For local artist Annie Kennedy, music and performing have been synchronous since she was a child. Performing in school, the church choir and even the lead role in, coincidentally, the musical of the same first name in middle school, this west suburban soon-to-be country star is aiming at building on her success.
Kennedy, now living in Nashville, joked while she talked about the big change between living in The Music City versus her childhood home in west suburban Westchester.
“I notice I’ve started using “y’all” a lot more.” Kennedy said about her first year in Nashville, “But I am here, really focusing on music.”
And focused she is. Just off the release of her debut album “Highway Songs” – now available in the iTunes store – Kennedy cut seven original songs for the album, all in which she had a hand in writing.
“’Again and Again” is my favorite because I love the production we put on it, I think it’s one of the most original songs on the album and it’s also one of the most personal,” said Kennedy. “Although “Gettin’ Over You” is the most fun to perform because its got such a great little sassy attitude.”
Some of Kennedy’s influences include, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride and even country legends like Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline and Hank Williams. Her favorite however, is LeAnn Rimes. “I got to meet her when I was in junior high.” While growing up, she also listened to other types of music she said, “From Stevie Wonder, to the Beach Boys and the Beatles.”
All of these musical influences helped define her country style Kennedy said, “As modern country with a classic country twist- you can hear it in the writing and in the production on the album.” Kennedy has played the piano since she was young and is self-taught on guitar. When she performs, she typically plays in a three-piece group and is working on expanding into a full band.
With all of this country music flowing in her blood, the move to Nashville seemed like the natural, right thing for her to do.
“There is so much talent here [in Nashville], and I don’t really feel intimidated by it ever,” she said. “It just really inspires me to keep improving and gives me something to work towards.”
With her determination and passion for the craft, that future is looking bright for Kennedy.
“I’m really excited to focus on writing in the next year, and to come up with all new material for my next project. Nothing is in the works officially as of now; I’m just always trying to get better as a writer and a performer.”
Now she’s focused on getting some stage credits. After a quick show in Minnesota this week, Kennedy will be back in Illinois for two upcoming shows. The first, at Carmen’s Jazz Bistro in Palos Heights on July 7 from 7-8:30 PM followed by her first “homecoming concert” at Westchester Fest on July 9 from 4-5 PM.