Anella Herim just released his newest single and visual called “Tequila,” and we can’t stop listening. The smooth-sailing record sees the artist in his most vulnerable state, equipped with meaningful lyrics that audiences can relate to all around the world.

The rising star hails from Trinity, North Carolina, and has already signed to one of the biggest record labels, Def Jam Recordings. At 21 years old, the singer-songwriter has been enthralled by music since he can remember, playing the drums at the young age of 4. With his father leading the worship at church, Anella eventually joined the chorus before recording his own music on GarageBand with just his phone and headphones.

Anella is backed by DJ E Sudd, 2 Chainz’ official DJ. “I feel Anella is a breath of fresh air to the world,” Sudd states. “Not only is the music soul touching, but his personality is also amazing.” 

Musically, Anella produces 90% of his music, with a work ethic that does not go unnoticed.

“Tequila” arrives on the heels of his previous single, “Let’s Be Honest,” a standout collaboration featuring Brooklyn rapper 26AR

Sheen spoke with Anella via Zoom, who was in the middle of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Read below as we discuss his background, how he got his name, the making of “Tequila,” how he collaborated with 26AR, signing to Def Jam, goals, and more!

For those who don’t know, who is Anella?

I’m 21, from Trinity, North Carolina. I make good music, I tell good stories. I’m a lyricist. I try to make audible movies so if that’s something you’re into, check me out!

How would you describe your sound?

I’d describe it like peanut butter and jelly, it’s classic. It’s nostalgic, but if you make it just right, it hits the sweet spot.

Is there a genre that you would classify with?

Probably world music. A lot of people ask me that question, and I still haven’t figured it out. Good music.

What was that like growing up in Trinity, North Carolina?

I grew up in the country, so everybody was raised religious. I grew up going to church. All my friends, we grew up around the same area. It was riding bikes, and it was beaten up and hanging out in parking lots. When we went to high school, there were high school football games. It’s a real tight-knit community, and everybody wanted to have a good time.

Who made you fall in love with music?

Probably my dad, or my dad’s mom. I grew up in the church and my dad was the worship leader. He got me into music, just having to sit there every Sunday and watch him do what he loves. He really made me enjoy it. I grew up going to my mamaws house a lot. She showed me the Carpenters, The Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson. She had me on some good music really early, so I was very lucky.

When did you realize you could do music?

I always liked musicals. We used to watch musicals at her house, and I’d dance and sing when I was little. As I got older, I started playing drums when I was 4, for my dad at church. When I got into band and middle school, I learned a few instruments. At the beginning of high school, I started writing. I figured it out slowly but surely. 

How’d you get your name?

So I got it in Hawaii. I went to Hawaii and I was there for 2 weeks. It was the summer between my sophomore and junior year, and I met this girl named Anella. Then I learned what a Herim was. I’m like yo, Anella’s Herim would be such a cool screamo band name. But I’ll probably never ever have a screamo band, so I took the ‘s’ off and named myself Anella Herim. My numbers started going up, so I said bet. Let’s stick with it.

Congratulations on your new release, “Tequila.”

Thank you so much. I recorded it quite a bit ago, 2 years ago. I was sitting in a dark room with me and 2 of my friends, it just came to light. I watch a lot of movies and I have a lot of friends of all ages, I just soak in what everybody tells me and what I see. I was blessed with a gift to be able to translate what people go through. Because I’m not that old, so I haven’t been through life yet. But that’s what I like to sing about, so I have to draw inspiration from anywhere I can.

Talk about working with Reel Goats.

That was super dope! Sudd had hit me up because him and Rico are friends. We talked it out, we’d send some ideas back and forth for the concept of the video. Rico just put it all together real quick, sent me the frame by frame of what we were gonna do. He really brought the story I had to life. When we got out there, that was the first video I was treated like royalty over there. It was so crazy, when I pulled up they had my clothes and some snacks. It wasn’t a run and gun. It was fully set out, so they definitely know what they’re doing. That was insane. That was the best music I’ve shot so far. 

