Welcome to our Introvert Interviews series where we talk to introverts from all walks of life about their experiences and their introversion.
Anna Bishop is a 15-year-old singer who will be releasing her first EP this Fall. She’s been singing professionally since she was 8 years old, has acted in both musical theater and dramatic productions, and does x-country running.
What’s it like being an introvert in high school?
Being an introvert in high school was slightly scary at first. All of the social expectations, academic standards, and athletic challenges can become easily overwhelming. However, once I realized that all of those worries were in my own head, I was able to relax into things more than before. Midyear, I found a group of girls that I felt really comfortable with, which made school a lot less stressful. But things are still hard, especially in the classroom. Most, if not all, of my classes have participation grades, which require a sufficient amount of speaking in class, and sharing thoughts. Personally, I find it extremely unfair to grade students on their level of confidence. In middle school, I was even more introverted than I am now, but in high school I actually have grades to think about. This continues to be an ongoing challenge for me.
Did you enjoy recording your first EP this past summer?
Honestly, I have mixed emotions! Although I have been recording for a couple of years now, this has been the longest amount of time spent recording at once. Being in the studio is fun, rewarding, and also very stressful. The turn out after a long session of recording definitely makes it all worth it, however, after several hours, I know that it is time to take a break. The intense focus that is required during recording is exhausting. Since I am an introvert, it is draining to have the spot light on me for extended amounts of time. I am glad that I did the EP this summer, but I am also glad to take a break from it, at least for a little while!
When did you first start singing?
I was in a children’s theater musical at age 8, after I went through a rough patch of girl drama at school. My mom enrolled me in several camps, thinking that it might take my mind off of school drama, and after that, I decided to audition for the Wizard of Oz, where I landed the pivotal role of a Munchkin… Anyway, I was hooked on musical theater, which started my phase of intense professional performing in musicals, operas, and dramatic theater.
In addition to singing, you also act in theatre productions, are involved in sports, and have written articles for @GirlZoneGZ, @MissheardMag, and Huffington Post @HuffPostTeen. What do you like to do when you’re relaxing in between all of your activities?
To be honest, sometimes it feels like I have no time to relax! But when I get the chance, I love to binge watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix, make music videos with friends, do makeovers with my sister, and spend quality cuddle sessions with my mini dachshund, Oskar. Although I don’t get tons of time to rest, I always make sure to have at least one hour a day of “chill-time”, or else I would probably go crazy.
Do you think your introversion has had an effect on your singing or acting?
If anything, I think it has made me a better performer. Being introverted has made me very sensitive to others, which definitely has translated through my acting. Singing and acting has also been a helpful outlet for me to express myself when I normally wouldn’t. For example, in 7th grade, I covered Taylor Swift’s “Mean,” bringing up the topic of bullying. There was some drama going on that year at school, and I hadn’t been able to vent about it, or confront anyone. So, instead, I channeled all of my emotions and angry thoughts into that song, and I got pretty fired up! Similarly, I sang a cover of “This Too Shall Pass,” by Tyler Stenson, and created a music video about bullying with all of my friends! It felt good to use my singing to express myself in ways that I normally couldn’t.
In your Huffington Post article, you wrote about how you find it rewarding to take risks and put yourself into situations that are often uncomfortable for a shy introvert. What was the most rewarding but scary thing that happened to you this past year?
Hands down, no doubt, x-country running! My parents forced me into it, and I cried… a lot… They thought that I would meet people, and that being active would lower my stress level all around; I was so mad! But after the first day, I had already met a really nice group of freshmen girls, and although it was very hard, I started to admit to myself that x-country was the right choice for me. Now, one of my best friends is one of the girls that I met that first day of practice. Even though I was scared, tired, and mad at my parents, I am beyond glad that I did x-country last year.
If you were able to travel back in time, is there any advice you would give to your younger introverted self?
My biggest piece of advice to give to my little, unhappy, awkward, shy, introverted 6th grade self, would be to RELAX! You are always going to be an introvert, and that’s okay. But if you feel unhappy, and you want to be happier, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort bubble. It’s okay to feel uncomfortable, and it’s okay to feel scared. The most important thing is to push yourself into vulnerable situations, because most of the time, you will be happy that you did. On the other hand, it’s totally fine to stay in on Friday nights, or skip that birthday sleepover. You have to embrace your introverted self, and honor who you are, and be okay with it. I know that you sometimes you feel compelled to go that extra mile, but if slowing down feels better, then slow down! Be true to yourself, even if you think that you’re weird, or “different.” You got this, little, unhappy, awkward, shy, introverted 6th grade self! Now go do great things, because I know that you can.
Where can people find out more about you?
You can like my Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AnnaJaneBishop
You can download free music on ReverbNation: www.reverbnation.com/annajanesmusic
You can follow me on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AnnaJaneBishop
And you can subscribe to my Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/user/annajanesmusic