Intrinsic Drive®

Music Majesty with Barbara and Lili Anel

March 20, 2024 Phil Wharton - Wharton Health Season 5 Episode 5
Music Majesty with Barbara and Lili Anel
Intrinsic Drive®
More Info
Intrinsic Drive®
Music Majesty with Barbara and Lili Anel
Mar 20, 2024 Season 5 Episode 5
Phil Wharton - Wharton Health

Music Intro: "Another Place, Another Time."--Performed by Lily Anel in collaboration with Barbara Anel.
Music Outro: "Estey's Theme."--written and performed by Barbara Anel.

Photo Provided by :  Lili Anel  

Growing up in a Harlem tenement perched above a record store, the Anel Sisters spent their Saturday “cleaning days” listening to albums and 45’s bought from their chore allowance. Barbara and Lili developed an early love of music from their mother, who exposed them to eclectic playlists’ ranging from Afro-Cuban jazz, Sarah Vaughn, Tchaikovsky, to Dizzy Gillespie. 

A trip to see “The Sound of Music”, inspired Barbara to transpose music from the film on the piano. The twins were encouraged by their grandparents to follow their own artistic paths, Barbara was gifted her first piano, from her grandmother. Lili’s grandfather gave her a white toy guitar; dressed to the nines he with would sneak into Mass to hear her sing in choir, a voice he could hear above the others. 

The sisters took divergent paths. After studying at the Eddie Simon Guitar school and the Shelia Jordan workshop, Lili jumped headfirst into the Greenwich Village music scene and went on to record the first of her nine albums. Barbara graduated with honors from C.C.N.Y with a degree in music and , after seeing the devastating realities from her sisters struggles in the music industry, she chose a career in law enforcement allowing her to compose and create music on her own terms. 

 Join these master composers, songwriters, and performers as they share their lives, adversities, and challenges overcome, with heart, laughter, and graceful honesty. It is my pleasure to welcome Barbara and Lili Anel to this episode of Intrinsic Drive  ® .

Lili has recorded eight albums including,  “Laughed Last”, “High-Octane Coffee”, “Dream Again”, “Every Second in Between”, “I Can See Bliss From Here”, “Another Place, Another Time”, “Better Days”, and “Better Days Remastered”. She co-wrote the song “Lovers Leap” for the upcoming play “Folk City: The Musical.” Her song “Dream Again” was featured in “The Center of Distance”, Rock Wilk’s independent film which won the 2022 Venice Film Festival. 

In addition to headlining US tours, she has performed alongside music legends B.B King, Cassandra Wilson, Michael Franks, Boz Scaggs, Richie Havens, and Robert Cray to name a few. For videos and upcoming shows visit

Barbara composed and collaborated with her sister on various songs including, “The Wrong Time”, and “Another Place, Another Time”, which appeared on the “Better Days Remastered” album. Her recent compositions and film collaboration with Rock Wilk on his “Stories in 4k”, and upcoming film, "This Is The End for Me". Samples of Barbara's scores can be found on her website. 

Intrinsic Drive ®  is produced by Ellen Strickler and Phil Wharton and Andrew Hollingworth  is sound editor and engineer.

Show Notes Transcript

Music Intro: "Another Place, Another Time."--Performed by Lily Anel in collaboration with Barbara Anel.
Music Outro: "Estey's Theme."--written and performed by Barbara Anel.

Photo Provided by :  Lili Anel  

Growing up in a Harlem tenement perched above a record store, the Anel Sisters spent their Saturday “cleaning days” listening to albums and 45’s bought from their chore allowance. Barbara and Lili developed an early love of music from their mother, who exposed them to eclectic playlists’ ranging from Afro-Cuban jazz, Sarah Vaughn, Tchaikovsky, to Dizzy Gillespie. 

A trip to see “The Sound of Music”, inspired Barbara to transpose music from the film on the piano. The twins were encouraged by their grandparents to follow their own artistic paths, Barbara was gifted her first piano, from her grandmother. Lili’s grandfather gave her a white toy guitar; dressed to the nines he with would sneak into Mass to hear her sing in choir, a voice he could hear above the others. 

The sisters took divergent paths. After studying at the Eddie Simon Guitar school and the Shelia Jordan workshop, Lili jumped headfirst into the Greenwich Village music scene and went on to record the first of her nine albums. Barbara graduated with honors from C.C.N.Y with a degree in music and , after seeing the devastating realities from her sisters struggles in the music industry, she chose a career in law enforcement allowing her to compose and create music on her own terms. 

 Join these master composers, songwriters, and performers as they share their lives, adversities, and challenges overcome, with heart, laughter, and graceful honesty. It is my pleasure to welcome Barbara and Lili Anel to this episode of Intrinsic Drive  ® .

Lili has recorded eight albums including,  “Laughed Last”, “High-Octane Coffee”, “Dream Again”, “Every Second in Between”, “I Can See Bliss From Here”, “Another Place, Another Time”, “Better Days”, and “Better Days Remastered”. She co-wrote the song “Lovers Leap” for the upcoming play “Folk City: The Musical.” Her song “Dream Again” was featured in “The Center of Distance”, Rock Wilk’s independent film which won the 2022 Venice Film Festival. 

In addition to headlining US tours, she has performed alongside music legends B.B King, Cassandra Wilson, Michael Franks, Boz Scaggs, Richie Havens, and Robert Cray to name a few. For videos and upcoming shows visit

Barbara composed and collaborated with her sister on various songs including, “The Wrong Time”, and “Another Place, Another Time”, which appeared on the “Better Days Remastered” album. Her recent compositions and film collaboration with Rock Wilk on his “Stories in 4k”, and upcoming film, "This Is The End for Me". Samples of Barbara's scores can be found on her website. 

Intrinsic Drive ®  is produced by Ellen Strickler and Phil Wharton and Andrew Hollingworth  is sound editor and engineer.

Phil Wharton  (00:00:00):

A lifetime of training, practice, study hard work through discipline, some achieve excellence, mastery, fulfillment, self-actualization. What can we learn from their beginnings, discoveries, motivations, and falls? How do they dust themselves off and resume their journey? During these interviews, stories and conversations, we reveal their intrinsic drive.


Growing up in a Harlem tenement purged above a record store, the Anel sisters spent their Saturday cleaning days listening to albums, and 45's bought from their chore allowance. Barbara and Lily's early love of music was boosted by the encouragement of their mother, who exposed them to eclectic playlists, ranging from Afro-Cuban Jazz, Sarah Vaughn Tchaikovsky to Dizzy Gillespie. The twins were also cheered on by their grandparents who encouraged them to follow their own paths. Barbara was gifted her first piano from her grandmother, and Lily's grandfather gave her a white toy guitar adorned with a picture of a palamino horse on the front. The sisters did go on to take divergent paths. After studying at the Eddie Simon Guitar School in the Sheila Jordan workshop, Lily jumped headfirst into the Greenwich Village music scene and went on to record the first of her nine albums. Barbara graduated with honors from the City College of New York with a degree in music. But after seeing the devastating realities of her sister's struggles in the music industry, she chose a career in law enforcement allowing her to compose and create music on her own terms. Join these master composers, songwriters, and performers as they share their lives, adversities and challenges overcome with heart laughter and graceful honesty. It is my pleasure to welcome Barbara and Lily anal to this episode of Intrinsic Drive.


And let's just start at the beginning. Let's go to, for both of you all the genesis or the beginning of your stories in terms of your art and your craft and music, and what was the inciting moment, and whoever wants to start and begin with that.

Barbara Anel  (00:02:33):
This is Barbara. 

Phil Wharton 

Hey, Barbara. 

Barbara Anel 

For me, I'm going to say that since I can remember, music has always been a very big part of life for both Lily and I, but speaking for myself, we grew up in a household where all different genres of music were being played. And we were very young many, many years ago, my mom, our mom, on Saturday, Saturday's was cleaning day. She had a stereo and she would have a stack of LP's that she would place on the stereo, and we would hear everything from authentic Afro-Cuban chant, music drum music to the big bands of Cuba, Sarah Vaughn, to Tchaikovsky.

Phil Wharton  (00:03:35):

Oh, great.

Barbara Anel  (00:03:39):

 Dizzy Gillespie, to Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra. We heard everything, so we were exposed to it. It became an everyday thing to hear. But I have to say, for me, a real defining moment was Mom took us to see the sound of music. And I remember coming home and I had a little toy piano, and I pecked out just about every song that I heard in that movie. And my mother, she really exclaimed to my grandmother, listen to Barbara, she's playing all the music from the movie. I can't believe it. How do you do that? And I said, mom, doe-re-me. And that stuck with me. And I knew somehow in the back of my mind that music was going to be a big part of who I was. I didn't know how or when, but I knew that it was there.

Phil Wharton  (00:04:40):

So that was the first movie you scored when you came home, because I remember reading from your bio, it was so wonderful that you could listen to a piece, but your context was always when you came out of the movie house, Hey, what about that music? 

