I recently chatted with Nashville Voyager about my journey to Music City. It was quite the experience to be on the other side of an interview! Below is an excerpt of our chat.
Annie, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved to write. As a kid, I’d write plays when my cousins visited that we’d later act out for our parents during family get-togethers. By high school, I joined the school paper and in college was Features Editor of Rutgers University’s award-winning newspaper, The Daily Targum. Watching Almost Famous solidified my love of music journalism but it wasn’t until my first live review for my college paper’s entertainment section that things clicked. I still remember it like yesterday: I was front row for a Gavin DeGraw concert — notebook in one hand and digital camera in the other — when I realized I could do this for the rest of my life! From there I took three unpaid internships at JANE Magazine, MTV News, and Rolling Stone and have been writing about music ever since.
Journalism jobs were hard to come by after graduation so I continued to freelance for Rolling Stone and some other outlets while launching my music blog You Sing I Write to keep up my writing skills. I’d review concerts and those reviews would be featured on MTV’s concert blog and homepage. That visibility helped me land interviews for my blog, and I often did those interviews on my lunch break while working at WebMD.
I took on any writing assignment I could get — sometimes unpaid in the beginning — which is how I wound up in Nashville for CMA Fest in 2009. Two friends were going and invited me along so I pitched festival coverage to an editor at Marie Claire who I had interned with a few years before at JANE. It truly is all who you know in this industry! Soon, I was in Music City for the first-time interviewing Martina McBride, Darius Rucker, and Taylor Swift in a press conference. I’d never been so nervous in my life!
CMA Fest was the first time I attended a press conference and Darius Rucker was the first artist to come through. At the time, I didn’t realize how aggressive you had to be to get your question in. As other journalists yelled to get their questions answered, I sat there quietly with my hand raised as if I was in school (and probably looked like I was still in high school at the time!). The last question was asked and as Darius was being ushered off the stage by his publicist he stopped and pointed at me. He said, “You have been so patient this whole time. What is your question?” I fell in love with country music in that very moment and dreamed of moving to Nashville ever since!
For more of my interview with Nashville Voyager, visit the publication’s website here.