A Glimpse Into You Sing I Write’s Life For Girls Write Now


Last summer, my friend told me about Girls Write Now, a mentoring program that pairs women in the writing field with high school girls who are looking to pursue a career in writing. It has always been a dream of mine to mentor someone once I was more established in my career, especially since I never had that growing up. Some of my mentors in later life as a freelancer are now my colleagues and I know how important it is to have someone else show you the ropes or just make you feel like you’re not crazy for pursing a career in journalism.

I was accepted as a mentor on the day of my 28th birthday and it has been an experience like no other. My 17-year-old mentor has helped me jump outside my comfort zone and realize my love of writing in first person. She was always so intrigued by my adventures interviewing bands that it hit me that maybe others would want to hear about my experiences as well.

Earlier this month, we had a Chapters reading where mentors and mentees took the stage to read some of our pieces. The first time I’ve ever read my article in front of a crowd, I was a bit intimidated but my mentee Priscilla and I took the stage together and once I got a few laughs from my opening line I calmed down. I thought my blog was a fitting place to post this. Enjoy!


“Annie, you know you’re now closer to 30 than you are 20,” my brother-in-law reminded me on my 28th birthday.

Just the thing every girl wants to be told.

At 17, I dreaded the thought of no longer being a teen and soon entering my twenties. I felt old and decrepit and the thought of college and the dreadful “real world” soon filled me with fear. I did not want to be an adult with responsibilities, with a boring 9 to 5 job. I didn’t want to be miserable.

At 17, that seemed to be my immediate future and it scared me to death!

It’s strange that now, being 28, I feel so young. While I have what seems to be adult responsibilities — rent to pay, a job to go to — most days I still feel like a kid.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a music journalist and the majority of my days are spent writing about Justin Bieber or which boy Taylor Swift’s current single is about. Sometimes I even get to hang out with the bands I hear on the radio. I once interviewed One Direction at their hotel as a swarm of girls were outside screaming and anxiously waiting to meet them. Confession: all five guys gave me a kiss on the cheek.

The truth of the matter is that I have every teenage girl’s dream job and that’s why I feel so young. On a daily basis I’m channeling my inner 17-year-old self, trying to figure out what questions I would have wanted to ask my favorite bands. It also doesn’t hurt that I look about the age of the demographic I write for. But I don’t mind it. To be in your 20s and still get mistaken for someone in their teens is a good thing.

Well, I’ll see how I really feel about that when 30 comes around. Given my day job and my annual request for a Backstreet Boy in my stocking each Christmas much to the chagrin of my parents, I have a feeling my future will still involve listening to boy bands, writing about Justin Bieber and endlessly deciphering Taylor Swift’s song lyrics. Being a grown up isn’t so bad after all.


Welcome Back to You Sing I Write!


It’s been over three months since my Website crashed and this has been the longest I’ve gone without updating since it launched in 2007. While I’ve definitely been keeping busy, I miss having You Sing I Write as a constant outlet to write about whatever band I want to, no matter how big or small.

I’ll try to fill you in on everything that’s been going on in my world as much as I can. I’m still at CBS full-time where I cover Top 40 (most recently interviewed Hanson — see photo above!) but I’ve also been branching out and doing on-camera reporting. While being on-camera sounds glamorous to some it is not at all that way for me. Never the outspoken one, you can definitely say I have a bit of stage fright.

Luckily, my co-workers are extremely supportive and have been helping me get over that fear. My debut as a host of’s Country Rewind launched a few months ago and while every morning I have to go on camera I wake up with a huge knot in my stomach, things are slowly becoming more comfortable. Here’s my first episode in which I chatted with Ashley Monroe and Randy Houser.

It’s no secret Taylor Swift is one of my favorite artists out there. Last month when I headed to her RED Tour at Newark’s Prudential Center I was happy just to be there. So, imagine my shock and excitement to learn that I wasn’t just sitting anywhere at the arena–I was in the front row! As a kid, it was always my dream to be front row at a concert and I never really thought it would be a possibility. If you haven’t seen Taylor live, I highly recommend it. She puts on a phenomenal show, unlike any concert I’ve seen.

Photo credit: Ash Newell
Photo credit: Ash Newell

Every now and then I get the pleasure of interviewing artists more than once. When I learned Parachute (formerly Sparky’s Flaw) would be coming to work to chat I couldn’t help but remember the first time I talked with frontman Will Anderson. He was still in college on his way to class and the band would tour on the weekends. They went on to have hit radio singles, go on some major tours and write with Lady Antebellum. One of the first bands I interviewed for this blog, it was nice to have familiar faces in the studio who felt like old friends.

That really is my ultimate goal as an interviewer: hope our conversation is comfortable enough that they’ll want to come back next time they’re in town. I have a slew of interviews lined up in the coming weeks and some impressive new artists I’m excited to introduce you to. Stay tuned!