Barbara Anel  (00:04:56):

Yes, always.

Phil Wharton  (00:04:57):

So that's where your sensibility went to. I love that about the Sound of Music and wonderful.

Lily Anel (00:05:04):

She also, this is Lily. My sister Barbara also did that with television shows.

Phil Wharton  (00:05:07):


Lily Anel (00:05:08):

Yep. She did it as well. So cool background music, she'd hum. The music didn't have to be a vocal piece. She'd say, you have to listen to the music. And I was like, yeah, I heard the music, but I'm paying attention to the story. So I don't know. It was a whole thing for me, similar to my sister being raised in that environment. When we were born in Harlem, we lived above a record store. 

Phil Wharton 

That's right. Oh wow.

Barbara Anel  (00:05:39):

We played Latin music and you could hear from feeling the floor, the reverberation, the rythum, and the bass. And I remember as a kid, there was a popular song called "Perico", about a goat that was deaf, and they were trying to warm him. He was playing on the railroad tracks. They were telling him, get off the railroad tracks, the train's coming. And we learned that from hearing it coming up to the extent that my grandfather bought us the 45, and we'd play it.

Phil Wharton  (00:06:08)

Here comes the train.

Lily Anel (00:06:10):

And so it was a very popular, I was like the pop song of Latin Music at that time, and listening to that, and I guess I would say that support that we'd hear a song and sing it, and my grandfather would go out and buy the record. It's very supportive and very much influencing that sing here. Go ahead, listen some more.

Phil Wharton  (00:06:32):


Lily Anel (00:06:33):

Do some more. I remember he bought me my first guitar. It was a toy guitar, it was orange, and it had a white palomino horse on the front. I remember. So cool. Brought it home. I woke up from my nap and I looked at him and I'm like, what am I supposed to do with that? He said, play it. And I said, but in Spanish, you say, I don't know. How do you do it? So he picked up the guitar and he mimicked, he was playing it, but he was playing it like a quatro or a tres, which is a Cuban acoustic guitar, and it has a very distinct sound kink, kink, kink, And so he would do that. And so I would just bang away at the thing, and he put a piece of rope around it so I could wear it like a guitar strap. And that influenced me a lot. But the music that we heard from the record store beneath us was influential. And then my mom, as we got older, she took us to concerts. First big concert I ever went to was in Central Park, and it was a huge jazz. The jazz thing,

Phil Wharton  (00:07:38):

That summer stage.

Barbara Anel  (00:07:39):

I remember that That Miles was there.

Phil Wharton  (00:07:41)

Oh, really? I remember Miles. Oh, wow. I saw Miles once.

Barbara Anel  (00:07:44)

I remember Willie Bobo

Phil Wharton  (00:07:45):


Barbara Anel  (00:07:45):

 Les McCann and Eddie Harris.

Phil Wharton  (00:07:48):

Oh my gosh. Yeah.

Barbara Anel  (00:07:50):

The flute player, Herbie Mann

Phil Wharton  (00:07:52):

 Sure. Herbie Mann.

Lily Anel  (00:07:53):

And I remember that. Les McCann, Eddie Harris. They had that hit, "listen here", at the time. And I remember telling my mother, you have to buy me that record. You have to buy me that record. And I was taken aback by just the whole majesty of it, that it was all these people sitting on one place listening to music. I'm like, my brain said, look at this. What do the people on stage feel like?

Phil Wharton  (00:08:15):


Lily Anel (00:08:15):

So that was a big thing. That was the initial fundamental that, and just listening to a lot of music and fortunate to the music that came out that was popular would have an influence. But

Phil Wharton  (00:08:29):

I remember reading something about your mother going to maybe that same record store and picking up those two Beatles albums, one for each of you. Oh boy. Yeah. I don't think it was like, okay,

Lily Anel (00:08:40):

I remember that was the biggest thing. I'm not going to speak for my sister, but I will say for myself,

Barbara Anel  (00:08:48):

No, I agree with Lily. The biggest influence. She came home from work one day. She handed me the Beatles on VJ Records, and she handed my sister the popular black covered, "Meet the Beatles. "

Phil Wharton  (00:09:01):

Yes, "Meet the Beatles." I remember. Yep.

Lily Anel (00:09:02):

And we said, who are they? I'm going to put the news on tonight. You'll find out.

Barbara Anel  (00:09:07):

I remember. This is Barbara. I remember mom saying to us, I don't know if you're going to like this, but I think you will. And she handed us each an album, and we looked at it and went, WOW. And of course, my grandmother was in the background telling her that we were going to become communists. We were following these longhaired people. And that looked so strange, and I took that with a grain of salt because my grandmother didn't like anything. So I kind of knew that.

Phil Wharton  (00:09:38):

 So that didn't get through. I love the eclectic nature of this. It seemed to be no borders to the experiences in music. Just, Hey, let's try this. Let's listen to this. Let's listen to that. And so all these, and that makes sense with your style, Lily, I think is the diversity, but also it's all coming to the uniqueness of you because of all these influences are just so, it's like a cornucopia of influences. It's beautiful. 

Lily Anel (00:10:10):

Well, It reflects me being, I say biracial, but I'm multiracial Afro-Cuban, born in New York City. I feel New Yorkers are in an ethnic category by ourselves.

Phil Wharton  (00:10:23):


Lily Anel (00:10:25):

Hearing the African drumming. And then there's music from Spain that came from my father's side. He would bring us albums of Tango music, and we'd listen to Carlos Gardel, which was real traditional Spaniard. So yeah, there's a huge range of music that we listened to. But I will say that when I got that Beatles record and that Sunday when they performed on Ed Sullivan, that was it. I sat there and I just looked at my sister and she looked at me, and in my head I kept thinking, I don't know how I'm going to do this, but I'm going to do it. And the first thought was like, well, gee, there aren't any girls doing this, but it would come around. Do we have to dress like boys? Because the influence was so strong, and it was great. And the idea was my sister and I, if we kept our grades up every Friday, my mom's payday, we'd hand her a list of 45's.

Phil Wharton  (00:11:23):

No way. That's so great.

Barbara Anel  (00:11:24):

And he would come back with them.

Lily Anel (00:11:26):

That was the reward.

Phil Wharton  (00:11:27):

That was the reward.

Lily Anel (00:11:28):

We'd come home from school, then some Fridays she'd show up and she'd say, okay, these three singles are in this new album. And she'd pull out a whole album, which was like.

Barbara Anel  (00:11:35):

It was great. It was great.

Phil Wharton  (00:11:37):


Lily Anel (00:11:37):

So that's how we amassed a huge record collection, because we'd keep getting over 90 so we could get that record. Wow. And that was the, so, wow. I'm not just realizing now talking about it, that influence was that ran deep.

Phil Wharton  (00:11:55):

And this was all a prequel to you singing in the church choir, Lily, right? This before. Okay. Okay.

Lily Anel (00:12:03):

Yes, it was because we were like, this is what, we were like seven when the Beatles came. And so yeah. So yeah, I wasn't singing in church then. We lived in the South Bronx at that point. We had Harlem. We went to public school, which was really rough. And then they put us in Catholic school, which was a whole other kind of rough, I will remain decent in my discussion about it, but quite frankly, I have not much nothing good to say about it. But one of the things that helped me was they forced us. You had to go to church on Sunday trying to profess some sort of love for God. Their only interest was the envelope.

Phil Wharton  (00:12:46):

Okay. So it really wasn't

Lily Anel  (00:12:48):

I got that spot on from the beginning, make it tolerable for me. I joined the choir. So since I could sing well, and our church had this gigantic church organ that I thought that was the most majestic thing in life. I've always loved organ. I felt like I was getting right to God.

Phil Wharton  (00:13:07):

That's right. Right. Direct to the source.

Barbara Anel  (00:13:09):

And I loved it. And that was the only thing that made it tolerable. Tolerable for me. I knew it was like theater. I said, this God thing, I'm not completely understanding it, but it ain't what they're showing me in front of me. Uhuh, even at a young age, I got it.

Phil Wharton  (00:13:32):

You knew that there was a gateway through this.

Lily Anel (00:13:34):

There was something different. And I said, no, but I'm just going to sing. And my grandfather wouldn't come. My grandfather's father, he was born in Africa. That's where we come from. And our belief, our life systems and our belief systems are more spiritual, more in tandem with nature.

Phil Wharton  (00:13:54):

Natural world.

Lily Anel (00:13:55):

The four elements. It's kind of like the Native Americans, but the Aruba tribe of Africa. That's from where we come from. And so grandpa gave a side eye to the Catholics, if you know what I mean.

Phil Wharton  (00:14:09):

I do. I do.

Lily Anel (00:14:10):

One day I'm in church singing, and I turn around and I see him at the back of the church. And my grandfather used to dress real sharp.

