered with https://www.changedirection.org/ for that reason. They do a lot of work in that area, and when I was selecting the single I wanted to bring awareness to something, and I wanted my single to have a purpose.
Video courtesy of Ana Cristina Cash and YouTube
TC (AG): In England, we have a TV personality who just killed herself. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Love Island? She was Caroline Flack, the host of that show. So, it’s absolutely something that’s in everybody’s forefront at the moment. I think for musicians and artists to think of that, it’s such a big thing, because we all listen to music, it’s all a part of our world. For you to talk about that, I think it’s a great thing.
ACC: We’re all human beings, and just being an empathetic person and a singer/songwriter, I’m kind of going along with my own thoughts and feelings. I feel like it was an issue that’s very important and needs to be brought to light, but there’s something for everyone here.
TC (AG): You’ve got that, and then you’ve got the whole sassy side, burying your husband.
ACC: Now you can see why it’s taken so long!
TC (PM): I’m just looking at the track list and you seem to have every kind of song on here.
ACC: There are two here that are like a Bonnie and Clyde kind of thing. “Renegade Rose”, which was the second single I released on Valentine’s Day, is about two lovers on the run. They’re kind of carefree and robbing people, so that’s what that’s about.
TC (AG): I’m going to keep her.
TC (PM): Well then, we’re going to have to fight.
ACC: It’s funny, because I just realized that “Busted” has a lot of parallels with “Renegade Rose”, but “Busted” is about a couple, and he’s a piano player and she’s the songwriter and they’re in this dirty bar and they’re dreaming about moving to Hollywood and running away and making it.
TC (PM): These are really story songs.
ACC: I love the storytelling in country music and that’s why I wanted to make this record a story.
TC (AG): Is there anywhere around here where people can see you play live?
ACC: Yeah, so I’m actually performing at the Grand Ole Opry on April 25th. I perform around town, but that’s the first big show I have for the release of the record.
TC (PM): That’s all very exciting.
ACC: I’m really excited.
TC (PM): Have you played the Opry before?
ACC: I made my debut in November and I was freaking out. I was like, “This is the Grand Ole Opry, oh, my God.” I’ve backed people up before, like I sang with other artists and different things, but never alone, so I freaked out.
TC (AG): Patti and her husband are based here in Nashville. I think at some point they need to catch a show.
TC (PM): I would love that.
ACC: Yeah, come to the Opry if you can. April 25th.
TC (PM): I would love to. I’m writing it down right now.
TC (AG): I think it would be lovely to come out and review a show and then follow-up with you again.
ACC: That would be awesome. I would love that.
TC (PM): There. I wrote it down.
ACC: I write everything down too and now I have the iPal on my phone.
TC (PM): I tried doing everything on my phone and I didn’t do so well. I went back to writing everything.
ACC: You know, I’m great with the phone when it comes to calendar things, but my husband and I have to be linked in with each other because otherwise I won’t know what his schedule’s like and vice versa, then we’d drop the ball, and that’s embarrassing if we don’t show up somewhere.
TC (AG): If you had one message to say to your fans, what is it you’d like to bring to their lives with your music?
ACC: I would really say happiness. I know it sounds cliché, but I hope that people will feel happy. With the faster songs, I hope that they’ll drive in their car and really enjoy themselves and be carefree. With the more introspective songs, I hope that they’ll just analyze themselves where they are, and feel free to cry and feel emotion, feel who you are, you know, we’re all human. My thing is I just want to connect, that’s all. I just want to connect with people.
TC (AG): Thank you. It was so lovely to meet you.
ACC: It was lovely to meet you too.
TC (AG): You know, there’s some people that you just want to know more about from a first impression. I’ll definitely be going home and listening to Shine.
ACC: Thank you!
TC (PM): Yes, this was one of the best so far. Thank you and I’ll try and get to the Opry.
ACC: Thank you guys! Thanks so much.
At the time of this interview, I had never heard any of Ana Cristina Cash’s music. I had no idea what it would sound like. Annette made a good point. Sometimes after you first meet someone, you immediately know you like them and you want to know more about them. Not because you feel you need to know every detail of their life, but you want to know more about them because you felt a connection. Without a doubt, both Annette and I felt that connection with Ana Cristina Cash. It’s not a word I use often, but I can’t think of a better word to describe her than “delightful”. She was exactly that. She gave us a ton of information in a relatively short amount of time. She was polite and simply likable. It became almost necessary to hear her music after that, that’s how much of an impression she made on us. The music was going to be a surprise. I hoped it would be something I’d like, but I just didn’t know. Then I listened to it and was simply blown away by every single track. Reviewing it would be as easy as me telling you to go get it because it passed with high marks on the very first spin.
Be sure to follow Ana Cristina Cash on all of her social media sites and check her show schedule as well. If you run into her, please tell her Think Country told you about her. As I said earlier, I think you’ll love her.
Photo courtesy of Patti McClintic/Think Country
Ana Cristina Cash Publicity Website: https://aristopr.com/ana-cristina-cash/
*Featured image courtesy of 90 East Photography/Think Country