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Interview with Annie Vander
1. What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
I started in music as early as I can remember, and I think I was singing as long as I could talk. “Officially,” it started when I was in the 5th grade, like most kids in my school. I started by playing clarinet and singing in the school choir. Also, I think watching my mother's joy of music, as she sang through the house while she did her housework, was just infectious!! She had a gorgeous voice! I did sort of put music down for a bit after I married my husband. There were bills to pay and pursuing music didn't seem like something that was practical at that time. But, after an accident in 2019 that changed my career path, and some time off during the first Covid lockdown, I started singing again and began writing my own music!
When I am not working on music, I still help out at a family owned company and they have been so supportive. I have spent most of my adult life working for small businesses, one of my own included, and the family environment makes me happy! It is all about community for me!
2. What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
I love spending time with my pups at home and also taking our beautiful GodDaughters out for some fun adventures! The pets and our goddaughters are always full of surprises and that lends itself well to writing and ideas!
3. Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
I currently live in Yorkville, Illinois, in a wonderful neighborhood. There is a group of us that have an unspoken "Friday Dinner" that happens almost every week. The story ideas behind my songs have been pulled from events in my life, including my latest single, Falling Into Nashville, which you can stream everywhere and also hear it on your local country radio station. I literally fell in front of our neighbors house, and who would have thought that event would lead me back to music in a huge way.
4. Tell me about your most memorable shows.
The most memorable performances I have had are the ones when my Dad comes to see me play. The first time I performed my debut single Trust Me, with a larger crowd, it brought happy and proud tears to his eyes, and I will never forget it. I think he still gets nervous for me every time I perform, and then just has a big smile every time I finish. Also, when I sing a new song and realize multiple people are singing the words back, it just feels good every time! Lastly, my favorite parts are when people tell me how they connect to the music and what the lyrics mean to them, right after I finish playing. It just warms my heart!
5. What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Any place where the crowd is connected to the music and there is a sense of community. One of my favorite places to play was in Leiper's Fork at Puckett's, it is now called Fox and Locke. The community of musicians there was amazing. Everyone was so uplifting and encouraging, and some of the people there feel like family to me. I would someday love to play at the Listening Room Cafe, and if I dream REALLY BIG, would love to play a large stadium and/or the Grand Ole Opry, when I am ready. Why not shoot for the stars, right!?
6. If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Ohhhhh...this is a tough one to answer. There are so many amazing artists and I don't know that I have an all time favorite. I like so many acts just the same, and honestly I am really bad at knowing who is who with all of the music I love. I just get lost in the music itself. That said, if I had to pick a few artists/groups, right now, I would say Old Dominion for their amazing lineup of songs and great live performance, Shania Twain, because she is the one who turned me into a country music listener, Keith Urban, as he is just an AMAZING all around musician and I love how he has collaborated with PINK! I love music by PINK on her own, too. While I am going for my version of country music, I love to try to mash things up and be different and I find her very inspiring. So I will just say those for now.
7. What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into singing?
Just enjoy music for what it is! Let the music take you on a journey and don't ever compare yourself to anyone else.
8. If you could go back in time and give yourself advice, what would it be?
Don't ever stop...ever! Never give up on something you love to do!
9. Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
This is hard to say, because all of my music is a timestamp of my life. That said, Falling Into Nashville is really a personal anthem for me and I tried to write it so anyone could relate to it. Whatever you are going through in life, you can always fall into music, let whatever emotion out you need to, and find peace and happiness!!
10. Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
It depends on what type of mood I am in and the people around me. If I am feeling emotional and the mood is more mellow, I would play Trust Me or a relaxing cover song, and if I want to raise everyone's spirits and get everyone pumped, it would definitely be Falling Into Nashville!
11. What is the creative process for you, as an artist and what inspires you to write your music
There have been times that I have jumped out of bed at midnight with a song idea in my head, and other times, I just sit at my piano, hit some chords, and start singing a melody over them while letting emotions out. It just depends. I can't say that every song is exactly the same.
As far as what inspires me, it depends on where I am at and what I am feeling in my life, at the moment I am writing, if that makes any sense I feel like the best stories are pulled from real events and emotions.
12. What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Really, I just try to encourage people to find their own truth and positivity in whatever situation they are in, whether I am singing an upbeat or slower song.
13. What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
I am concentrating on writing more material right now and am looking forward to cutting some new tracks in the studio very soon. As for the very near future, I am getting ready to go out on my first radio tour to promote my newest single, Falling Into Nashville. I am beyond excited to begin this new chapter in the journey that music is taking me on. So, keep your ears peeled for new music to come, and listen for Falling Into Nashville, on the radio near you (or stream it everywhere digitally).