Phil Wharton  (00:14:18):


Lily Anel (00:14:19):

He stood, and he would stand real straight. And I was like, that's grandpa in the church. He came to the church.

Lily Anel(00:14:27):

When church was over, I looked around, he was nowhere to be found. I was thinking I maybe confused him with someone else. I kept telling her, did you see grandpa? Did you see grandpa? And I said, it wasn't him. So by the time we get home, he's already in his regular clothes making us pancakes. He used to do after we come home from church to have breakfast. And he was like, I wasn't there. I said, yes, you were. I saw. He goes, I don't go to that stuff. So years later, I remember I asked, and then I asked my mom, he goes, he went. I said, well, I asked him, why'd you come to the church? He said, I went to hear you sing. I said, me, I sing in a whole choir. And he said, well, I can hear your voice above. You're the best one. I was like, I am. He said, yeah. That was it. Years later, when I decided to become a musician and sing, my mother tells me that my grandfather used to tell her, Lily's going to be a famous singer one day. And she say, Papa, what are you talking about? She's a little kid. She wants to play baseball.

Phil Wharton  (00:15:32):

I love it.

Lily Anel (00:15:34):

I said, no. I said, well, why didn't you ever tell me this? She said, I didn't want to influence you. I wanted that If it came to you organically, if that you came to it naturally that that's how you should do it.

Phil Wharton  (00:15:47):

What amazing parenting that way. Because if that's what the show is about, intrinsic drive, if it coming from the inside, it's coming from the heart. It's a more sustainable energy and propels us forward. And so she knew what a wise mom to know.

Lily Anel (00:16:04):

Yes, she was.

Barbara Anel  (00:16:05):

Yes, she was.

Phil Wharton  (00:16:06):

Yeah. And I love the fact that your grandfather gives you your first guitar and the toy guitar, and then all of a sudden is pretending like he's not there, but he's really, so there's just a lot of support here for both of you

Lily Anel (00:16:19):

It gave us also something else. I mean, we grew up in really rough neighborhoods.

Phil Wharton  (00:16:23):

Yeah. Yeah.

Lily Anel (00:16:25):

It gave us to look forward to coming home from school while we weren't allowed out to play. It was like, hurry up, do your homework so we could play records.

Phil Wharton  (00:16:34):

Indeed. That's really beautiful. And when you're looking at the ascent is sort of rising in your craft, how old were you all and was there an event that made that path clear to you that you remember for either of you?

Barbara Anel  (00:16:51):

This is Barbara. Yes.

Barbara Anel (00:16:54)

I'm going to say that I found my way to wanting to study the piano when I was about to enter high school. Actually, I was in high school, and I didn't know, as I said earlier, how or when it was going to be. But I knew I wanted to be a musician of some kind. In the interim, I was hijacking all of my mother's classical albums. I would play them. And I was always drawn to the sound of the piano and how beautiful it was. And at the same time, I was taking all the introductory music classes and acing all of them.

Phil Wharton  (00:17:37):

Okay, yes. That makes sense.

Barbara Anel  (00:17:39):

 I had a good conversation with my grandmother, who I was a lot closer to, and she said to me, have you given any thought to what you want to do with life? And I told her, well, grandma, I love music. And she says, that's what I was alluding to, because I hear you playing your mother's records. And I said, I just love the music. I love the way it sounds. She says, well, if you're going to be a musician, you have to study an instrument. What would you like? What do you think? And I said, I want to learn the piano. And she said, okay, well, let's talk some more about it, which will take me to, I guess, a pivotal turning point. One of course many, but a real big one. She went to my mother and she had her little savings book. Back then you had a savings account. They gave you a book.

Phil Wharton  (00:18:35):

Yes. I remember.

Barbara Anel  (00:18:36):

They wrote in, every time you made a deposit or you made a withdrawal, the people that are listening that don't know what we're talking about in any case.

Phil Wharton  (00:18:42):

 Right. This wasn't an app. This is a precursor to them.

Barbara Anel  (00:18:46):

She said, Lydia, get Barbara a piano. Buy her a Steinway. 

Phil Wharton 

Barbara Anel 

The next day we had a fire. We lost everything. We had the clothes on our back. Unfortunately, our grandmother succumbed to smoke inhalation. I am grateful to her because my mother told me, your grandmother gave me her bank book. She wanted me to buy you Steinway. And I said, oh, mom, I'm so glad that you had it. And she says, I know. Nonetheless, I went on to study the piano, and here I am. I went on to study music theory in high school, and I was in advanced classes, and I studied the piano, and it took me all the way through college, and I got my degree, and here I am.

Phil Wharton  (00:19:42):

That's amazing. And you graduated with honors, right?

Barbara Anel  (00:19:45):

With honors, yes. We're proud of that.

Phil Wharton  (00:19:47):

And your bachelor's at CCNY.

Barbara Anel  (00:19:50):

CCNY, Yes.

Phil Wharton  (00:19:50):

Yeah. And it's so beautiful now when I listen to your pieces and I've had the opportunity to listen through Rock Wilk"s movie and also the, "Stories in 4K" that he's doing now on YouTube, and the piece that you sent me, and there's such a resonance. There's such a haunting storytelling resonance that just fills, it's electric. It puts you into the scene or into that exact, it just, there's so many emotions that are evoked, and I just love what you're doing with that.

Barbara Anel  (00:20:27):

Thank you.

Phil Wharton  (00:20:27):

Yeah, it's very beautiful.

Barbara Anel  (00:20:29):

I've always had a cinematic approach to it.

Phil Wharton  (00:20:31):

Have you? Yeah, it makes sense.

Barbara Anel  (00:20:32):

Music, I always have a movie playing in my head when I'm composing something and I can see exactly what's going on in my head.

Phil Wharton  (00:20:40):

That's so beautiful. So that's what you feel with you, Barbara, is that was the where you're starting to rise. And what about that when you worked at that library, they called the Corelli Jacobs DeWolf, was that? Did you sort of, okay, was that sort of just a stop along the way that you realized, okay, was there a roadblock there or was it a way to learn more about the movie creation of composing?

Barbara Anel  (00:21:15):

What I experienced there directly was watching the musicians put how to put together commercial music for a commercial and working with an ad agency and saying, this is exactly what we want. 

Phil Wharton 


Barbara Anel 

So I kind of got a bird's eye view of exactly how that was done, and I found it fascinating. I said, gee, I don't know if I could ever do that. You had little snippets, 30 seconds snippets.

Phil Wharton  (00:21:42):

Right. They were quick, right snippets. 

Barbara Anel  (00:21:44):

And sometimes they selected music from a library, but most of the time they had a recording studio and they have musicians that would grab a synthesizer or a guitar or go to the piano and throw something together real quick. So it was a stop along the way. My job there, I worked in the office, but as I said, I did get to spend some time in the studio and watch them work. So it was a stop along the way, I would say, for me.

Phil Wharton  (00:22:14):

Got it. Got it. That makes sense. And Lily, what did you feel about that moment when you're starting to rise and what comes up for you in that?

Lily Anel (00:22:29):

I discovered my musicianship late. The incident with my sister mentioned the fire. And I remember that my grandmother wishing to buy Barbara a piano, and as I mentioned, I loved organ in addition to my little toy guitar. I also had, when I was younger, a toy type of keyboard, the M and E Electric Chord Organ.

Lily Anel(00:22:55):

And I kind of played by ear and I thought it was funky and it was similar to the music that was outside, but I loved the organ. And I told my sister, listen, they're buying a piano. What do you think? Let's get an organ. It's still keys. That way you could learn and I could learn. And she had to explain to me that a Hammond organ or a pedal organ, that's a different thing than piano, and I didn't understand. And she got it. And I said, eh, it's okay. I kind of let it go. The dynamic in the family of us as twins is the way they look at twins is there's the good twin and there's the evil twin, there's the calm twin and the crazy one. And of course, I was the crazy one, and I said, they're not paying me any mind. That's okay. At the time, I really wasn't paying attention to music in that way. I sang along with my records that I did all the time, and I discovered that, but I didn't pay it any mind. I came to it late. I was already in college, and I had my first year in university, and I had a 3.75 index, which was pretty good. And I just was just bored to tears.

Phil Wharton  (00:24:04):

Wow. Wasn't challenged. So that was at CCNY as well, right?

Lily Anel (00:24:08):

CCNY It's regular liberal arts thought. I major in psychology and go save the world. And I just kind of, I said, this is so boring. What am I going to do? This is not, then I remembered an influential person in my life when I was in high school, sophomore year, English teacher, Mrs. Patricia Gellin, I think she's still alive. Oh, that's great. She gave us a writing assignment. We used to have 70 minute classes, and whenever we got English for 70 minutes, she'd just make us write. Just write. And that I always loved doing. I used to write poems. I used to keep diaries. I loved writing. She told the class, in your deepest of dreams, what would you like to be? Describe it. And we couldn't put our names on the papers, which I loved that.

