There is so much about Annie Fitzgerald that commands attention. At first, it’s the hair. Most importantly, it’s the music. She has been noted for her ability to connect and empathize with the listener with her remarkable knack for writing songs that stick with you long after they’ve last played. Fitzgerald’s guitar-based songs and performances are a constant paradox of the striking and the subtle. Already heralded as an artist to watch by the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame with just two records released to date, she is making her mark with a simple perspective and an irresistible style.
Minnesota-born to an artistic family, she began exploring her creativity through dance when she was barely walking. Piano lessons followed in grade school, and her love for musical theater eventually led her to study at the Mountview Theater School in London and earn her membership with the Actor’s Equity Association as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance from the University of Minnesota. Theater fed her creative soul in a unique and powerful way, but also gracefully led to the conviction that she wanted to sing about things that were specifically important to her, to Annie, rather than to the characters she was playing. In short, she needed to sing her own songs, and most importantly, she needed to write them.
New Year’s Day 2006 saw the release of her self-titled debut EP, from which the song “Ain’t That a Shame” was included in the 2007 Best of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame compilation CD, which featured the most talented performers from the 57th New Songwriters Showcase. She was deemed an artist to watch, and was presented with the award by the legendary Hal David. Annie became a regular on the NYC Indie scene playing such venues as the Cutting Room, Caffe Vivaldi, the Living Room, while making a home at Rockwood Music Hall. With such an auspicious debut on the strength of just a 3-song EP, the next step was clear: make a full-length album. Returning home to Minnesota from New York City, Annie teamed up with Producer Matt Patrick at Library Studios in Minneapolis to record In Good Time.
Released in September of 2010, In Good Time is a most fitting title, considering the patience required as life led her to towards this album. “I went though a rough patch and some life changing events, and like everyone, was trying to make sense of it all. I finally felt I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it.” After saying it on record, she said it on the road, traveling over 5,300 miles on her own and sharing In Good Time with fans and friends at notable venues throughout the Eastern & Midwestern United States.
After 10 years living in NYC amidst touring, she and her family have recently relocated back to her roots in Minnesota to be close to family as they raise their young son. “It was time to slow down. After taking some time off to be home with my son, I have a deep appreciation for all of the things I’ve learned about myself, and about love…..and I think I have a lot of things to write about.” A new album is in the works.
As for commanding attention, “I have to laugh about it,” says Fitzgerald, “because in many ways, I’m demographically unremarkable.” This commonplace life has become one of her strongest assets, however, because when people listen to Annie, it’s entirely because of the music. She embraces well-worn human themes like family, love, death, and yearning and offers a performance and perspective that feels completely new. Indeed, when she grabs her guitar and starts to sing, “unremarkable” has absolutely nothing to do with it.
by Phil Putnam