Ana Gomulka always knew she had an affinity for music and performing. Her first words came after her first melody. From there, she enriched herself with any and every kind of sound.
“My parents inspired me to understand jazz music and culture,” Gomulka said. Her parents are also musicians who work primarily in jazz. She recalls her first CDs ranging from Michael Jackson to CeCe Winans to Yolanda Adams. “R&B is music that really just comes to me and speaks to my soul. I feel like it also encompasses all of the other genres of music, so I feel like R&B is a more modern form of all of those influences.”
As soon as she could, Gomulka started exploring different instruments and building her personal sound. She started with piano but moved onto acoustic guitar as a 12-year-old after an extreme fascination with the instrument. After learning her first guitar chord, Gomulka started to write her own songs.
Now, Gomulka goes by the stage name “ANA” performing primarily R&B, electronic, and soul music. She began gaining experience performing live music through her band Honey Monsoon. During her time at Eastern Michigan University, ANA met others with similar musical passions inspiring them to create the neo-soul Indie band.
“Our connection to the community locally is really strong,” she said. “We self produced our two albums, Opal Soul and Rose Gold. Obviously it always feels good to complete a project but when you can feel the wave of reaction and positive affirmation from listeners, it is really fulfilling.”
ANA has always had positive experiences after releasing any form of her art. This is not only within the local Metro-Detroit community where she is best known but throughout Michigan as a whole.
“People are receptive to genuine forms of expression in a way that I never want to take for granted,” ANA said. “It feels good to know that our music is transcending all different boundaries that people from all walks of life, ages, and demographics are able to enjoy the music together.”
As a result of these interactions with the community, ANA places an emphasis on organizing and supporting other artists in her communities with their endeavors.
“Being an independent artist can be really challenging,” she said. “Besides artist advocacy which looks like uplifting artists’ voices especially women and women of color. Making sure that the ground is even and that we are able to get taken care of the way we are supposed to [is important]. There was a time when artists were funded by the government and community, I hope we can get back to that point.”
Her focus is not just on musical artists, but any person who creates art in a capacity. ANA works with paint, prints, and animation to experiment and consider her creativity within different platforms.
“It is hard for me to stay in one specific mode in making art,” ANA said. “It speaks to who I am because I like to try different things and see what works, [see] what feels good and what doesn’t.”
ANA recently released her first official single, Fall With Me. Even though she has been songwriting for a long time, most of her works are in a private collection, and the others have been for Honey Monsoon, a team effort. For her solo work, she can really explore herself and her sound.
“Honey Monsoon has helped me both define and broaden my writing,” she said. “I think that the feeling is the biggest distinguishing factor. When I produce my own music, I like to start with the vocals first because that really highlights the quality of my music that says the most about who I am.”
While her songs focus on her personal emotional and spiritual experiences, she wants the listener to relate and come to their own conclusions about her message.
“It can be challenging to put emotions into words that actually express the emotions fully and not in a way that has been taught to us by the other media we have consumed,” ANA said. “I always try to write from a place of honesty and exploration, but also write in ways that evoke feeling in whatever capacity.”