Over the last few years, I have been fortunate enough to be immersed in the music world as a part of Lemonade Magazine. In that time, I met a wonderful artist by the name of Brooke Annibale. Her strikingly poignant, honest lyrics combined with her honey-coated, smoky vocals captured the attentions of everyone on the staff. And to be quite honest, she was one of the first artist I ever “liked” on Facebook.
And thankfully, I was able to catch up with the budding star to ask her a few questions about her brand new album, The Simple Fear, and a few other things she is working on. The Simple Fear will be released on October 2, 2015. Now enough babbling and introductions! Here is Brooke Annibale!
Lemonade Magazine: Thank you so much for taking time out of your business schedule to sit down with us! So it has been a little while since your release of Words In Your Eyes EP (2013), tell us a little bit about what has been going on the past couple years.
Brooke Annibale: I worked on recording this album for several months starting in June of 2014 and wrapping up around May of 2015 with all the mixing and mastering. A few songs were even recorded in 2013. Before that, of course, I was writing a lot and preparing all of the songs for recording. I’ve done a bit of touring, and also made the move back to my hometown of Pittsburgh.
LM: Having recently moved back to Pittsburgh from Nashville, what prompted the move and has that changed how you approach songwriting?
Brooke: It hasn’t changed how I approach songwriting necessarily, but it’s definitely helped me create a better balance in my life between work and other things. Mostly personal reasons prompted the move. My whole family is here in Pittsburgh. My only sister just had her first baby so I’m enjoying being a new aunt to my nephew! There were career reasons too, but even though I moved back to Pittsburgh, I still recorded the album in Nashville with a lot of the same players. The connections I’ve made in Nashville have had a really long standing impact on the way I make music.
LM: I know that you are working on a side project called The Song Jar. Do you want to tell us what it is and how it works?
Brooke: The Song Jar is a really cool new songwriting “business” I started up with my friend and fellow Pittsburgh songwriter, Judith Avers. What we do is write songs based on people’s life stories. Most people order songs for anniversaries, weddings, proposals, family member’s birthdays, etc. We write the songs individually, taking turns or based on the recipient’s preference. I’ve gotten to write songs about a lot of really great stories. The most recent, and one of the most interesting ones I wrote was involved in a proposal! I actually performed the song while the proposal was taking place, which was really special.
LM: All of the songs on The Simple Fear, as are all of your songs, very personal. How do you channel that creativity into each of your songs?
Brooke: Songwriting has always been the channel I’ve used for processing experiences and expressing emotions. Even when I was a kid, I would write lyrics, so it’s really grown into something that comes very naturally for me as a therapeutic process for whatever I’ve been going through lately. Deep emotions are never super easy to put down into words, but I find that writing from that authentic and genuine place creates my best songs in the end.
LM: This is your second project working with Producer/Engineer Justin March. How has the relationship evolved to produce The Simple Fear?
Brooke: It was really great to work with Justin on another project. He was also the engineer for my 2011 record, Silence Worth Breaking and the reason that I started working at The Smoakstack (studio) in Nashville. We met in college (Belmont University in Nashville) and always discussed the possibility of recording together. The EP was our first dive into working together to make music and it went really well.
I like how involved I can be in the production process and I like the way that Justin encourages and enhances the vision I have for my songs. He is really dedicated to every aspect of each song and is great at communicating with the musicians we’re working with. He also helps draw out my best performances, which is something you really need when putting a song down in a finite form!
LM: We have had so many artists over the years use websites like PledgeMusic and GoFundMe to further their careers. How was the experience working with them and what kind of pitfalls and successes should other artists looking to utilize these services expect?
Brooke: Working with PledgeMusic has been really great. With anything, it’s going to take more time and effort than you expect to get people’s attention and get them committed to helping out. But in the end it is a great way to get people excited about a new project and get to share exclusive content with those people.
LM: What are you plans for touring? Maybe a West Coast swing?
Brooke: West Coast touring is something I always want to do. I get out to LA sometimes, but can’t seem to make my way north. Let’s just say though, if it doesn’t happen in 2016, well then, I will be very disappointed in my planning skills.
LM: Speaking of touring, who would your dream tour include?
Brooke: It would be amazing to open for someone like Brandi Carlile or Glen Hansard. The put on such great shows and have such amazing fans. I would learn a lot from watching them every night, I’m sure.
LM: And, what is your favorite lemonade and where can we get it?
Brooke: I always tend to like that fresh squeezed lemonade that has a whole lemon and a bunch of sugar in the bottom of the cup, like the stuff that’s made at festivals and fairs.
LM: Ha! That super sugary first sip can be magical. Thank you again for spending part of your day with us, Brooke!
Brooke Annibale’s new album, The Simple Fear, will be available October 2nd on her website, HERE.
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