Annie Mack is a singer/songwriter with two albums to her credit: Baptized in the Blues, released in 2013, and her newly released EP, Tell It Like It Is.
What sparked your interest in music?
The era in which I grew up, it was really all about the music. It was a major part of developing friendships and finding things to do. This was the time when we would watch television with the intention of seeing someone play music on shows like Solid Gold and Soul Train. These shows were our lifelines. I remember that my sister and I used to wait for the release dates of certain albums and then go to the Tower music store to buy it. We would physically take the city bus to the record store, get the new album, and then put it on this little thing called the record player!
Define your music style.
My foundation always has always been the blues, but I believe that I am a soul artist, a roots artist. My music is organic music, real music that speaks to the people.
Favorite local band or artist?
I have such a respect for the coalition of musicians in Rochester. I love everybody, and I learn so much from them, even the inexperienced musician. To have the guts to get up and present art, I have a lot of respect for the performing musician that can do that because it’s tough. So I respect everyone from the young kid who doesn’t know all his chords to the 50-year-old who came out for the first time.
Most memorable gig experience?
I wrote a song for my daughter called Saving Grace. It was a prayer for her future, a mother’s prayer. I performed this song at Blues on the Chippewa, and a woman in the front row just started crying. I asked her to come see me after the performance. I found out that she just lost her daughter a couple of years ago and that my song really touched her. Then it started to click. I knew I always wanted to write with purpose, to tell the truth about this life. It meant a lot to me that she could take my song and have it be healing for her. That is the power of music. That is the power of God. That is the power of the tool that has been given to me.
One book you think everyone should read?
“Go Tell It on the Mountain” by James Baldwin. He’s a gay, black man writing about spirituality, and it’s an eye-opener to see a different culture, a different experience.
Kindest words from an audience member?
Don’t stop. You’ve got something, and I felt something, so keep doing it. This is what’s needed right now.
Show rituals or superstitions?
My goal is to get out of the house without visible snot on my outfit. If I can do that, it’s a good day.
What makes you stand out as a musician?
My conviction. When I perform, I know what I am singing about and that emotion comes across. I want people to feel it and understand it. That means that I am going to draw the people into the experience I am trying to share.
What is your musical philosophy?
I just want people to understand that they are loved and that we are all in this life together. That is how music has touched me. The songs that have ministered to me are the ones that I can sit down and just cry to.
What motivates you to keep playing music?
I love the challenge of being challenged by others. Creative people need to be pushed by other creative people, and that’s where the growth is. That’s where the magic is.