Some of you may have read recent my “ Introducing Michaela Anne” article ( if not, catch it here http://bellesandgals.com/2017/08/01/introducing-michaela-anne-by-lesley-hastings/ ) during which I mentioned an interview was to follow….well here it is! It’s a great read ( not only as she mentions some of my favourite ladies of country, Patsy Cline, Patty Loveless and Linda Ronstadt!) and I’m so happy to hear that Michaela Anne will be back in the UK touring with Sam Outlaw later this month! Plus the news of a new album from her next year is wonderful!
Thanks for taking time to answer my questions for Belles and Gals! Just to set the scene where are you at the moment?
I’m at home in Nashville.
I came across your wonderful music while you were here in the UK touring with Sam Outlaw, as support artist and band member too!
How did that collaboration come about?
I met sam a couple years ago at a bar called the 5 Spot in Nashville. I was playing that night with my band and he happened to be in town on tour. We hit it off and connected over some shared musical tastes and continued to keep in touch over the next year or so. He invited me to open a lot of his US album release tour in the spring. It was a great tour and I got along with him and the band personally and musically well enough that he invited me to come to Europe to open as well as start playing in his band. I had never toured Europe before so he’s been very generous in helping me out and introducing me to a whole new audience.
It was your first visit to the UK I gather, were you aware of how popular country music is over here before your visit? And have you enjoyed the experience of playing to UK audiences?
Yes my first European tour. I was and have heard for awhile now how receptive and enthusiastic audiences are. I had such a great time, every show was so much fun and the people were so kind and supportive.
And did you get much time for sightseeing while you were here…..was there anywhere you particularly enjoyed?
We had some days off in Oslo, which were incredible, but in the U.K. It was pretty quick and mostly spent traveling to and from venues. I did get an afternoon to myself in Oxford and loved it there. I went to the Botanic Gardens and really enjoyed just strolling through town. Throughout the whole tour I was just so excited to stare out the window and see such beautiful parts of the world I’ve never seen before. I lived in Italy for two years when I was in high school and got to see a little bit of Europe at that time but it’s all still very new to me and therefore very exciting.
Do you come from a musical family? You’re an accomplished guitar and keyboard player, brilliant vocally too…..was music always going to be your career?
In a sense, yes. My dad was a Submarine captain in the Navy but he played piano and loved to sing. My mothers family was very musical and my parents loved dancing so music was just always present. I loved music from the first moment I can remember and started begging for lessons at age 5. My parents were incredibly supportive and went above and beyond to provide me with lessons, camps, etc. I always knew music was my thing in life but it took me awhile to figure out what a career would look like and how to pursue that. I naively thought it was pop star or nothing and I knew I didn’t want to be a pop star. It’s a challenging career for sure but I can’t imagine doing anything else.
You grew up listening to an eclectic mix of music I gather, but of the country artists you heard are there any who were particular favourites and who have influenced you as an artist? And why were you drawn to them?
Patsy Cline is probably my number one for country voices. I love soulful torch singers. Tammy Wynette is another one. I just love voices where you can hear the ache and pain in every note. Patty Loveless, George Jones of course….mostly those with powerful aching voices.
After a nomadic existence you moved to Nashville three years ago…..do you feel at home there, have you finally planted your roots? It seems like a very supportive community for singer/songwriters…..
I do love it. My husband and I bought our first home last year so it’s the first time I’m actively planning on staying put for awhile. It is an incredibly supportive community for singer/songwriters especially within the circles of women musicians. I feel really lucky to have a strong, talented supportive circle of female friends here.
And your recent ( second) album “Bright Lights and the Fame” was recorded there, I’m loving the mix of heartbreakers and upbeat honky tonk songs on it. Are there any tracks that are particular favourites with you, either as a writer or performer?
Thank you! I love singing Living Without You. It’s a pretty simple song that I didn’t think much of honestly when I wrote it but it’s one of my favorites to play with a band.
I wrote the song Stars when my grandmother passed away so that feels the most intimate, vulnerable and was a cathartic writing experience.
It was important for me to try and incorporate multiple vibes on the album because that’s the kind of record I love listening to. I love Linda Ronstadt’s early records because of the fact that it doesn’t necessarily stick to just one genre. She was inspired by so many kinds of music and let her own recordings reflect that.
The instrumentation is fantastic, do you have a regular band you play with back home?
Thank you! I have circles of musicians I’ve played with for awhile that go in and out depending on everyone’s schedule but these days it’s been changing a lot!
You’ve collaborated with some amazing writers on the album, can I assume you prefer co-writing to solo writing and is there anyone you dream of working with in the future?
This was actually the first record I have any co-writes on so it was a pretty new experience. I think I love both but might still prefer writing alone. It can feel so exciting to write with someone and connect that way and it also pushes me out of my habits, highlights different ways to approach songs, lyrics etc. but writing alone still always feels much more personal and vulnerable. There are definite pros and cons to each and I always find it fascinating how my own relationship to each song evolves over time.
How much of your writing is ( at least a little bit!) autobiographical…..and where else do you get your inspiration from?
I would say a lot of it is at least semi autobiographical. It could start with just a feeling that inspires one line and then exaggerates from there with my imagination but I definitely depend on personal experiences or experiences people in my life are going through. I tend to lean towards heavier, more emotional material but try to push myself to write upbeat fun songs as well because I love listening to those. Can’t be a downer all the time!
What plans do you have for the rest of 2107…..and into 2018? Hopefully some headline UK dates at some point?
I’m coming back to the UK at the end of August with Sam! Touring the US more throughout the fall…and most likely back again to Europe with Sam mid-October/Nov. I’m hoping to then take some time at home to make a new record to have something out in 2018.
Keep up to date with all things Michaela Anne at michaelaanne.com and of course here at bellesandgals.com!
Michaela Anne was interviewed by Lesley Hastings.