Phil Wharton  (00:24:57):

Yeah, neat.

Barbara Anel  (00:24:59):

And I wrote about seeing myself when I'm at home doing my chores on Saturdays, which is mopping, dusting, sweeping, and then mopping. We had this huge wall mirror in the living room, this old tacky mirror that was really big with two pink flamingos on the sides.

Phil Wharton  (00:25:17):

 I Love it.

Barbara Anel  (00:25:19):

And I put on my Stevie Wonder records and sing along

Phil Wharton  (00:25:23):

 Yeah. "Talking Book. That was a good one.

Barbara Anel  (00:25:24):

 Oh, you got it. Or "Music of My Mind", where I'm coming from, from before then, and I'd sing along, but I'd hold the mop, like a microphone.

Phil Wharton  (00:25:33):

That's great

Lily Anel(00:25:34):

 And I'd look into the mirror. But when I looked into the mirror, I didn't see me. I saw an audience. So when I wrote that composition in class, that's what I wrote about. And we'd have to pass up the papers with no names on me. She shuffled them around. Lucky me, she picks mine. I wanted to crawl through a hole.

Phil Wharton (00:25:56):


Lily Anel  (00:25:57):

I said, I don't want anybody to know this about me. But I wrote about it and everybody was like, wow, who is it? And she would never say, so I'm gathering my things as I'm walking out of class. And she stopped me and she said, she just thought that it was excellently written. She said, do you feel this way? And I said, I do. And she said, you should think about that. In that moment when I was in university wondering, what the hell am I going to do? I remembered that composition.

Phil Wharton  (00:26:22):

You went right back to that moment.

Lily Anel  (00:26:24):

And I went into the Leonard Davis Center of Performing Arts at City College, and I signed up to audition to change my path from liberal arts.

Phil Wharton  (00:26:33):

So that really was the moment.

Lily Anel (00:26:34):

And that's how I did it. And I went there and I had no formal music education background, and I was playing guitar by ear at that point and writing little songs. And I walk into the audition and I sing. I got to prepare two songs. Funny. I brought my sister with me to play accompany me on piano. I sang an Elton John song, the Border song, which was kind of gospel. They wanted me to do something different. And I walked out and I didn't know that they're not supposed to show any emotion or favor if they liked you or not. And I walked out in tears saying they hated me.

Lily Anel(00:27:07):

And I'm leaving. And the head professor of the department comes tearing out of the room chasing after me. Miss Anel, Miss Anel. I'm like, Yes. And she goes, come back. And I said, why? I didn't? And he goes, come back. And they said, we want to know one thing. I said, sure. What do you want to know? He says, how long have you been studying voice? I said, I've never studied voice. And then that's when they all looked at each other, like what? Then he brought me to the piano and he wanted to check my range, and we did that. He says, sing this, sing this, sing this. And he goes, oh, you're an incredible singer. I said, so I got into the program. Little did I know, I thought I had failed. And that was it. That was the beginning. From there, when I studied the course, they did based everything on classical music and formal music training, which was real difficult for me. And I was playing guitar. I wanted to learn jazz guitar. And they didn't have that at the time. They eventually got that, which is very sad because I said, these bums, why didn't they have this when I was going?

Phil Wharton  (00:28:09):

Yeah, you would've thrived.

Lily Anel (00:28:11):

I had to learn to figure bass notation and played the microcosmos on the piano, which I absolutely abhor. It was just not me. But it gave me the opportunity to study voice privately with mezzo soprano, Janet Steele, who was a classical singer, and the exercises and how she taught me how to sing breathing techniques was brilliant. And for a whole year, I got to work with Sheila Jordan jazz great, vocalist. I believe she's 96, 94. She's still touring. I'm still friends with her, and I learned so much in that course. So if anything, if I got anything out of school that I could say, if you had to tell me what's the one thing, most important thing you got, it was her course.

Phil Wharton  (00:28:54):

So you went to her vocal workshop course.

Lily Anel (00:28:57):

Her performance work. I still think of everything I learned and a lot that I put out on stage when I'm performing. I got from being in that class. So that was a big plus. But I, unlike my sister, after my second year, I left because it wasn't outside of Sheila's class when I knew that was over. So I quit, or let me put it nicely. I took a leave of absence.

Phil Wharton  (00:29:25):

There you go.

Lily Anel (00:29:27):

And so I took a leave of absence, and I knew at the time, there was a school in New York City called the Guitar Study Center. It was run by Paul Simon's brother, Eddie Simon. I went there. That's where I cut my teeth.

Phil Wharton  (00:29:40):

Wow. I saw that in your bio. And then it was so interesting that you could only afford maybe one class a week. And then you went ahead and audited classes and they saw that your appetite for learning and wanting to progress, and they allowed you to take more classes, and it just started to blossom from there. Right?

Lily Anel (00:30:04):

I was very lucky that school was on 59th Street and Park Avenue and Fifth Avenue

Phil Wharton  (00:30:10):

Right there.

Lily Anel  (00:30:11):

Rich kids going there. And one class was like $45. And my poor mom, single mom, she says I can't afford for you to take the full round of courses, but learn as much as you can. So they would let you audit, and I would sit down, and then the kids who were paying for the classes, half of them didn't pay attention.

Lily Anel (00:30:31):

They were just doing it because it was something to do to get out of their parents' hair and this and that. It was a social event for them. A couple of the teachers saw that I was really focused, and they told me, you can only audit. You couldn't participate. There were only five people per class with a guitar. They would tell me, bring your guitar. Don't tell Eddie. I said, I'm not telling nobody.

Phil Wharton  (00:30:57):

Come on, let's go.

Lily Anel (00:30:57):

And they gave me extra work, says, if you have questions, is there something specific you want to learn? And I just mopped it all up. I just took it all in. And the classes I did pay for took a songwriting class, which in essence, you can't really teach, but it was, and it turned out to be my mentor, Barry Kornfeld. And I took a reading and notation class with Ron Parker was amazing guitarist, worked with Liza Minnelli. He would come to class and bring pieces from all the Broadway shows or commercials he'd done that day. He'd rewrite them in parts and hand them out to the musicians and we would sight reading on the guitar and real challenging. Ron was amazing. I studied with Ron in class and then privately, then he became a minister and left the school. And sadly, Ron passed away this past May.

Phil Wharton  (00:31:47):

Just this past May.

Lily Anel (00:31:48):

Just this, I was in touch. I've been in touch with him. Actually now I live in Philadelphia instead of New York. He lived in Villanova.

Phil Wharton  (00:31:55):

Not too far away. Right there. It's right in Rosemont.

Lily Anel (00:31:57):

Yeah, right down the street. So it was nice to be in touch with him.

Phil Wharton  (00:32:00):

So great.

Lily Anel (00:32:01):

I learned so much. I mean, I'm very grateful. So the path was different. Even though the environment, my sister and I were in the same environment. When I started to play thinking about being involved with music, I went to her. I said, do you mind, does it feel like I'm stepping on you that I want to play music? I don't want you to feel like I'm copying you a twin thing. And she looked at me and she said, are you kidding? Now we could do it together.

Phil Wharton  (00:32:27):

That's so great.

Lily Anel (00:32:28):

And I said, you know what? And my sister was instrumental because I'd get stuck writing a song in terms of learning harmony, which is the jazz version of calling music theory. And I would go to her and she said, do you know what you did? And I'd say, I don't know what I did, but this is what I did. And she'd say, come to the piano. So she'd lay it out and say, you went here, then you went there. And the reason your ear went here is because you heard this. And coming from the same environment musically, she and I, even though we absorbed it differently, it's still the same. So it started to make sense. And that was hugely instrumental in affecting me and in teaching me, she would teach me technically. Really, she did. So I considered myself fortunate, and we were doing this. We did it.

Phil Wharton  (00:33:21):

And even to this day, "Better Days Remastered." I was just listening to that this morning. It was a beautiful piece that you all co-wrote. Right?

Lily Anel (00:33:31):

As I always say, people, Barbara these days works more as a lyricist, although she does help me harmonically on records when I am doing different things. And she'll say, why did you go there? But I always say on stage, when I'm introducing a song that we co-wrote, she smooths my edges, she's my Ira Gershwin on "Better Days."

Barbara Anel  (00:33:54):

Such a compliment.

Phil Wharton  (00:33:55):

That's great. I love it

Lily Anel (00:33:58):

 On "Better Days," I initially wrote a line that said, life is hell. And she said, Lily, you can't say that. And I said, that's how I feel. Why not? She said, you're going to scare people. Life is hard enough. Make a difference. So the line that eventually rewrote, or maybe she wrote it was, "Life is harder than living." Yeah. I wrote that line. It was me. 

Phil Wharton 


Lily Anel 

And so I said, well, I'm glad that she steered me away from life as hell. So it's that sort of thing.

