Artist spotlight: Anna Clendening

From being bedridden to performing at shows, get to know Anna Clendening


Courtesy of Anna Clendening’s official Facebook Page

By Alexandra Molloy, Collegian Staff

“I found myself in a sea of busy places, in a world of blurry faces/I found myself, on the edge of insanity, I found, I found me” are some of the first lyrics that I ever resonated with and they came from Anna Clendening’s song “I Found Myself.”
After engaging with Clendening’s beautiful vocals in this song, along with her other popular releases such as “Relapse,” “Crazy 4 U” and “That Wasn’t Me, That Was Patricia,” I have been hooked on her music. However, it has not just stopped there. I watched Clendening’s season 9 audition on “America’s Got Talent,” where she not only talked about her battle with anxiety and depression but, despite her self-doubt, she managed to sing an amazing cover of “Hallelujah” to over an audience of 1,000 people when just two months earlier she was bedridden and unable to leave her house. I was stunned.

Watching her performance has given me a much greater appreciation for both myself as well as every other person who still battles with their anxiety, depression and any other internal struggles they are dealing with. It is very difficult to comprehend the mental fortitude required to stand on a stage, no matter its size or the size of the audience, while also having to maintain a face that you are all put together and “fine” when in actuality, you are ripping yourself repeatedly apart internally all while attempting to put yourself back together time and time again; it is a constant war raging inside of your head. This mentality was something I always thought and maintained until I started listening to Clendening’s music.

For me, listening to Anna Clendening’s raw lyricism – which deals with not only anxiety and depression but also with heartbreak – is something that I am able to deeply connect to. I’ve had my fair share of rejection and unrequited feelings and the resulting internally turmoil is nearly impossible to put into words. Clendening knows these feelings too and makes it known in her songs such as “Boys Like You,” “Invisible” and “If I’m Being Honest” amongst others. She also makes it known in her performances too. At just 26 years old, Clendening is most definitely going places and with every accomplishment, she seems to elevate herself and her music higher despite the constant struggles and obstacles she has faced and currently faces in her life. This was further demonstrated at this past UMass Fall 2019 Concert in December.

I was standing right behind the barricade, hyper aware of my heartbeat and watching as Clendening walked onto stage in a casual set of a sweatshirt and joggers. I always expected artists to go over the top with how they dressed for any show and here Clendening was standing on a stage in casual wear as if she was relaxing at home with some close friends. Through just her appearance, she managed to establish a calm and peaceful atmosphere. As she does this, she then caused goosebumps to form up and down my spine with the same professional, raw and sensual performance that is exuded by her voice.

Throughout the entirety of her performance, I felt a deep connection every time I made eye contact with her. It was as if someone else knew my pain and knows what it’s like to feel stranded when anxiety, depression and how often those negative thoughts can become too loud. This was reconfirmed for me after the concert was over and I had the opportunity to speak with her at the meet and greet which was offered to the first 50 people who showed up to this free concert. This 26-year-old singer and celebrity treated me as if I were her friend and made feel as an equal to her despite her rising fame and popularity.

Anna Clendening, despite all the hardships, heartbreaks, broken trust and anxiety/depressive thoughts that become too loud, is still able to make the most of life, as evident through her masterful lyricism and performances. That alone takes an indescribable amount of strength and courage. If anything can be learned from Clendening, it would have to be to have faith and confidence in yourself for being the person you are regardless of what mental or physical obstacles you may face.
Alexandra Molloy can be reached at [email protected]