Classically trained in piano from a young age, it wasn’t until as recently as 2020 that Anna Bates began to release music under her own name. After her track “Holy Smokes” went viral on TikTok, Anna packed up her Belmont dorm and moved back west to pursue a career in music.
“Something Greater” by Anna Bates is a great example of the new artist’s musicianship, artistry, and career potential. Taking simple piano melodies that are beautiful and vibrant, and contrasting them against dark and introspective lyrics, highlights her ability to create music that is complex and unexpected.
Anna Bates is not only able to construct an emotional and deep song with its personal lyrics, but brings her listeners into the sonic world she has created via the song’s production. The production is ambient, foggy, and clouded, symbolizing the restless and tumultuous relationship she has had with her faith. Anna continues to add to the deep religious symbolism by soaking her voice in reverb, creating an echo effect that resembles the acoustics of a church.
“Something Greater is an extremely personal song to me dealing with religion, growing pains, and death. It was almost a therapy piece in a way- an examination of my own life and interactions with the people around me and a higher being.
I was raised in a pentecostal church from the time I was little, it was all I knew, and it was comfortable- until it wasn’t. In my first year away from home, I began to realize that participating in repetitive motions in any religion, relationship, or practice was easy to do even if I didn’t truly believe in what I was doing. Upon this realization, I eased myself into a nasty mental breakdown and began to deconstruct everything I knew. I asked questions. Why did I raise my hands? Why was I bowing my head? Why did I pray?
... I faced a myriad of health issues, sudden death of a friend, depression, body dysmorphia, and the list goes on. I was met with overwhelming grief. Where was God’s place in all of this? Where was mine? Was I responsible for the salvation or ultimate destruction of my friend’s soul? And if so, wasn’t that a little unfair of a supposedly all powerful god to put on a 5’2, 21 year old, struggling to even make it through college? Was I being mocked? Was it amusing to watch the little guy (me) get absolutely annihilated by life?
This song encompasses and embraces all of those questions and all of the feelings that go along with deconstructing, rebuilding, and forming your own opinions and path. Something to note, is that this song never arrives at a firm belief. And that’s because this song is about the journey of discovery on a way to an answer. I have not yet arrived and that’s okay. I am still asking questions, always searching. It is more important to seek than to settle into a life of passive motions that lead nowhere."