Spotlight: Lotte Kestner (aka Anna-Lynne Williams)

Photo by Maurice Morales

Anna-Lynne Williams (formerly of Trespassers William) has been recording solo music under the name Lotte Kestner since 2007. With a successful music career, spanning over a number of bands and collaborations, Anna-Lynne is currently preparing for the release of her new band Ormonde’s second album.

We bring you a taste of Anna-Lynne’s music and catch up with her to talk about her musical journey, inspirations, new projects and future plans.



Seattle, Washington, United States


Saint Marie Records, Saint-Loup Records


Anna-Lynne Williams: “Lotte Kestner picks up where Trespassers William left off, equal parts folk and shoegaze, but often stripped down to the bare elements of lyrics and melody.”


“In the vein of My Bloody Valentine, Jolie Holland, and perhaps even Codeine, those remarkable shoe-gazers that were part of Sub Pop’s early catalog. Williams’ music is moody, inward, and her lyrics are wonderfully unpredictable.”
Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Even though it doesn’t matter what she’s singing–the mood translates well through melody and instrumentation–it’s lucky for the listener that the lyrics are included in the CD booklet. The sheer poetry of the songs is remarkable.”
Seattle Sound
“It’s like the Little Match Girl instead sold all of her matches and bought a guitar.”
{Sic} Magazine


Rocky Votolato, Damien Jurado, Courtney Marie Andrews, Robert Gomez, Montavilla, Robert Deeble, Le Wrens, Motopony


Until, Saint-Loup Records, 2013
The Bluebird of Happiness, Saint Marie Records, 2013
Stolen, Saint-Loup Records, 2011
China Mountain, Saint-Loup Records, 2008

Bandcamp1 Bandcamp2 Merch Soundcloud Facebook Twitter
By Evelyn He
By Evelyn He

What and who were your musical influences growing up? And how about today?

I listened to a fair amount of quality music even as a little kid, as my brother had a huge record collection, but my favorite was Madonna until I graduated to bands like Depeche Mode and The Smiths. Around the time I started writing music I was listening to singer songwriters like Ron Sexsmith, Vic Chesnutt, and Elliott Smith. Radiohead will always be a favorite, and these days the lion’s share of what I listen to is by Damien Jurado and The National.

Of all your songs in various projects, are there particular ones that you feel more attached to than others?

Some stand the test of time more than others, for sure. There are old songs like “Lie in the Sound” that I love because I don’t think I could ever write another song like that one again. I have changed too much since then. I really like the song “Eggshell” off of the Bluebird of Happiness because it was a sort of experiment made with a few pieces of gear and only one hand when I couldn’t use my left arm at all. My song “Crush the Bird” feels like a quintessential Anna-Lynne song to me. Most of the songs feel like my favorite when I’m writing it; that’s what keeps you working on it.

We know you have your own poetry book. Can you tell us a bit more about your interest in poetry and its impact on your music?

I started writing poetry very early on, words and metaphors are my favorite part of everything I do. But when I started writing songs people responded to that much more. Being able to use your voice and a melody to present your feelings seemed like a short cut to getting people to understand, and I stopped writing poetry altogether until I got tendinitis and wasn’t able to use the guitar for months at a time. I’d stay up writing poetry instead. I’ve written 100 poems or so since then. Sometimes poetry feels more pure to me, to have to communicate with an audio-free medium. Some of the poems have become songs, but often times it’s a very different sort of language.

Your band Ormonde has recently premiered a new video and the second album is coming out soon. How do you feel about the project in general and the new album in particular?

Yeah we are very excited. I am really grateful for this project, it’s such a great compromise between being a solo artist and being in a band. It’s just the two of us, Robert and I, and the music (especially on this new album) is still really personal, but the sound is so much more than I could come up with. Both of our albums have been recorded in remote locations over the course of a few weeks – we get away from the world and do nothing but create music. I feel like there’s a sense of total immersion in the end product. The new album is more introspective and slow and moody than our first album. I can’t wait to tour.

What does the future have in store for you? Will you continue to write and record as Lotte Kestner? Any tour plans?

Ormonde will be touring in the spring. I’m not sure I would ever have much interest in touring all by myself. But I will continue to make music as Lotte Kestner, I imagine, always. I have a little recording set-up in my bedroom and there are always a dozen or so songs in the works. But yeah, I imagine there will be another Ormonde album or two and I am looking forward to delving into that.

Anything else you would like to share with us?

Just that I love making music and plan to always do it. Sometimes it’s a labor of love more than other times, like when you have an injury, or as the industry changes and you have to keep adapting to it. I’ve been a part of the old school record label/manager/booking agent era, and I’ve been a part of the start your own label and DIY era (Saint-Loup is a label that I started up) and it’s taken a lot of adjustment and creativity to stay afloat. Also I just wrote a song for an indie film called Maybe Someday that will hopefully be out soon, so I look forward to that being out in the world.

You can (pre)order Ormonde’s new album ‘Cartographer/Explorer’ at: (US and Canada) (Europe & the rest of the world)
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