Song of the Week

Song of the Week: “Think of You”


(credit: Lauren Dukoff)

I’ve had this song on repeat all last week after I learned that Reeve Carney of the band Carney would be starring as the love interest in Taylor Swift’s new music video “I New You Were Trouble.”

Last winter while getting food with friends in town Reeve joined us for dinner. All I knew about him was that he was an actor and just came from rehearsal but as the night went on my friends and I learned that he was the lead role in Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. We were eating dinner with Spider-Man!

He told us that the music producer of the play happened to catch a show his band, Carney, was playing and wanted to cast him as the lead. He was incredibly humble considering he was also tapped to open for U2 and was working directly with Bono and The Edge.

Days after that dinner I saw his name everywhere — a feature in Rolling Stone, billboards, etc. I must admit I’m pretty thankful I didn’t know who he was during most of dinner because I might have interrogated him and turned dinner into an interview segment. Anyway, once learning he would be in Taylor Swift’s new video I decided to listen to his music and was reminded how much I love “Think of You.” A simple sentiment, Reeve’s raspy vocals and delicate yet powerful strums of the guitar showcase the song’s beauty.


You Sing I Write Celebrates 5 Years!

It’s hard to believe it’s been 5 years since I wrote my first blog post for You Sing I Write. Started simply as a creative outlet to keep up my writing after graduation, it’s helped lead to numerous freelance gigs at dream publications like Rolling Stone and Billboard as well as land a full-time gig at CBS writing about music every day. I couldn’t be happier, but it was no doubt a long and arduous journey.

This past week CMJ was back in town and hundreds of music fans and bands descended on the city to catch live music and attend music industry related panels giving advice of how to make it in the business. I attended one on music journalism and knew each of the panelists having worked with or met all at one point over the past 5 years. Each had insightful things to say about working in the industry but I couldn’t help but feel a little depressed afterward. The fact of the matter is the business has changed dramatically over the years.

When I first started it was the dream to live vicariously through Almost Famous and go on tour with bands. Unfortunately that rarely happens anymore Caryn Ganz, Editor In Chief of SPIN said. Another panelist, Jessica Robertson of MTV Hive, said she spends 90% of her time in business meetings and the other 10% in creative meetings.

If I was a college student hearing this I would have been discouraged, but at the same time my “prove ’em wrong” mentality would have kicked in. So, my advice: if you’re passionate about something you’ll find a way to succeed. It won’t be easy but I’m living proof that it’s possible.

Growing up a pop music junky I never would have dreamed I’d be interviewing boy bands and some of the biggest pop stars heard on the radio. Through my blog and freelance gigs I also discovered my love of country music and after suggestions from friends even started a country blog. Along the way I’ve met and interviewed some of my favorites including John Mayer (!!!), Lady Antebellum, Taylor Swift, Darius Rucker and Switchfoot. Not to mention toured with a band and witnessed some amazing live shows.

I’m not quite sure what the next 5 years will bring but if it’s anything like the past 5 have been they will be nothing short of interesting. Thanks for supporting me over the past 5 years. Here’s to 5 more!

Come celebrate 5 years of You Sing I Write at W.i.P. in New York on November 3rd. The night will include performances from some of my favorite acts I’ve covered over the years including Mary Bragg and The Ramblers. Stay tuned for more details!

Song of the Week

Song of the Week: "Keep Your Eyes Open"

My top concert of 2010, NEEDTOBREATHE‘s live show is like no other. It only makes sense that Taylor Swift hand selected the South Carolina rock band as an opener to her tour last year.

The group’s latest single “Keep Your Eyes Open” brings their anthemic rock to the forefront with soaring guitar riffs, wavering vocals and heartfelt lyrics. Watch their music video below and catch the band on tour this month.

Related Links:
You Sing I Write’s Top 10 of 2010
Band of the Week: NEEDTOBREATHE
5 Tips for Landing an Opening Slot


You Sing I Write's Weekly Wrap Up

Last week I wrote of John Mayer’s album release date and scheduled tour. Unfortunately, on Friday morning Mayer wrote on his Tumblr that he would have to cancel live performance indefinitely as the granuloma on his throat grew back. For more, read my article here.

Taylor Swift and Kanye West were back in the news. As West debuted his women’s fall fashion line it came to be known that Swift will be be wearing his design in her April cover story in Australia’s Harper’s Bazaar. For my complete story, visit Fresh 102.7.

Kelly Clarkson will be a mentor on a new talent-based TV show this summer. Called Duets, Clarkson, Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles, Lionel Richie and Robin Thicke will scour the country in search of undiscovered talent to mentor. The show will put a spin on the talent competition as each mentor will choose two singers to be their duet partners for weekly performances.

Two weeks ago I interviewed singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson where he filled me in on his songwriting process and pranking Train on tour. You can read all about his songwriting process here and about life on tour here. Watch him discuss teaming up with Maroon 5 to prank Train below.