Phil Wharton  (00:34:28):

Yes. Yeah. No, you can really feel the compliment just as we're in this space together. It's so beautiful. How almost like the finishing each other's sentences musically to us that don't understand music like you do. I think you've talked about the discovery. We've talked about some of these teachers and experiences and events and things that came to light and mentors. What about the fall? We mentioned the fire. Are there any falls or speed bumps going to lowest moments in your careers or lives overall?

Lily Anel (00:35:06):

I'll just say for myself, this is Lily, and it's hard to talk about without disclosing maybe a lot of intimate details. I'll just say life, as I just said, life is harder than living. Life is harder than living sometimes. What is presented before you? How do you navigate it? Well, when we were young, how did we know that we left for school that morning and by 10 o'clock, the principal's calling us to our office because our house burned down. And I was left, and it was February 25th. It was freezing cold. I'm left with the clothes on my back. That was it. There was nothing left. It was the saddest part. Phil. Yeah. First thing I went to look for when they said, can you come into, can go back into the house? My records? Yeah, the records. They all melted together. Yeah. That was the hardest part.

Lily Anel (00:35:59):

But that was later on, just life. Life sometimes hands you difficulties. For myself, I'll say I'm not the most, it's a good way of putting it. Proficient in the area of navigating relationships. And so that can destroy a person sometimes. That, and given what's going on in the world these days, I'm not ashamed of saying it. I had difficulties with, learned at one point that I was suffering from clinical depression. I didn't know that. And I was fortunate that I believe in psychology and I sought help. And I was a doctor's care. Of course there are life situations that triggered what I figured out was wrong. And I took care of myself. And one of the difficult things I did was I took a year off. I took a year off from playing.

Phil Wharton  (00:36:59):

Good for you.

Lily Anel (00:37:00):

Which was a very difficult thing to do. Something that is living and breathing and drinking water and sleeping music. How do you stop music? And I remember I have a friend who started out as a fan who contacted me one day and said, are you making a new record or are you playing anywhere? And I said, I'm taking a year off. And he got hysterical.

Phil Wharton  (00:37:21):

What do you mean? Well, because you were his lifeline. You are his lifeline. I'm not going to hear Lily.

Lily Anel (00:37:26):

I'm not going to get to hear Lily's music for a year. Are you sure? And I said, trust me, I'm going to be better on the other side of this.

Phil Wharton  (00:37:33):

That's right. That's right.

Lily Anel (00:37:34):

And I was, so that was a real low because to not do something that you love so much, that's your lifeline to choose not to. But I'm glad I had the sense to do that. And it's important. And I knew I would get back to it. It wasn't like, I'm going to abandon this. I just needed to take care of me. 

Phil Wharton 

That's so good. 

Lily Anel 

And that's the thing is, and I wonder if in the past, maybe some famous people or others who struggled with substance abuse maybe went to that because they didn't know to take time off.

Phil Wharton  (00:38:10):

They kept pushing through.

Lily Anel (00:38:13):

So I'm glad that that aspect was never me. It was just, I need to take care of me. I need to step back.

Phil Wharton  (00:38:22):

Yeah. That's so great. That higher power inside of you, that true God, not the false one that's looking for the parishioner, that's looking for the envelope. But the real essence was telling you, Hey, look, Lily, it's time to regenerate. It's time to go back into the cave. Absolutely. And recharge yourself, and you'll be born anew, which you were.

Lily Anel (00:38:46):

Yeah. And at that time, it was like, at that point, my mom was gone, immediate family was gone. It was just my sister and I. And I was like, how do I deal with this? And it wasn't until after I decided to step back that I even told my sister and she said to me, are you sure you want to do that? And I said, yeah, I'm sure.

Phil Wharton  (00:39:08):

Yeah. And Barbara, what comes to you as a low moment or a fall for you in life or your career?

Barbara Anel  (00:39:19):

Regarding life? I've had two major roadblocks. And all I will say is that in one of them, running became my lifeline. I ran three Marine Corps marathons.

Phil Wharton  (00:39:36):

Oh, so great. Yeah. It's a great one.

Barbara Anel  (00:39:38):

Actually four. Thanks.

Phil Wharton  (00:39:39):

 Four Wow. Congratulations.

Barbara Anel  (00:39:42):

Getting out and listening to myself breathe and put one foot in front of the other, kept me sane. And just like Lily mentioned, maybe some other people would succumb to using substances. This was mine. And it's what kept me going. In the next roadblock, I discovered a lot of the tennets of Buddhism. I'm not a Buddhist, I don't claim to be. However, I learned to breathe, I learned to meditate. And I learned that in doing so, I can manifest anything and everything that I wanted in life. And one of those things was to completely connect with my music. Yes. Own my grand piano, which I am so proud. I own my Cunningham Grand.

Phil Wharton  (00:40:37):


Barbara Anel  (00:40:37):

And I got to where I wanted to be, which is where I am right now.

Phil Wharton  (00:40:44):

In this very moment.

Barbara Anel  (00:40:45):

In this very moment, I composed, I live within my music. It is my vein to my muse, and it's what is who I am. I don't feel a need to perform. It's not what drives me.

Phil Wharton  (00:41:05):

So great.

Barbara Anel  (00:41:06):

Love to share my music with the world within the form of placing it in films of any genre, if it's at all possible, if anyone's interested. But the one person that it is the most important to is me. That's great. So I'll say that.

Phil Wharton  (00:41:25):

Yeah. I love that ability to just be in that moment and enjoy the mastery now that's coming through you. It is a constant carry wood, chop water, reverse that. I just said it the wrong way, but carry water, chop wood. And just every day it seems like you're enjoying and grateful. You're in a gratitude. It feels like when you talk about it and when you hear your pieces, you can feel that coming through both of you. It's so beautiful. And what would you say, and either one of you that'd like to respond first kind of a pivot we talk about in the show, what steered you all back on course? And you talked a little bit about it, but any other things that you felt like turned you around, going back to the playing or, but was there an inciting moment that you felt like where you were able to pivot when those falls came?

Lily Anel (00:42:30):

This is Lily. Yes. That year was up. And for me, I'd started writing and I still have and amassed in a whole lot of songs. I was living in New York. I started playing out again. I was heard by a couple of known producers. But the big thing, the weird part is that they were well known in the rap genre. I am not a rap musician or anything, of course. But they recognized talent in me. I can't remember where they heard me. It led me to making a new CD, a new record. So that was great. And I was able to work with some musicians that I've worked with in the past that were fantastic. Some session players. One of my friends Drew Zing, who actually works, he was the music director with Donald Fagan.

Phil Wharton  (00:43:26):

Oh yeah. Of Steely Dan.

Barbara Anel  (00:43:27):

Of Steely Dan, I go back with Drew when we first started out at the same time in the Village. And Seth Glassman, Andy Burton, Frank Ardi, a bunch of people. But it was great. I made this record and unfortunately true to a tap in the lot in my career, which is maybe a story for another interview. But people, we love it. It's that good. It's just going to take off. You have to promote stuff. You have to get behind it for it to.

Phil Wharton  (00:43:54):

That's right. That's right.

Lily Anel (00:43:55):

 If you don't, it doesn't matter how good it is. Yes. And so end of story, the end of story of my career, everybody thinks it's that great. It's just going to go and not put the push behind it. And I can only push, but as far as I know how to, and believe me.

Phil Wharton  (00:44:08):

You're the artist.

Lily Anel (00:44:09):

I know a lot, but it's difficult. And I made that record. And of course, nothing came of it because no one did anything of it. But I played around in New York, I played a bit, and then I had the opportunity to leave New York. Preface that by saying that that's a bunch of years in between from when I took the time off. Okay. Was this "High Octane Coffee?", that you?

Lily Anel (00:44:34):

Yes, it is. That's "High Octane Coffee."

Phil Wharton  (00:44:36):

Okay. That's what I thought. Okay.

Lily Anel (00:44:37):

Which I named it because I used to bring my own Cuban coffee to the recording sessions because by three o'clock you're recording and you need that kick. Yeah. And they had the little, I don't know, I don't want to name brands, but coffee that tasted like not coffee. Right, exactly. And I would bring mine and make the coffee. And the guys in the band were like, man, Lily brings in her stuff. It's good. I made the pot of coffee. Everybody gets theirs. I'm walking past Drew and I see the pot of coffee now is empty. And I didn't get none. I wasn't able to have any. And I said, I mud under my breath. I said, I guess they like the coffee. And Drew's passing me. And he goes, yeah, Lily, you make that good coffee. You make that high octane coffee. And when I was trying to think of a name for the record, perfect. I'm not a fan of, what are we going to call the record? What's the theme? It's like, you know what you could call it surely, the music stinks. The music is not good. Who cares about the cover and the this, but when they say, what are you going to call the record? I said, High Octane Coffee. Because that stuck with me.

Phil Wharton  (00:45:46):

I love that.

