Anna Calvi needs no introduction, but has a background of being involved with several London-based bands; playing guitar for The Cherry Brakewells and briefly joining Mally Harpaz with Lunatic Crash, before finally fronting her own band, Cheap Hotel – who supported 30 Seconds from Mars as well as touring with The Pigeon Detectives, Acoustic Ladyland, Air Traffic, Mr Hudson and the Library. Though many are often surprised by the direction of her musical roots, it is arguably these years that ultimately helped her to gain experience and develop the confidence to perform the way she does today.
“When I was in Cheap Hotel I didn’t really understand what kind of performer i was yet. I was learning. I thought to be good I had to run around the stage and be ‘eye catching’ even though this wasn’t in my heart. I slowly realised that to be honest is the most powerful thing you can do as a performer. Even if it means standing there with your eyes closed not moving. This is what Beth Gibbons does and she’s one of the most amazing performers I’ve seen. I learnt a lot about what I wanted and what I didn’t want from being in Cheap Hotel. We made a good sound and we had some fun experiences together. I don’t regret it, but I’m also glad I eventually found my place in creativity without making any compromises.”
“It was more something, you know… a fun way to experience being a front person without having to be really emotionally involved in it, because I wasn’t connected particularly with the music that we did. But it helped me, you know, in teaching me what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do as a front person, as a solo artist.” – ANNA ON CHEAP HOTEL.
Below is a video of Cheap Hotel – Live @ The Astoria with Anna Calvi introducing the song with a bit of slide guitar. Note: Audience member exclaiming, “She can play guitar like Jimi Hendrix, it’s amazing!”
“It was never really serious,” she shrugs.
Drummer and backing vocalist of Cheap Hotel, Gregg Braden is now one half of a duo named “Flower of Zeus” who describe themselves as a “rock / poppy / punky sort of thing; about 65% less heavier than Slayer.” Gregg also drums for “The Clang Group.”