You Sing I Write's Weekly Wrap Up

Being a John Mayer fan, you can imagine my excitement in finding out his single, “Shadow Days” was released to radio on Monday. And, after setting tour dates and revealing the track listing to his upcoming release, Born and Raised, he let fans know that his album will drop May 22. Stream his new song here.

Lady Gaga launched her non-profit, Born This Way Foundation, at Harvard University this week. Inspired to raise awareness to stop bullying after a New York teen committed suicide last year, Gaga said, “I believe once you feel safe in your environment and you acquire the skills to be a loving and accepting person, the opportunities for you are endless to become a great functioning human in society.”

In other news, LMFAO announced tour dates and chatted with Rolling Stone about their Super Bowl halftime show with Madonna while John Legend discussed his decision to act in “The Hunger Games.”

Legend isn’t the only musician working in film. Taylor Swift lent her voice to Dr Seuss’ The Lorax where she plays Audrey, a character Swift describes as heavenly. “She’s such a day dreamer, and she cares so much about the past which makes her different from everybody else in the society she lives in,” she said. “To some degree, you have to have a priority based on the past and the future as well as the present.”

Finally, I met with and interviewed Matt Nathanson on Friday where he discussed his songwriting process, working with Sugarland and pranks he has pulled on tour with Maroon 5 and Train. Stay tuned for my complete articles soon!

Features News

You Sing I Write’s Weekly Wrap Up

Just when I thought I was done hearing about Chris Brown and Rihanna, the rumors turned out to be true. On Monday night, Rihanna re-released “Birthday Cake” featuring Chris Brown and the music industry was abuzz. You can listen to the track here. What do you think about their collaboration?

This week, it was confirmed that former “American Idol” runner up Adam Lambert will be Queen’s frontman for a festival performance this summer. During an interview with New York radio station 92.3 NOW, one fan asked if he would channel Freddie Mercury. “I think it would be disrespectful to Freddie Mercury to try to copy him. I don’t think that’s the idea of any sort of tribute. I think the idea is to bring the songs to life with an energy that maybe he would be approving of,” he said.

Tuesday, I caught phenomenal sets by Mary Bragg and Nic Cowan at The Living Room and Rockwood Music Hall, two of my favorite venues in New York. What I love most about live shows is the power the singer has on the audience to connect. Cowan hushed the crowd at Rockwood after telling a story of meeting an artist pursuing his passion. After he told the tale, I had the song “Reno” stuck in my head for days. Listen to it here.

Matt Nathanson released the lyric video for his latest song “Run” featuring Sugarland. Being a country fan, I was surprised to learn of their collaboration. The beautiful track showcases his sensitive side and continues to expand his fan base.

My favorite story from this week was about a New Jersey teen asking Taylor Swift to his prom. Battling cancer for the second time, Kevin McGuire told his sister that no one would want to attend prom with him when he loses his hair. When she suggested Taylor Swift, his eyes lit up for the first time since being diagnosed. Fast forward to Friday night, Taylor couldn’t attend McGuire’s prom but instead invited him to be her date at the ACM Awards.

What music stories did you enjoy reading most from this week?

Features News Videos

Taylor Swift Debuts New Video with The Civil Wars

Yesterday, MTV News’ Sway Calloway sat down with Taylor Swift to talk about songwriting, working with The Civil Wars on their latest track for the “Hunger Games,” and touring. Watch her new video, “Safe & Sound” featuring The Civil Wars below and for the complete interview visit MTV News.

Taylor SwiftSafe & SoundMusicMore Music Videos
Related Links:
Q&A with Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift Welcomes NYC Crowd to Dream World for ‘Speak Now’ Tour
Hundreds of Fans Camp Out to Meet Taylor Swift
Artist to Watch: Taylor Swift
Concert Reviews Features News

Taylor Swift Welcomes NYC Crowd to Dream World For 'Speak Now' Tour

Recently crowned Artist of the Year at the AMAs, Entertainer of the Year at the CMAs and Billboard‘s Woman of the Year, Taylor Swift proved just how deserving she is of these accolades last night. With two sold-out performances at NYC’s Madison Square Garden — the last two dates of her “Speak Now” Tour — Swift is a fitting example of how dreams come true with a little luck and a lot of hard work.

Swift showcased her catalogue of hits, and even brought out Goo Goo Dolls frontman Johnny Rzeznik for a duet on the band’s “Iris,” a track Swift explained as “one of the greatest songs ever written.” Before she took the stage for “Sparks Fly,” complete with fireworks, Adam Brand and NEEDTOBREATHE opened the night.

For more than two hours, Swift took the audience on a journey. Each song performed had an elaborate story acted out by Swift, her band and dancers. Throughout the numerous scenes within her set, it is evident she dreamed up the entire sequence, down to the tiniest details.

“I was hoping it would be cool with you if I stood here and told you a few of my stories,” Swift said. The audience screamed in approval.

For my complete review, visit Billboard.