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You Sing, I Write’s Top 5 Moments of 2009

Photo Credit: Wendy Hu

As 2009 rolls to a close all the major publications and music sites are doing year end and decade album favorites. While I’ve considered doing a similar write-up, I really feel that the results are completely subjective. Who’s to say what the No. 1 album of the year is? We all have different music taste and while my favorite album may be within the country genre, you might disagree.

Instead, I’ve decided to pick my top 5 moments of 2009. Whether it was traveling on my own to a festival or interviewing one of my favorite bands, since you’ve all been following my adventures on the blog and Twitter I thought you’d be interested in some of my favorites. I’d absolutely love to hear which show or interview you’ve enjoyed reading about in the comments. 2010 will be a big year for You Sing, I Write and I cannot wait to share it with you. Thanks so much for your support over the years. Without your continuous comments and feedback, You Sing, I Write wouldn’t be what it is today.

Top 5 Music Moments of 2009

5. Becoming a Country Music Fan

This may seem peculiar as a top moment, but since attending the CMA Music Festival in Nashville, Tennessee, in June I have become a country music addict. Whether it’s subscribing to numerous country newsletters or watching music videos on CMT and GAC, I can’t get enough! While I’m sure Taylor Swift had something to do with it, I’ve come to realize that the country genre is unlike any other.

The community between artist and fan is phenomenal and even the press are extremely welcoming. I remember my first night in the CMA press conference and being extremely nervous because the biggest country stars would be there for interviews. Martina McBride, Rascal Flatts, Brad Paisley! A Jersey girl covering the Nashville music scene, I was definitely a country newbie. I kept raising my hand throughout the night in hopes to squeeze a question in and quickly learned you have to be aggressive and shout out your questions to the artists. Lucky for me, Darius Rucker noticed my continuous unsuccessful attempts and while the PR person was ushering him off the stage he pointed to me and said, “You’ve been so patient this whole time. What’s your question?” I was shocked and humbled.

Later that night, the concert at LP Field was postponed three hours because of a storm, and Rucker was mingling with fans in the rain until the show continued. I don’t know many artists who would wait alongside their fans for three hours in the rain. This is just one example of many in how I fell in love with country music. Interviewing Martina McBride, Holly Williams, David Nail, Taylor Swift and Jake Owen (pictured above) are moments I’ll never forget.

4. Festival Coverage

From past internships at MTV and Rolling Stone, I was always super jealous of the editors who traveled the country and covered festivals like South By Southwest and Lollapalooza. While I always aspired to work for a publication that would send me for free, I never fathomed attending one for myself. However, this was the case of South By Southwest.

Having been laid off at my full-time job back in February and becoming frustrated with the job search, I decided March needed a change of scenery. After talking to a fellow Jersey girl who was looking for a roommate in Austin, Texas, and being promised that I’d be able to purchase a badge when I arrived, I decided, on a whim, to attend South By Southwest.

My first trip anywhere by myself, I hopped on the plane a bit skeptical, but extremely excited nonetheless. I set up a few interviews for the blog and wound up covering my adventures for Marie Claire. By far one of my most memorable life experiences, South By Southwest was the start of my festival-filled year. The Country Music Festival and All Points West soon followed where I traveled with friends to Nashville and later Liberty State Park to interview some incredible up-and-coming bands who later exploded onto the music scene. For a music journalist, there is nothing better than that.

3. Attending Zootopia, Jingle Ball and the VMA’s

If you told me 10 years ago that I’d be attending and interviewing the performers of New York ra
dio station Z100’s Zootopia and Jingle Ball concert I would have never believed you. I grew up listening to Z100 and would frequently call to win tickets to their two biggest shows of the year. To be backstage and in the press ro
om interviewing the bands before they took the stage was incredible and something I could only wish for as a child. Now, if only one of the bands there were the Backstreet Boys my life would be complete!

As for MTV’s Video Music Awards, it was always a dream to attend and witness one of the most talked about award shows live. Whether it was being part of Taylor Swift’s performance or talking to the artists on the red carpet, the VMA’s really were exactly what I dreamed them to be. Although, I never imagined all the drama that one artist (ahem, Kanye) could create. A memory nonetheless. From Zootopia to the VMA’s, both events deepened my life motto to follow your bliss.

2. Hosting a benefit concert for To Write Love On Her Arms with Monica

I talked about our benefit concert for TWLOHA last week and how it started with an article I wrote three years ago in college. While depression, self mutilation and addiction continue to be taboo topics, the word is slowly getting out. It was our hope to present awareness to these issues through music. Throughout our planning over the past few months, we often said the only thing we couldn’t control was the weather and that proved to be true when the blizzard of 2009 reigned on us last Saturday afternoon.

I’m a huge believer in everything happens for a reason. So, when the weather forecasters predicted 10 inches of snow I was hoping mother nature would prove them wrong. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. With two band cancellations and constant messages from people saying they wouldn’t be able to make it, we were a bit worried. But, there is no person I could have relied on more in a time of crisis than Monica. We both dealt with our frustrations and with the help of Chloe from TWLOHA found a last minute performer to the lineup.

Despite the snow, we drew over 100 people to our benefit concert (including founder Jamie Tworkowski!), raised hundreds of dollars for TWLOHA and introduced the crowd to four new artists who are sure to make waves in the music scene. Knowing that so many would risk their lives and make the trek in a blizzard for a worthy cause was humbling and we were extremely grateful.

1. Visiting Graceland

I’ve been listening to Elvis Presley for as long as I can remember and it’s always been a dream of mine to visit his home at Graceland. Just walking through his house and seeing the Jungle Room, countless exhibits and making my way outside to his firing range, stables and memorial was incredibly surreal. He had such an impact on the music world and to be able to experience his sanctuary and place of escape was an experience I will never forget.

What do you think of my top 5 list? I’d love to know what you enjoyed reading this year, whether it be interviews or concert reviews, let me know!

3 replies on “You Sing, I Write’s Top 5 Moments of 2009”

Annie – Remember the Gym Class show on Livingston, way back when? Seems like forever, and I'm glad you've stuck to your passion for writing about music. Your determination is really inspiring, and I'm proud to have followed YSIW since the beginning!
Oh, recently went to Nashville, and I'm a country music convert (though still not a fan of Taylor Swift.) Something about the live performances, man.
Did you go to Bluebird Cafe while you were there?
And check out "Troubled Annie" when you get a chance.
Always a fan,

Haha of course! Thanks for the comment 🙂 So glad you've followed for so long! Can't wait to read your novel!

I checked out Troubled Annie, dig! I actually didn't visit Bluebird Cafe, I can't imagine why not. Gotta take another trip soon! Hope all is well!

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