The name WHEATS is a childhood nickname as well as an ancient symbol of regeneration and healing. WHEATS is composed of singer-songwriter Anna Elise Anderson and a rotating lineup of talented guitarists, drummers, bassists, and violinists. Based in Nashville, TN since 2017, WHEATS has shared a stage with Nashville acts including Jill Andrews, Hush Kids, Matthew Perryman Jones, Beau Turrentine, and Smooth Hound Smith. All songs on WHEATS I & II are written by Anna Elise Anderson and produced by Josh Reynolds in Nashville, TN.
Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Anderson writes and performs music for a wide range of projects. The former frontwoman of North Carolina punk/garage group Brain F, Elise has shared a stage with musicians and bands across the spectrum of genres, including The Intelligence, White Lung, The Men, Tyvek, G.G. King, and Double Negative. Anderson has contributed vocals on many other music projects, including NC-based bands Whatever Brains, Coma League, Push Pals, and Joint D. She's written and performed live with L.A. rapper Joe Crush opening for Talib Kwali and Big Krit, and created several vocal tracks with Chicago footwork DJ Big Hank and DJ Orange Julius. She collaborates frequently with Miami-based performance artist and sculptor Jen Clay, most recently creating and performing the score for Clay's live performance art piece titled "Nearing."
In 2013, after ten years away, Anderson returned to Florida and began researching the roots of old Florida music, recording a capella versions of traditional local songs. There, in 2013, she met and began dating fellow musician Michael Overly. The two formed a local punk act, made books and installments for local art shows, and wrote and performed songs together. In 2014, Overly passed away from a heroin overdose. The sudden loss of her close friend and collaborator sparked a new interest in the use of music as therapy. She began studying the applications of music for healing, from binaural beats and sound therapy to historical instances of other cultures using music to heal from trauma. Through her period of grieving, Anderson's research in traditional healing rhythms combined with her love for Florida's swampy musical traditions and led her to write the songs that became WHEATS I & II.
The gospel background, long periods of solitude, and the comfort of returning home to the porches and insects of Florida are all present in the musical arrangement and dynamics of the songs on both WHEATS EPs. Inspired by the rich variety of texture, wildlife, plant life, and weather in her hometown, Elise composed the anthemic, folky tunes as a way of healing from and processing grief. The instrumental aspects of each WHEATS song mimic the eerie hums and strange, rhythmic nuances of rural Florida, while the lyrical content of each song focuses on love, honestly, and gentleness in the face of loss.
Music heals the soul.