What was the best memory from shooting?

We were shooting one scene, I was sitting on the floor. We just started to shoot it, we ran through it a couple of times. At the end of it, right at the last take when the song went off, you know how everybody usually claps? Everybody went silent. I turned around and my engineer 24/7 looks at me like “damn!” [laughs] It made me laugh because it was a moment for all of us. To grow, we’ve been waiting on this.

What is it you want fans to get from your story?

I just want people to be comfortable. I like being comfortable. I want people to be familiar to it, but it still be brand new in a sense. I want it to be nostalgic, and I want to feel comfortable and feel like home. But I also want it to be new and daring, exciting and adventurous.

Tell us about Nellavision.

That’s me and a bunch of my friends,we mostly just goof off. It’s me, my engineer 24/7. I got a photographer named Dab and a DJ named Gift. I got a few more friends in it too, but those are the ones that are around me every day to day now. We really make content and hang out together. They help me creatively bring what I want to do to life.

3 things you need in the studio at all times?

24/7, my engineer. Lays original chips, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. I’ma say a Red Bull or a water.

Talk about linking with 26AR, that’s a dope collab. How was that? 

That was super cool! We were in Atlanta. At first, we’re at Generation Now. We got the session. The producer, his name’s Scotty, he pulled up a loop and I recorded over it. For some reason, I got irritated. It was my Gopuff! I ordered a $60 order from Gopuff, they delivered it down the road and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I got irritated, I was on my phone. Haven’t eaten all day. We were in the studio since 2am, I’m just over it. 

So I had walked out. When I came back in, he had put a drill beat over the loop. It sounded good, but I’ve never done drill before. I don’t know how we’re about to pull this off. A couple days later, we went to Astro in Atlanta. AR was in the A room and I was chillin’ in the B room. My A&R Chelsea said “I want to introduce you to this kid. He raps, he’s from New York. He’s super dope.” She went and showed him a few of my records.

She came back in the room, “he said he liked them. He said he loved them. If y’all end up linking, just let me know.” We just walked right in there. We said “yo, you do drill rap? Last week, we just came across this track.” I played it for him, he enjoyed it. He laid it right then and there in the studio, and it came out beautiful.

Wow, that’s so organic!

For real! Then he brought us out to New York to shoot the video. It went great. It was fun, super fun. 

Was the best memory from that?

Man, I love traveling. I love seeing everything, because everything feels new. Even though I’ve been to New York a few times. It was just getting off the plane, grabbing food. The whole experience in itself is freeing.

I saw you post “who I am and who I want to be are two different people.”Who do you want to be?

I’m not sure yet. I think that’s the whole point of life, is figuring out who you want to be. It’s not necessarily a bad thing. I want to be the best version of myself. That’s how I should say it. And I know who I am now is not that, so…

Any goals for yourself?

Man, I have so many goals. I have a compound I’d like to build within the next few years. A combination of Fantasy Factory, Nitro Circus, and Dude Perfect, with a par 3, par 4, par 5 golf course on it. Fully skatable, called Nellaville. Put a studio in it, everything. Just running. No Stress headquarters. Just a tank on 20 acres of land where I can ride ATVs and 4-wheelers, build a dirt bike track. Really just goof off and do whatever I want. Start a reality TV show, but that’s just one of them. I have a lot of goals.

How’s it feel to sign to Def Jam?

It feels amazing. Everybody there is like family. We had talked to a few people before. When we went up there in person and got to meet a few people, it just felt right. Felt like home. Felt like I wanted my music to build, so we locked in and everything’s been going super well. They introduced me to a lot of people and I made a lot of friends. I’m having a blast.

Anything else you want to let the people know?

I just dropped “Tequila,” out on all platforms now. I got a lot of stuff in the works, a lot of stuff on the way. Check me out, my name’s Anella. 

Photo Credits: Christopher Williams