Lily Anel (00:45:47):

But yeah, that was that record. I wound up, I was completely terrified and terrorized during 911. And that's what started me thinking. I was like, where else would you live if you didn't live here? And so I had some thoughts. I talked to my sister about it. She lived at the time, was living out in Long Island. She wasn't seeing half the stuff I was seeing in Manhattan during that time. And every other day, these drills that they'd make it sound like we were under attack and we had to go walking down 50 some odd flights of stairs and meet me on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 52nd Street so we could find each other type drills. And I'm like, I don't want to live like this anymore. I felt like I was living in Beirut. I'm not kidding.

Lily Anel (00:46:31):

No. Yeah. I just so happened to make friends with someone who lived in Philadelphia and we wound up dating and then he asked me to marry him. 

Phil Wharton 

Oh, wow. 

Lily Anel

And I said, okay. And so I talked to my sister, she goes, ah, you're two hours away. Big whoop. I'll get in the car. I'll have a reason to come for the weekend. Very good. So I came here and that was pivotal. And then coming to Philadelphia musically was a hundred billion times better for me and more great things happened to me coming here. So that was pivotal. That was one of the changes. But in essence, I'm sorry, I kind of went off course. 

Phil Wharton 

No, no, that was, thank you. 

Lily Anel 

To answer your question, when I took the year off, I just started to play music. I was time I knew, I was like, okay, I got all these songs. Let's do it. And then the intention, when you say, I'm going to do something, it will attract, hopefully the better part of what you want to do. As for now, I'm grateful to my sister who also introduced me to the tennets of Buddhism. And it was during the pandemic, I was losing it. I mean, the pandemic was difficult. And she said, you have to breathe.

Phil Wharton  (00:47:42):

That's right.

Lily Anel (00:47:43):

And so she taught me about it, and she's 110% right. And meditation. Oh my God.

Phil Wharton  (00:47:51):

It's key. Huge. Yeah.

Lily Anel (00:47:53):

It's huge. It is huge. And so that's helped a great deal. I'm trying to come all the way around and I still do it every day.

Phil Wharton  (00:48:00):

I'm so glad to hear that. It makes sense. You all come full circle here. And Barbara, anything coming to mind for you?

Barbara Anel  (00:48:10):

I would say, this is Barbara. I would say that within my practice of breathing and meditating, I learned really how to empty my mind. I practiced unattachment.

Phil Wharton  (00:48:28):


Barbara Anel  (00:48:30):

They sound very easy. They're very difficult. And it's not what people think. However, that practice has led me to be able to attract all that I have wanted. And there's three things that I have wanted more than anything. Peace, calm, and stillness. And those three things, of course, are braided into my creativity, my views, my playing, my composing I with every day that goes by. I am grateful that I'm able to achieve that status. Those three things, peace, calm, stillness. So for me, that has helped. Another thing that has helped was working with Rock Wilk.

Phil Wharton  (00:49:29):

Yes. Oh, so cool.

Barbara Anel  (00:49:31):

She introduced me to him and said, I have a friend. You probably know him. And chances are we have passed each other a million times in the street.

Phil Wharton  (00:49:39):

And I would imagine, yeah,

Barbara Anel  (00:49:41):

Different clubs. We all traveled within the same circle. And I saw him doing these stories and I said, gee, I'm going to send him some of my music if he's interested. I said, I don't know that you would be interested in any of this, but if you'd like to maybe utilize some of or pieces or all of some of these compositions in one of your films. Because for me, they're little films. Please feel free. And he did. And he loved them and said, oh my God, these fit perfectly.

Phil Wharton  (00:50:17):

They really do.

Barbara Anel  (00:50:18):

I am so forever grateful to him. He's also inspired me to create a website, which thanks to my incredible sister who's a genius with the computer, because I'm computer illiterate, completely helped me put together, "Piano Landscapes 4 film."

Phil Wharton  (00:50:36):

Oh, I love that website. That's the one you guys put together. You guys did it together. That's great.

Barbara Anel  (00:50:40):

 She helped me.

Phil Wharton  (00:50:41):

Oh, great.

Lily Anel (00:50:43):

I didn't know what to do. Yeah. She told me what she wanted and I did it because poor Barbara, she called me one day and said, I broke the computer. Said while I was trying to do an underline.

Phil Wharton  (00:50:51):


Barbara Anel  (00:50:53):


Lily Anel (00:50:53):

An example of Barbara getting

Phil Wharton  (00:50:55):

 And don't worry folks, that'll all be in the liner notes. It's

Barbara Anel  (00:51:03):

That's correct.

Lily Anel (00:51:04):

 Barbara, say why you named it that and what your

Barbara Anel  (00:51:07):

I named it piano landscapes 4 film, because it's my intention to present what music I have composed to make it available for those people of any particular genre of filmmaking, commercials, shows, anything, if they'd be interested in using any or all or pieces of my music. That's why. And that additionally in my mind, when I compose, as I said, I always see a film, I see a landscape, I see a picture. And that's really important. That's really important to me. The other thing is that I wanted to do something unique and unique in the fact that it's solo piano. There's no orchestra, there's no string quartet. It's just solo piano. And I'm certain that there will be someone there say, gee, that just might work for us. And my thing, I play solo piano. It's what I love. Not to say I haven't composed for other things I have, but this is what I love most. This is what I love most to do.

Phil Wharton  (00:52:21):

Yeah. Well, it's coming through as an extension of that meditation of that. Yes, indeed. That peace and that stillness and that harmony that is coming out of that practice. So I just love it. And I love a lot of your mentors because I didn't realize that when you had said that in your bio in the website landscapes for film, that Sakamoto was one of yours and Oh, yes. Oh, so beautiful. We just lost him in April, but "Empire of the Sun," and I know that in the end of his life, so I read a New York Times piece about him. He was talking about seeking that resonance and stripping down, and he was doing a lot of that work on his own at the end coming the fusion of many styles too. Right? Electronica, very much. And then Bach. And so I see that in you. And it's such a really good, you and Lily have this amazing, it's just the canon of different styles and just all these cross-cultural intersections that because of your experiences that make this so beautiful.

Barbara Anel (00:53:39):

And then of course John Williams and Morrcione is one of my favorite. I just heard, "The Mission",  in your pieces that stripped down and that path of Jesus that is so powerful. Oh God, as I learn more about him and follow him for myself. And I come out of also Buddhism and learning twenty two years of being a meditator. And I just love all those influences. And then gang, when we go to the rollback we do in the show, and it may not be anything for you all, but if you had the opportunity, what would you redo or do differently in your lives?

Lily Anel (00:54:24):

Man, that's a loaded gun.

Phil Wharton  (00:54:27):

And you don't have to answer if you don't want to.

Lily Anel (00:54:28):

I have to be real careful. I'll say from a couple of things, I wish I had recognized my desire to be a musician or to study music many years sooner. 

Phil Wharton 
Yes. Okay. 

I wish that I could have started, because like I said, I was already in college when I started and I had people saying wow, and you sing like that. And then when I learned guitar it was similar and put a band together. And the guy says well, how long have you been playing? And I said, five months. And they were like what? There was that. The other thing that I would do different, and this might sound the opposite of everything, I would have secured some sort of skill to better support myself while I was working on my art. It would be nice. I would love to say, yeah, I became a musician and I did it 24-7. Unless you're born with a silver spoon in your mouth, trust fund baby. You got tons of money. That's difficult. And it's what happens in life that gives you all the information in order to make art.

Phil Wharton  (00:55:34):

That's right.

Lily Anel (00:55:35):

But, I would have preferred doing something other to have made money to support myself while I pursued music. I worked all these years, I worked in the legal arena at law firms working as a document production specialists, which got changed from the old days when they were called secretaries. But except now you're learning very computers, very specifically IT applications that you have to really learn. And I absorbed all that. I have a very clinical side of my brain where I learned that stuff really fast. That aspect of employment or working, lemme just say it in English. Working with lawyers is very, very difficult.

Phil Wharton  (00:56:23):

That's stressful. I bet.

Lily Anel (00:56:24):

Very Difficult. And it'll bleed the life out of you that you come home and you're lucky. You can stand in the shower and get clean because you want to lose your mind. So if I had to do over again, I would have studied radiology, a certificate, help people that come to you because their bones are broken and they're not going to fight.

Phil Wharton  (00:56:45):

 Get the image yeah.

Lily Anel (00:56:46):

You take pictures and they say, hold your breath. Okay, you can breathe now and then you get my paycheck at the end of the week. And then go home and play music.

Phil Wharton  (00:56:54):

Exactly. No, to have that support because you have the support without the funding.

Lily Anel (00:56:59):

Something that you feel like you're helping. And at the same time, you're working by yourself in essence with the actual function of what you're doing. It's one person at a time coming to you. And I think people won't realize, I had a young musician asked me once, you have any advice for me? And I said, yeah, get a job. And he looked at me, well, what do you mean by that? I said, you got to eat right. I said, unless mom and dad are going to support you until the ship comes in and the ship may never come in. I'm still waiting for my ship. It's little tiny tugboats have shown up.

