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Q&A

Interview with Annie McIntyre,
lead singer of AnnieMac:

Q: Where do you come from musically?

Annie McIntyre: I grew up near the end of a gravel road in Mill Valley, California. When I was a little girl, my dad got some really cool promotional records from a friend who worked at Columbia. Santana, Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin, Simon and Garfunkel, The Byrds, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, and Taj Mahal ruled the household. My dad also had all the Beatles albums, and George Harrison's solo work. I listened incessantly. This is really the musical foundation and influence for my songwriting.

Q: How did this background influence where you are now?

AM: As I grew up, and things changed in my family, the blues really started to color my world. I connected with the music’s emotion—joy and pain intermixed and recreated. My father also influenced me by playing old time music, folk and Prohibition songs that his mother had taught him. So I started out singing the blues because it was the music I most identified with—artists like Willy Dixon, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Ruth Brown, and Little Milton showed me the way. I also loved Bonnie Raitt, John Prine, David Lindley, Tom Waits, and John Hiatt.

Q: There’s a certain spiritual base in a lot of your original songs. The blues surely contain religious ideas couched in terms of human trial and triumph, yet you also bring in some more “New Age” ideas.

AM: I’ve always come from the soul and from a deep connection to what I call Spirit. And I had always written poetry about my feelings. Lyrics and melody started coming to me after I started performing live. As soon as I found my own voice, I couldn’t stop writing songs. I know my songs would be easier to market if I stuck to just one genre, but I must write what comes and I always try to honor my muse.

Q: People liken your songs to a “gritty gravel road” and your lyrics, like the woeful resignation in “Forget About Love,” make it sound like you’ve been there. How do the lyrics and melody present themselves to you?

AM: I’ve been to all the places in every song, believe me! The lyrics come in different ways, bubbling up from my memories and subconscious. Mostly this happens while hiking. The rhythm of my body seems to affect my thinking—like a walking meditation- and the song lyrics and melodies just arrive on my tongue. I learned the hard way to always have a recorder with me. This last year I started having dreams of lyrics and melodies and that's where “You Make Me Feel” came from.

Q: Do you write the music too?

AM: I bring my lyrics and melody ideas to the band. They help arrange and create with me. I love the act of co-creation with these guys. It's amazing to see the songs birthed. Playing them for an audience is just icing on the cake.

Q: The energy at an AnnieMac show is awesome, with college kids, yuppies, hippies and even grandmothers all getting down. What’s it like from on stage?

AM: It’s a blast! I love connecting with the audience. The vibe is fun and very immediate. It infuses the space with a mixture of sultry motion, communion, and heat. The crowd responds to our energy, our pure enjoyment in doing something so satisfying and primal. And we respond to theirs. It’s symbiotic—we all create the experience.

Q: What's one of your favorite songs to sing?

AM: Depends on my mood. “Ninety-Nine and A Half (Just Won’t Do)” by Wilson Picket is one of the few songs from my earlier band that I still perform. The anthem has a message I love, and, yes, I always want a hundred. Of my originals, the one I'm in love with right now is "Colrain Tears." I wrote it about my Grandfather Baba and taking his ashes back to Colrain, Massachusetts, to be buried next to the woman he loved. There is a deep respect and love for him; this song came from my heart.

Q: What’s the next stop on the road?

AM: We’re finishing up our first CD, Ignition, which will release in February of next year. Until then, we’re gigging all over the place. It’s our dream and plan to tour Europe with the new album. Maybe we’ll meet a band that wants to tour with us. Also, we’re looking for professional representation, which is never an easy task to accomplish, but we’re confident. For AnnieMac, it’s all about spreading our message of love and soulful living through music. Oh yeah … and having a damn good time doing it!



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