A Few Minutes With… Annie Scherer
Annie Scherer is a singer/songwriter and pianist based out of Nashville, with roots in Upstate New York. I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with her to discuss her background in music, her process of writing, recording, and performing music, as well as what projects she has in the works.
How and when did you get started in music?
I started with classical piano when I was six, and I performed that pretty much up until college. Shortly after I started piano, I started writing songs. They were nothing serious, they were just short little jingles. But I started to make them into full ideas by the time I was eleven, which is when I discovered Taylor Swift. Before that, I had grown up to only rock and roll music that my parents listened to. So that was a big awakening for me.
From there I started gigging and writing more seriously, and then eventually began recording in 2015. I would say I always knew I wanted to go into music somehow. I kind of had this crisis even before I was eleven of “What am I doing with my life?” So music was always the backbone for me.
Where do you draw inspiration from as a songwriter?
I usually start with what’s happening in my life, because it is kind of an outlet for me. But there are times when I feel like my life is anti-climactic. So I also think about life from other people’s perspectives. Sometimes if I’m reading a book or watching a show, I’ll even put my mindset in a character’s point of view. Other times I’ll hear a song and think “I’d like to write a song kind of like that, but make it my own.” So yeah, a combination of things.
How has the transition been for you as an artist and as a person going from the Albany area scene to the Nashville scene?
In a way, I feel like nothing has changed. My goals are still the same, but it has really opened my eyes. Nashville is such a big music community and everyone down here really wants to collaborate. That’s somewhat new to me. Of course, I would collaborate with people back home, but that is such a central part of Nashville and what makes it special. This is a city that is devoted to music, and so there are many opportunities down here. It’s nice to be surrounded by people who have similar goals and want to help one another.
I see that you play out a lot as a solo artist. What’s different for you playing live solo as compared to with a group?
So I am actually in the process of putting a band together down here. Back in New York, I did a lot of solo stuff, just because I was used to accompanying myself. That’s how I wrote music, that’s how I started; I always played solo. But I really love playing with a band. I always hear a whole orchestration behind me when I’m singing, that nobody else is hearing. So it’s nice to be able to provide that imagination for people, and it’s easier to connect with the audience. Sometimes when I’m behind a piano, I almost feel stuck in that one place. So I’m excited to be able to move around and engage some more.
How does your creative process change between writing, playing live, and recording in a studio?
Oh man, I think they’re so entirely different. Just being alone and writing is my favorite because I totally have the freedom, and my imagination can go wherever. Being in the studio, it depends on what we’re doing. Sometimes the studio can feel extremely tedious. Having to make everything perfect, it becomes less about the emotional attachment and expression to a song. As for performing, you can do whatever you want. It’s almost more important to have a good performance and have a good connection with the audience than to play something perfectly and nail every single note.
You went to school at The College of Saint Rose. How has a college education in music helped you to get where you are?
I think in general the most important thing to walk away from college with is creating relationships that will last beyond your graduation. You never know where somebody’s going to end up. If you have a friend, people usually want to help one another. I also definitely learned a lot of different aspects of music, from the business side to the creative side. So I think I made the right decision to go to college. It’s a way to network and a way to learn.
Your debut album “Garden Bed” came out last year around this time. What’s one thing you didn’t expect to happen with the release, and what’s one thing that you expected to happen, but it didn’t?
The one thing that I didn’t expect that was really exciting was that last year I won the “Best Performer in the Capital Region” by the Times Union. I don’t know if that contributed to the album’s success, but I like to think that it did. So that was really exciting. The album being featured in American Songwriter was super exciting for me as well.
As for the second question, I think that when I’m releasing this huge project, I’m expecting the next one to be easier and that I would get some opportunities that would give me a chance to take a little step back. So now, as I’m beginning another big project, it’s like we are right back to square one. I’m still 100% directing this, which is great, and I will probably end up doing that for the rest of my life.
What’s something you’d like to achieve within the next 5 years?
Well, my number one goal is to be a full-time artist, and if that doesn’t work out, my plan B is to be a full time songwriter. As far as short-term goals, I’m really excited about putting a band together and having that be a consistent thing, maybe one day go on tour. That would be really cool.
The music industry unfortunately is a historically male-dominated field. However, thankfully more and more female performers and producers are coming to the forefront. What’s something you would say, or one piece of advice that you would give to any woman out there who might be interested, but is maybe unsure of stepping into the music scene?
I think there’s something to be proud of for whatever realm you’re entering. Especially in this day and age, so much of it is possible. I feel proud to be a female producer and writer. Also as an Asian-American, I feel proud to represent that side of things. So I’m appreciative that in this era, there’s a sense of pride for being who you are entering the music industry.
Finally, what do you have on the horizon? Do you have any upcoming shows, or perhaps some new music in the works?
So I actually just confirmed a release date for my next single, it’s actually a remix of my song “You Know”, which is something that I had never really thought about doing before. My friend Joseph reached out wanting to remix it, and it is super, super cool. We’re releasing that on May 6th, so I’m really excited about that. Other than that, I’m slowly chipping away at my new album I’ve been working on, and there will be a trickling of singles from that album leading up to it.
You can explore all of Annie’s music, follow her on social media, and keep up to date with everything she has going on by checking out her website below. Cheers!