Phil Wharton  (00:57:33):

Okay. I'm the same. I'm the little tugboat.

Lily Anel (00:57:39):

But in the meantime, at this stage is to do what I love as an artist and move that forward. The idea is for my people to hear my music, hear and see what I do, the success that I'd hoped for and feel I deserve didn't arrive. Well, I'm going to say it didn't arrive yet.

Phil Wharton  (00:57:59):

That's right.

Barbara Anel  (00:57:59):

But I have people that hear on my music. I did a gig the other day that completely blew my mind because there were strangers coming up to me saying, I've been following you for years.

Phil Wharton  (00:58:07):

That's right. You don't even know.

Lily Anel (00:58:09):

So that was nice.

Phil Wharton  (00:58:12):

That's affirming

Barbara Anel  (00:58:12):

Like, well, the music is being heard. And that's the whole idea of art is for it to be taken in.

Phil Wharton  (00:58:18):

That's Right. That's right.

Barbara Anel  (00:58:21):

And I'm also getting into another aspect of Art. I'm learning how to take photographs and thanks to Rock Wilk.

Phil Wharton  (00:58:29):

Oh, right.

Barbara Anel  (00:58:30):

Shoot video. He influenced me. I don't know how good I'm going to do be at it, but I'm basically doing it so I could, I'm thinking about starting doing it on YouTube. I don't know, maybe putting it out there somehow just me talking about music and maybe as I work on a song or kind of like this platform we have right here, just talking little bit about life or short things, just, I remember when this happened.

Phil Wharton  (00:58:58):

I think that'd be very powerful. And it could go alongside your official video channel on YouTube, which I was able to see. I thought of that last couple of days, which I love.

Barbara Anel  (00:59:08):

I I'll see. It's the same time you want people to hear your music. Music is so personal to me. It's mine. There's a part of me that is like, I want to share it, but it's mine.

Phil Wharton  (00:59:21):

Good for you. Good for you. I love that. Yeah.

Lily Anel  (00:59:26):

But you just do it. It's kind of like being a shark. How did Woody Allen say in that movie? If the shark stops moving, it dies.

Phil Wharton  (00:59:32):

Right.I think that's it. Yeah. And Barbara, what for you on anything on the rollback for you, anything you would redo or do differently?

Barbara Anel  (00:59:48):

Well, I would say that the career that I had in law enforcement, I may have started it much sooner, only so that I would've gotten maybe to where I am right now sooner. But on the other hand, I wouldn't be who I am right now. So in spite of the hardship, in spite of the brick walls and the falling down and having to get up and start over, I am who I am right now because of all of those brick walls and roadblocks. And if I changed any of that, I wouldn't be who I am right now.

Phil Wharton  (01:00:29):

It's because of those roadblocks that you are you.

Barbara Anel  (01:00:32):

But I guess I would started sooner. Yeah. Only for the financial aspect.

Phil Wharton  (01:00:38):

That makes sense.

Barbara Anel  (01:00:39):

I may have started sooner, but hey, I mean, I did law enforcement for 32 and a half years, so I think I did enough. That's...

Phil Wharton  (01:00:46):

That's long time. That's a long time.

Lily Anel (01:00:49):

Yeah, So Phil, you just heard a good example of the difference between Barbara and I. You asked us the same question.

Phil Wharton  (01:00:54):

That's right.

Lily Anel (01:00:55):

And I had one very definitive, and she's always the smart twin that thinks and says, but I wouldn't be where I am if I was different. And she's right. Even the music might not have turned out exactly the way I wanted it to with my point of view or my experience, or my being able to sing like I do if it had happened any sooner.

Phil Wharton  (01:01:21):

The power in your music, Lily, is from the depth of these experiences and the good, the bad and the ugly. It's all in there. And that's creates this beauty that's unique to you, and it's incredible. It's really incredible. And it wouldn't be anywhere to that magnitude of where without all these unfortunate things that happen in our lives. And if we look at the anvil, it's just a question we have on the show that we look at a decision or an event that forged us. Anything come up for either of you a defining moment that shaped your destiny?

Barbara Anel  (01:02:10):

This is Barbara. Yes. Nothing I want to reveal.

Phil Wharton  (01:02:14):

Very good. I love that.

Lily Anel (01:02:19):

I don't know that there's any one moment in terms of music. You said that shaped my destiny.

Phil Wharton  (01:02:25):

Yeah. Anything.

Lily Anel (01:02:27):

It was always there. Yeah. Because one thing, living above a record store That's right, led to the orange guitar led to singing. The Beatles led to singing in church.  Lead to that pivotal day in college saying, what am I going to do? I don't want to study this. And remembering Mrs. Gellan in high school and that composition. And I said, okay, I have to try. If I fail it's okay but if I don't try, then I won't know. And I get into the Leonard Davis Center, and then the nightmare of studying classical music, and then.

Barbara Anel  (01:03:05):

The Nightmare Lily.

Lily Anel (01:03:06):

Yeah. Sorry. Sorry. That's my reality.

Phil Wharton  (01:03:09):

Oh, really? And the Nightmare Lily.

Lily Anel (01:03:10):

That way and going and then leaving, and then finding Eddie Simon's school, and going there and meeting my mentor who opened Barry Kornfeld, opened the door to my first recording session.

Lily Anel (01:03:24):

That started.

Phil Wharton  (01:03:24):

And the open mics, right? The open mics.

Lily Anel (01:03:26):

And from Folk City when I left the Guitar Center. Yeah. Then I started playing. I went to my first open, Oh God, that was terrifying. First open mic at Folk City. And also I performed, there was a songwriters exchange on Monday nights at the Cornelia Street Cafe, which very sadly, the Cornelia Street Cafe got closed a couple years ago.

Phil Wharton  (01:03:45):

 Oh, did it?

Lily Anel (01:03:46):

Which is really sad. But yeah.

Phil Wharton  (01:03:48):

That was a cornerstone.

Lily Anel (01:03:48):

Walked in and I was, of course the last one. So I'm terrified. And I get up and I played my newest song and I played it, and I walked out of there with a gig, so good just from singing one song. One song. And I made friends and they were like, Hey, what are you doing now? Come over to Folk City. 

Phil Wharton  (01:04:07):

Next thing you know, you're five nights a week. Right?

Lily Anel (01:04:09):

 Five nights a week.

Lily Anel (01:04:10):

And then one thing led to another. So I know the defining moment I was born. I don't know what to say. I Think it came with me.

Barbara Anel  (01:04:19):

It's interesting. I interpreted your question completely differently. You're talking about twins and how we were. Completely differently interpreted it any defining moment. It led me to where I am right now and very personally. It had nothing to do with music or anything else because just interesting. I thought of it completely differently.

Phil Wharton  (01:04:46):

I noticed that, Barbara.

Barbara Anel  (01:04:47):

There's nothing I wish to reveal.

Phil Wharton  (01:04:48):


Barbara Anel  (01:04:49):

Yeah. I'm going to keep it that way.

Phil Wharton  (01:04:50):

Very good. No, I love that. Because this is what you wish to disclose here. And I think that the beautiful secrets are coming out in the keys.

Phil Wharton (01:05:04):

Oh Yes, indeed. I feel them when they come out in the keys. And so.

Barbara Anel  (01:05:09):

Wow. Phil, you got me.

Phil Wharton  (01:05:10):

Listen. No, listen. In your journeys in your journeys Lill and Barbara in your journeys, what's most important to you now? And what does the road ahead look like for you? And what's next?

Barbara Anel  (01:05:26):

I'm going to say this is Barbara, continued awareness, self awareness, continued peace, calm, and stillness. Continuing to evolve in my gratitude and continuing to evolve and really focusing on my inner self my inner, because happiness is from within, from the outside. And if I continue my practice and my focus, I will continue to have what I have right now. And that's most important for me. That, and of course staying on top of my health, which I do and my sister does is most important for me that's the road ahead. And I'm going to keep composing, of course, my reason for waking up in the morning and going to bed at night, looking forward to the next day, and what else I'm going to create, and we'll take it from there.

Phil Wharton  (01:06:26):

And Lily, what for you, what comes up in the journey and the things that are most important to you now?

Lily Anel (01:06:32):

I immediately thought of something funny in my head. I'm not going to say it, because people might think like well we know what she's about.

Phil Wharton  (01:06:39):

Go for it.

Lily Anel (01:06:41):

I think to really not lose sight of life and to be in gratitude, if you're grateful for what is around you and what you have, things begin to make sense. We're always striving. I want to be a better singer. I want to write a better, 

Lily Anel (01:07:02):

Song doing more. I want to be a better this. I want to be sometimes, don't look ahead, be in now. Be here now to quote Ram Das, to be in who you are right now and realize it. And then you can move forward and be in gratitude. Sometimes something breaks in the house or it doesn't work the way I want. I'm like, I wish I had a bigger house. And it's like, yeah, but you have a house.

