Singer’s busy, packed year makes up for lost time




 

 

Blue Alert is the artistic collaboration between Anjani and Leonard Cohen.

 




The new voice of Leonard Cohen has had barely a moment to catch her breath.

 

It actually isn’t quite new anymore — Anjani’s Blue Alert was released almost a full year ago, delivering Cohen’s inescapably evocative words in her slow, silken voice. But those 12 months have soared over Anjani. When she’s asked what to make of it all, she instead offers up a sigh.


“Life is so full and busy I haven’t had much time to look back,” she says. “So much has changed and yet I feel like it was just yesterday. I’ve investigated a phenomenon that’s called time acceleration where you accomplish so much, there’s so much to do, that you never get quite caught up in the whole thing.”


It’s a new phenomenon for Anjani — she admits there were “entire years when I was so bored and had nothing to do” and even mentions years of depression that only lifted halfway through her 30s. Blue Alert, however, was far from her introduction into music. The Hawaii native was professionally trained in guitar, piano and voice; she’s circled the jazz clubs of Manhattan and released independent albums in 2000 and 2001.


But from crafting an album based on snippets of Cohen’s writing — from a published poem to a single line jotted in a journal — she’s described the experience, in past interviews, as “the greatest musical experience of my life” and “the beginning of my career.” Strange, then, that Anjani admits none of it was expected.


“I think we were both surprised — I didn’t really know where this record was going as it was evolving,” she says. “I think the genesis of it started several years ago, actually. It’s hard to say when you’re hitting the coconuts 40 times that the last hit breaks it and suddenly you get the great milk. Who’s to say it was the last hit or all the preceding ones?”


It’s not quite a “last hit” though. Anjani’s recently put together a band and, although the last year’s been a blur, the future comes across quite clear.


“Now that I have a group of musicians, the music is coming alive in a very different way,” she says, noting the next album will still feature much of Cohen’s timeless lyricism but, this time, accompanied by her own “pearl or two.”


“I feel like I’m living the songs in such a totally new way,” she adds. “It’s really quite exciting.”