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Indie Talk

  • Writer's pictureIndie Music News Reporter

Annemarie Picerno

Updated: Jun 27

Annemarie Picerno, a Voting member of The Recording Academy (Grammys®), is an award-winning entertainer and composer based in Nashville. With a BFA in Musical Theater, her expertise spans Classical and Broadway Belt voice, Music Theory & Composition, Dialects, Acting, Directing, and Dance. Annemarie's dynamic career includes performances in professional theaters, various musical bands, comedy, and improv, alongside notable appearances at Disney World, Busch Gardens, and on film, radio, and television. Recently, she showcased her vibrant personality as the Red Carpet Host at The Soiree Las Vegas, interviewing industry professionals and Grammy® nominees. Collaborating with Nashville producer Bob McGilpin, Annemarie creates a unique blend of Americana, Country, Pop, Blues, Gospel, Soul, and Rock, earning her numerous accolades, including the Bronze Medal Finalist in the Global Music Awards and multiple awards for her music videos. Her powerful voice and diverse performances continue to captivate audiences worldwide. Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing or performing music? Music, writing, art, and singing were an escape from a broken family, abuse, and shyness as a child. I was also an avid reader and could read several books in a day. My school teachers recognized these talents and encouraged them.

I discovered I had a big voice that I developed in theater and concert performances and went on to get a BFA in Musical Theater, a degree that provided intensive training in Classical and Pop Belt Voice, Acting, Stage Dialects, Dance, Composition, and Music Theory. This prepared me for professional theater jobs and my first comedy shows at Disney World and Busch Gardens. I then went on to perform with bands of every genre, and work in film and TV, and came full circle back to music when I moved to Nashville to reignite my songwriting and original music. All my past experiences and training are incorporated into the creation and performance of my original music to be a total entertainer on stage.

Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career? There have been so many crazy times, and too many people would be incriminated. Lol. I will say I was much more experimental and wild in my younger days and lived in the performance opportunities and the moment. As I matured as an artist, I also began writing deeper themed songs and wanting my music to inspire people and conversation about social issues and personal beliefs. Recently this year, I was randomly attacked at a Walmart with a stun gun, and it traumatized me to see how misguided youth and people in our world can learn racism, lack of empathy, or love for humanity. It has become a theme in several of my songs like "Just Be Kind," "Color Blind," and my latest release "You Know I Love You Right," which details showing love and appreciation for those that take life's journey with you through trials and good times. Sticking by someone through thick and thin because they are worthy of love and seeing the light and coming out the other side, and because they have value and deserve love in all its forms no matter what their mistakes or circumstances are.

I do believe people can change, and we need to stick by the ones we care about when they fall, as they deserve to overcome and experience good things as well as love. So that kid at Walmart that I did not know, who was some misguided youth, I imagine that his life might not have been so good to think attacking someone was normal. I questioned the "why" and did not have an answer, yet I imagined that he probably did not have a good family or life to be on the streets or know what kindness was. I had to get past the PTSD and forgive despite not knowing those answers, and forgiveness is a theme in many of my songs. So these experiences throughout my life I have channeled into my lyrics and music to express my own inability at times to express it to a person or in public. To "lay it all out there" on social media, for example, is not my style. But I can write and sing about it, and singing a song and getting up on a stage feels like home to me.

What has been the high point of your music path? Being able to travel, meet artists and people from around the world, and recognizing that there are a million talents and people in this world. Joining NARAS, National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences which hosts the annual Grammy Awards has opened up a bigger world of creatives that have not only given me professional opportunities but inspired me as I continue to learn and grow as an artist. I have been able to collaborate on projects with world class musicians and also learn about other cultures and music, and be involved with projects that strive to have music make a difference in our world as well as entertain. Our voices and music as artists can inspire positive change if we use our voices and talents wisely.

So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like? I have been asked this question many times and depending on where I am in life and what is happening around me, can influence the creation. I usually have a very clear thought about the theme, and creating the lyrics will lay out not only the story but the state of mind of what I will call the character singing the song. The point of view might be something I witnessed not necessarily myself or is a topic to ponder. "What Will You Say" was a song questioning the impact of our life and life's work after we have passed, and if we made a difference in the world. Or was it only recognizing that we all are flawed and need to not only forgive others but also ourselves.

Each song I write may have metaphors and more than one meaning, so it is open to interpretation of the listener as to what they take away from the story. Although my Bad Girl EP was infused in dance and pop themes, it had darker lyrics, so the upbeat sounds were a contrast to the emotions of the singer in the stories. "Trouble" was a fun writing exercise to put comedy into a couple's one night stand, so each song becomes it's own individual creation of many sounds and meanings. I am a multi genre artist so have written Country, Gospel, Rock, Pop, Blues, and R & B along with Broadway showtunes and many of my songs mix more than one genre and sound. I enjoy working with Bob McGilpin as creating the music to match the emotion and story is new on each studio session. We are painting a picture together to evoke visual imagery and to have the music create a motion and shape to that emotion and feeling. It's a lot of fun!

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be? The music industry is rapidly changing, and people should recognize that AI can only do so much. Once you take away thought, emotion, and creating from music, it will become too mechanical. And can the artist duplicate that in a live performance? I have seen artists ripped to shreds because they had a poor live performance, so you better have the talent to back up the art in live performance as recorded music is becoming overly processed. I pride myself on bringing what you hear on a recording to the stage and being able to do it well.

If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why? Chris Stapleton, Bonnie Raitt, and several Motown greats to name a few, but so many have influenced me in my career it would be a very long list.

Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it! "Just Be Kind" as I lost a friend to suicide and am troubled by the lack of help to those that need mental health care, kindness, and resources to survive in this complex world. Once again. choosing a song with a message over some vanilla pop commercially crafted song is important to me.

What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else? The feeling upon a stage or in a recording studio, the vibration of creating, and the connection with an audience is something that cannot be fully described, but so integral and necessary to feel complete as an artist. And for a moment, I feel joy in a gigantic world.

What's coming up in the future for you? I am getting more involved in film and my theater roots as well as collaborating on some musical projects with artists and producers around the world. I am also writing a theatrical production so NYC and the stage is in my future travels.



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