On October 15, approximately a year after going through a breakup, Ana Kingery released her first-ever EP, "My Closure."
Kingery is a sophomore interior design major at Iowa State from Johnston, Iowa, and a self-taught musician. This summer, Kingery decided to pursue her dream of releasing an EP. As a college student, finding the money to produce and record an album, in addition to the usual expenses that come with being in college, was something that stood in her way.
"My relationship ended last October, so it was a while ago," Kingery said. "It was my first real relationship. It took me a really long time to heal from it. Over the summer I started writing, and I started with 'Turn back the time.'"
Over the summer, she worked in a Greek restaurant and asked the community for help with affording studio time and a producer. Kingery was surprised by the number of donations she received.
"I felt really bad making a GoFundMe, but at the same time, I wasn't going to be making money off this unless people purchase it," Kingery said.
Kingery has a background in music but not extensive formal training. She sang in the choir in high school and took piano lessons for one year; however, she has always preferred making her own music to playing other people's songs. She remembers being eight and writing her own songs.
"I used to write songs on sticky notes," Kingery said.
When Kingery started working with her producer, Phil Young, she knew exactly what she wanted out of her music. Before going in to record, she had rough recordings of her piano and vocals for six tracks already recorded. They used those to work from.
"Working with Ana was really cool because with her having no experience, she very obviously knew what she wanted out of her EP and that was really helpful for me," Young said. "She had a very clear vision of what she wanted."
Phil Young is a Des Moines-based music producer and audio engineer who works with musicians in Iowa to record and produce their work.
Roughly a year ago, Kingery started releasing her music on SoundCloud after much convincing from her friends. Prior to the release of her EP, she had two songs titled "Love of mine" and "All I know," both of which she recorded with GarageBand on her phone.
When Kingery needs support, she turns to her best friend, Emily Nguyen.
Nguyen is a sophomore at Iowa State and majors in business marketing.
"We went to the same school district our entire lives and then in the eighth grade we met because we were fighting over a boy," Nguyen said.
Kingery credits Nguyen with persistently encouraging her to make music and pursue her dreams. Two days before the EP dropped on streaming platforms, Nguyen hosted a listening party for the EP at her apartment.
"[Nguyen] has been trying to get me to do this for so long and then she even made a post about it and one of my other friends made a post about it on their actual Instagram," Kingery said. "Just every single comment and every single thing has been amazing and I have not taken anything for granted."
According to Nguyen, there were probably 20 people there, and everyone was listening so intently, wanting to hear the songs again.
Looking forward, it seems people have different ideas about where Kingery's career might go.
"I am more than grateful to have been asked to play the keys for Ana," Dale Young said. "Releasing music is not an easy thing and I really hope she continues to do so in the future."
Dale Young, senior in electrical engineering at Iowa State, and Kingery's boyfriend. He accompanied her on piano on her song "Turn back the time."
Young has brought up his interest in working with Kingery in the future.
"Because she has such a clear vision of what she wants, I think she would really excel at helping be a producer for other people's music," Young said.
Kingery sees music playing a role in her life, no matter what she does career-wise.
"I think even if this doesn't really go anywhere and I wanted to give up on music, I probably wouldn't be able to," Kingery said. "I just think I'd always go back."
According to Kingery, since the release of her EP, she has seen growth in her audience on streaming platforms. She has over 600 monthly listeners on Spotify and over a thousand streams on SoundCloud.
"'Turn back the time' was the first song I wrote for the EP and it was a big step in the healing process," Kingery said. "'Serenity' resembles my favorite kind of music, it's very therapeutic and dreamy. I absolutely love the strings and big vocal parts at the end of it and it turned out just how I wanted it to."
According to Kingery, she's really proud of every track on her EP, but a couple of songs were special to her for different reasons.
For most of the EP, Kingery played piano and sang solo; however, some tracks did have percussion and string accompaniment. On the track "Turn back the time," her boyfriend, Dale Young, played the piano.
Despite the accomplishment Kingery feels now that her EP is out, she credits those around her for making it all worth it to her.
"Like people from my high school that I never talked to, are suddenly adding me on Snapchat and being like 'hey keep doing this,' and things like that, I don't think I would be so content with where I am at without that," said Kingery.
"My Closure" is out now and available on Apple Music and Spotify.