Phil Wharton  (01:07:26):

That's right. That's right.

Lily Anel (01:07:27):

I grew up in seven people in a two bedroom tenement house. I don't wish that on nobody. Nope. Sleeping in the same bed with my grandmother and my sister, and it was like a twin bed. Okay. So I go, I have a house. I can make as much noise as I want. I can make it as cold as I want. I can make it as hot as I want. I go out in the backyard. I have a yard, I have a yard. Growing up, I always wanted that as a kid, I want a backyard. I want a backyard. When we looked at this house, my husband and I, I'm standing there with the realtor, I just stood out back and looked at all the flowers and I said, Oh my. And she goes, what do you think of the house? And I said, I love the yard, but what do you think of the house? And I love the yard.

Phil Wharton  (01:08:09):

I love the yard.

Lily  Anel  (01:08:10):

The yard. And all Rob could talk about was we have a garage.

Phil Wharton  (01:08:15):


Barbara Anel  (01:08:16):

He doesn't have to park the car in the street anymore.

Lily Anel (01:08:17):


Lily Anel (01:08:18):

Being in gratitude says, okay I'm here. I made it another day, so hopefully I'll make it the next day, and then I'll make it the day after that. And so that'll bring, being in gratitude is also, so today I didn't write the greatest song in the world. I'll write it tomorrow just to be in that and keep playing music. I can't say, I wish I could say I'm going to play Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center, but the business of music and the art part of it are two very separate things, and they're difficult.

Phil Wharton  (01:08:52):

That makes sense.

Lily Anel (01:08:53):

And it's a misogynistic business. I hate saying that but it's, it's also very racist business.

Phil Wharton  (01:08:58):

 The truth. Yep. It's the truth.

Lily Anel (01:09:00):

 It's an age business. So it's like, okay well I'm going to do my best with it and continue doing it. And the bottom line hope that people will experience my art, my music,  and I get more people, like the other day people that I didn't know, oh, we've been hearing you for years. And I'm like, really? So that's a plus. But it all comes from being grateful and realizing and being in gratitude. So that's the best way I could describe it. And my sister said, stay healthy.

Lily Anel (01:09:35):

And by the way Phil, when my sister spoke about running, I remember you from being on the cover on Runner's World a long, long time ago.

Phil Wharton  (01:09:42):

 Oh, the Runner's World. Yeah.

Lily Anel (01:09:45):

When Rock was telling us about you, I said, you know, him? And I immediately saw the cover in my head. I'm friends with him for many years. I'm like, you got to be kidding me. No, I'm not like, okay, that's a cool thing. That's a cool thing.

Phil Wharton  (01:10:03):

 Those articles we did for five years in Runner's World, which were called, "The Body Shop," and they were helping people with muscular problems and things. And when we go to the slipstream, we kind of use that as a way to look back at our lives. And any parting gems of advice that you'd like to leave for us, Lily or Barbara, what do you, any advice or wisdom for our listeners?

Barbara Anel  (01:10:30):

 I would say to remember that happiness comes from within.

Phil Wharton  (01:10:34):


Lily Anel (01:10:36):

I'm going to quote Shakespeare.

Phil Wharton  (01:10:37):

Good. Love it.

Lily Anel (01:10:42):

"To thy known self be true. This above all else to thine own self be true. As night follows day." I'm going to forget the other part of it. Basically to thine own self be true, be who you are. And I'll quote Monty Rock, "Dig Yourself."

Phil Wharton  (01:11:03):

Yeah, I love that. I love both of them.

Lily Anel (01:11:05):

Same thing said in a different way.

Phil Wharton  (01:11:08):

Yes. Barbara anything else that you both would like to share for us?

Barbara Anel  (01:11:21):

I would just like to say thanks to Rock Wilk, for introducing us to you. Thank you for having us on your show. I'm very grateful. I wish you continued success with your podcast. 

Phil Wharton 

Thank you. 

Barbara Anel 

Look forward to maybe doing this again some other time in the future.

Phil Wharton  (01:11:42):

We would love to have you both on again, it was such a pleasure. 

Lily Anel (01:11:46):

I agree with my sister, thank you for including us. And for anyone who's listening who might say, every time Barbara said, this is Barbara, I'd say, this is Lily. We're identical twins. We're a minute apart. Although I don't think we sound anything alike in terms of inflection but in speaking, people who don't know us might say, is this a joke? It's not. So, I appreciate you including us in this way, and I'm sure you give our websites and everything later on. But thank you so much. Thank you Phil for your point of view and your outlook in the presentation and the way in which you do this podcast.

Phil Wharton  (01:12:32):

You're welcome.

Lily Anel (01:12:34):

It's about life and I like it, and I appreciate that. And the world needs more, Phil Wharton's.

Barbara Anel  (01:12:40):

Yes, indeed.

Phil Wharton  (01:12:41):

Thank you all. You're such a pleasure to be with. And is there anything you'd like to mention at the end? Things about, we're obviously going to, in the liner notes, going to put your websites, both of you in a lot of your accomplishments are going to be in the intro and things that people can refer to also in the notes and descriptions. Is there anything else you want to mention, new projects or things that are coming up for either of you moving forward?

Barbara Anel  (01:13:09):

This is Barbara. I would say I'd ask everyone to keep their eyes and ears open for the next film that will be put out by Rock Wilk. Presently entitled, what is it, Lily? "This Is The End for Me."

Phil Wharton  (01:13:26):

"This Is The End For Me." Exactly.

Barbara Anel  (01:13:28):

Right here. And now that's the title. He may change it. Yep. That will be a great work. And if you haven't seen the film, "The Center of Distance."

Lily Anel (01:13:38):

Please, please.

Phil Wharton  (01:13:39):


Barbara Anel  (01:13:39)

That's, "The Center of Distance." And do spend some time reviewing the, "Stories in 4K." You will hear a lot of my music.

Phil Wharton  (01:13:49):

And so much of your music on Yep. "Stories in 4K."

Barbara Anel  (01:13:53):

Some of his other films, and I call them short films. That's what they are. They're beautiful. I'm very grateful to him for that. And they fit so perfectly.

Phil Wharton  (01:14:00):

They fit so perfectly.

Barbara Anel  (01:14:01):

 The most amazing part.

Phil Wharton  (01:14:03):

Yeah. Yeah, that's right. And Lily, anything coming up for you that you'd like to mention?

Lily Anel  (01:14:09):

I have some, I don't know when this is going to air, but I'm going to be at the music festival in Bethlehem next month. Oh, great. On the 13th of August. This might be past that, but then I have, of course, ask me now, put a gun to my head. I have dates coming up in Philadelphia, in Bethlehem. I'll probably be going back to New York.

Phil Wharton  (01:14:35):

Very good.

Lily Anel (01:14:36):

Anticipating, I'm trying to, of course. What dates do I have? I can't. I mean, they're all over. If you go to my website and you look at shows, they're all listed. They'll be listed there.

Phil Wharton (01:14:48):

And we'll drop Lily's website in the liner notes here. And it's just

Lily  Anel  (01:14:53):

One of the other things I do, and not just playing with the trio that I've been working with recently. I also do house concerts. They call them house concerts. Days of Europe. It was more like a salon.

Phil Wharton  (01:15:07):

Okay. Right. Salons. Right.

Barbara Anel  (01:15:09):

Actually, they would pay the writer, put them up for like six months and say, write me an opera. And so that's how they kept artists from starving in those days. That doesn't happen here.

Phil Wharton  (01:15:21):

That's right. They're benefactors. Right. We need more benefactors. We need people that are patrons of the arts.

Lily Anel (01:15:26):

I'm going to keep writing and look out for the additions on my YouTube page for hopefully my next artistic endeavor with film and talking, and who knows.

Phil Wharton  (01:15:39):

Yeah. So keep up with these amazing artists folks, and go to their websites, which we'll put in the liner notes, and it's and then,, and beautiful work. And we're just so grateful to have both of you sisters on with us and delightful time and look forward to more, and meeting you all in person as we're not too far apart.

Barbara Anel  (01:16:07):


Lily Anel (01:16:07):

That definitely.

Phil Wharton  (01:16:09):

That's a definite, that's a definite. Thank you for coming to Intrinsic Drive.

Barbara Anel  (01:16:14):

Thank you. Thank you, Phil.

Lily Anel (01:16:15):

Thank you, Phil.

Phil Wharton  (01:18:11):

Thanks for being with us. We appreciate you opting in, subscribing, and reviewing us for thumbing us up and following us on socials liking us. We like you. Drop us a note. Tell us what stories move you for books, videos, resources, and more information. Visit us at, and be sure to join us for the next episode of Intrinsic Drive®.