Exclusive Interview by Karen Beishuizen
Trashy Annie is a singer from Austin, Texas who released her debut album Sticks & Stones on May 19. The back of the album is an art collage of screenshots of all the mean things people have said to her in the last year on social media. The album takes the listener on a journey. A journey of sadness, heartbreak, love, joy, all tangled up with a little bit of gritty reality. She is currently touring The US and goes back into the studio in October to work on her second album. If you have not checked out Sticks & Stones yet, what are you waiting for? It is great!
KB: Did you always want to be a singer songwriter?
I grew up very poor and taught myself to play the trumpet to pay for college. I loved music and thought I would spend my life playing professionally, but I got into a bad relationship in my early 20s that forced me out of the music world. I didn’t come back to it for nearly 20 years, when I bought my first guitar at age 44. I wrote my first song with the one chord I could play at the time and went to an open mic in Austin, Texas just to check a box for myself. I had had a lifelong fear of singing in front of people and had never even done karaoke out of sheer terror at the idea, and I wanted to do it once just to prove to myself I wouldn’t die of fear up there on the stage. It was a surprising, fast, and slippery slope back into music, and I fell head over heels in love with songwriting. The pandemic hit shortly thereafter, and I spent that time learning to write, learning what it takes to produce a song and get it out into the world, and how to form and manage a band.
KB: Who came up with the name Trashy Annie? Pretty cool name!
The name Trashy Annie came about because after releasing my first tune under my name Annie Davis, with a music video I had worked really hard on making by myself (my first time learning to make a video happened to fall smack dab in the middle of a worldwide pandemic, so I was on my own) a woman on social media commented about my clothes being “too young” for me. I was heartbroken, until I flipped a switch in my head and decided that if people wanted to judge me or call me trashy for the clothes I were on stage, then “Trashy Annie” it is, and the band name was born.
KB: What makes a song great in your eyes?
In my opinion, a great song makes us feel something. Happy, sad, mad, frustrated, offended even, but something. If I can connect to a stranger through my song, then I have done my job as a songwriter.
KB: What is your new album Sticks & Stones about?
Sticks and Stones builds on the Trashy Annie theme. The back album art is a collage of screenshots of all the mean things people have said to me in the last year on social media. Comments about my clothes, my voice, my songs, that I should use “real models” in my videos, and a million other things. The front album art is a big, glittery middle finger. I am so proud of the album because it is a physical manifestation of the way I see the world and a nod to the people who have influenced and shaped my life and my music over the years.
KB: Why should people listen to it?
I think that rock and roll is experiencing a tough time right now. With the massive influx of technology and a shift toward electronica, I feel some of the organic quality of what rock and roll used to be in the 70s and 80s has been a bit lost. Not all of my tunes are rock tunes by any means, but I think my favorite tunes are. I try to wrap my songs, which can feel like country songs due to the storytelling component, in a rock and roll blanket that is more 70s and 80s feeling in nature. My hope is that Sticks and Stones takes the listener on a journey. A journey of sadness, heartbreak, love, joy, all tangled up with a little bit of gritty reality.
KB: Any people out there you would love to collaborate with and why?
There are so many people I’d love to collaborate with! I have some stripped down acoustic songs where I think a collaborative approach with people who do emotional storytelling very well, like Patty Griffin or Ruston Kelly, would be amazing. I am starting to collaborate with an incredibly talented musician and writer named Thommy Price who was Joan Jett’s drummer (and Billy Idol’s, among other people I highly admire) for many years, and I am really excited to see what we can do together because of his talent (he’s also a fantastic and kind human being) and his ties back to the music that I grew up listening to. I’ve always just written mostly by myself, so it’s an exciting new page for me. I’m also really lucky to have two great producers and collaborators, PH Naffah of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers and Jeff Lusby-Breault, that are crazy-talented, have patiently taught me how to structure a song, and are always so much fun to work with. I haven’t really thought a lot about collaborating until recently because I love the writing process so much and have always been a bit of a lone wolf in life, but I am really excited to start working with other folks to expand my creativity, try new ideas, and maybe even get into some new genres.
KB: An album with 7 of your most favorite songs (not your own): what songs would you pick and why?
Wow! Tough question. As I mentioned above, I love songs that make me feel something. The songs below all make me wish I’d have written them. I love a big mix of genres and my favorites change all the time, so this might get weird but here we go…
1. Blood In The Cut – Kay Flay
2. Feathered Indians – Tyler Childers
3. Drift Away – Dobie Gray
4. Let Him Fly – Patty Griffin
5. Kiss Me Where It Smells Funny – Bloodhound Gang
6. Sweet Baby James – James Taylor
7. Whistle For The Choir – The Fratellis
KB: What are you up to now?
We are touring around the US quite a bit. I was named 2023 CMA of Texas Americana Artist of the Year, and have been signed to Cleopatra Records out of LA. I am really excited to see what this next year brings, and am slated to get back in the studio this coming October to track my second album.