Today we’d like to introduce you to Annie Trousseau.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Ana Maria. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Can I just say that I’m in a big movie right now?!! It’s so exciting. I got to sing on screen and I’m blond in it. And there’s a really beautiful full version of the song “All Or Nothing At All” over the end credits. The film is in theaters now. It’s Roland Emmerich’s WWII epic, Midway, with Woody Harrelson, Nick Jonas, Mandy Moore, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans and tons of other super talented actors. It came out November 8th and opened as the number one movie in America! I’m normally very modest about self-promotion, but I’m so honored and excited to be a part of something of this magnitude. My band actually has three songs featured in the film and on the soundtrack, which is out on Spotify and all other streaming platforms, the physical CD comes out on November 22nd, for the collectors.
Also… (drum roll) I have just signed a non-exclusive sync deal with Cutting Edge Music in Beverly Hills, who I met through my involvement in the Midway soundtrack. It’s a really exciting time. I have various new projects in development that I’m really passionate about and want to share.
But first, I’ll take you back to the beginning.
Music is really in my blood. I was born in Colombia into a musical family and grew up working for a living since the age of three or four— singing. We were always traveling and performing, like gypsies, living from our van or trailer, chasing dreams and seeing the world. It seems romantic, and it was, sometimes, but it was a very unusual childhood. Music was my escape. Poetry as well. Perhaps that’s why I love helping others escape through my performances.
So, I toured the world with my sisters starting from preschool age. We played in over twenty countries: The U.S., Mexico, India, Belgium, Singapore, Spain, Malaysia, France, and many others. When you hear about how Quincy Jones mastered all the musical forms to become a giant producer – jazz, orchestra, big band, samba, pop – I was exposed to all that from a very young age. And to this day you’ll hear me sing in 6, 7 languages during a show.
I played with Eden’s Crush, *NSync … and other giant acts and from them, I learned how to put on a good show. So many details— costumes, choreography, how to tease a crowd, the set changes, the makeup, the choice of venue, choosing the repertoire. My act draws from all these inspirations, old and new, it’s sort of a tour of my musical inspirations. The sounds or songs can be vintage but they’re never nostalgic. They’re personal. This is my story. But it’s the story of the world. It’s a journey through space and time through a voice, a drum beat, a twirl of a hand, the trill of a trumpet, or cry of a gaita*. And above all, it’s a journey of love for all that mankind has to offer in this electrifying art form that is music. It is its own language.
So much of what I create with Annie Trousseau is about discovery and educating myself and in turn, my audience learns with me. I often feel like I’m not just singing songs, rather, I am sharing the knowledge I gain via performance/ musical lecture. It’s really, really fun.
* (A gaita, aka Kuisi, is a Native Colombian flute made from hollowed cactus, and uses a quill from a large bird as the mouthpiece)
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As a musician, life is never easy. It may be fun. But easy? A big majority of the journey is struggling to overcome obstacles. A lot goes on behind the scenes. That is a part of the learning process. Having to be a key part of the bread-winning as a kid, I was always gigging, moving, often worrying if we’d get by. Some days we had to sing for our food or open my dad’s guitar case on the gas station corner and sing until we earned enough tips to be able to fill the tank. I grew up too fast because I didn’t have a regular childhood. I made a lot of sacrifices. So did my sisters. But we also saw the world in ways that very few people get to, and we gained a musical and worldly schooling like no other. I’ve dealt with many other lows (and highs!) along the way. That’s life.
Looking back, it was thanks to those hardships and struggles that I have what it takes to be a musician for life. It is a path that is always laced with big ups and downs. It requires a tremendous amount of dedication and passion to stick with it. So much work goes into what I do. When I finally get to the night of a show, and I’m in my gown, and the music flows, and I open my voice, and the applause comes, I transcend all else. Nothing can replace that. All of the hard work leading up to it is worth it. It really is.
Can you give our readers some background on your music?
Happily. I am a recording artist, a bandleader, performer, multilingual chanteuse, and a curator of musical experiences. And Annie Trousseau is my vehicle. My unique repertoire comes mostly from the 20s-60s and I also throw in some originals. It is exotic, playful, deep, rich and very entertaining. Aside from my authentic obsession with what I do, I believe that I also have an obligation to culture to keep doing it, because much of the material may disappear if we don’t keep playing it. That is why I add more and more Colombian folkloric music to my act. I want the world to fall in love as I have. I take the crowd on a journey through my own stories and the stories of the songs and I expose people to sounds they may have never heard before, all the while paying homage to the poets and writers that I adore.
I have the most fun developing the concepts for our performances, adding material to my repertoire, choosing arrangements, constructing the sets. It is an art that takes years of practice to get right. I often hunt for hidden gems in old vinyl shops or at flea markets around the world. It takes a lot of time and care. And I truly enjoy that discovery and then presenting it to the audience in an exciting package. Then I take them on the journey with me. And I’m usually lucky enough that they stay to cheer me on.
I have to talk about my talented band, because they are simply exceptional. Being in Hollywood, I am fortunate enough to collaborate with the best musicians in the industry, like Nedra Wheeler, Josh Lopez, Stewart Cole, and Leo Costa and so many others. They are all such pros, they follow my lead and vision, and they are an essential part of the Annie Trousseau sound. When they aren’t playing with me, they’re off with huge artists like Shakira, Sergio Mendes, Michael Bublé, Stevie Wonder, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It’s really a star-studded band. They have to play so many different styles because we go from French Chansons to Brazilian Bossa Novas to 60s Brit Pop to Afro-Colombian music, sometimes in one show.
Yes, there are bands who sing in various languages and cross-over with genres, but I don’t know of anyone who takes it as far as we do. I’m really proud of that. We never get bored. I think I’m gonna be adding some Greek next! That would make it ten languages… and growing.
Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years? Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
We live in a time that favors the independent artist. And you don’t need a Ph.D. in musicology. You just have to have talent, desire, and a strong work ethic. All the tools needed to succeed are at arm’s length. Music-making in an app, marketing on social media, masterclasses from your couch. You don’t need to wait to be discovered when you can have your own channel. You can record, mix and distribute your music from anywhere you like. I love seeing all the techie stuff, the VR experiences, the holograms humanoid artists, but we all know that an AI will never be able to deliver a song with the soul of a human being who can pull you into their personal experience.
Thankfully, I don’t have to think too much about where it will all be going next. I can just keep creating live music experiences and use what serves the creativity. I want to keep experimenting with live performance art, theater and scripted musical cabarets, incorporating more visual spectacle and storytelling in my shows, as well.
In this moment, I am relishing the experience of being in my first feature film and am so excited for the music we make to reach further than ever before. That is what I really want. Being featured in Midway is a huge step for where I want to go and what I want to continue to create. I owe a great deal to the wonderful producing team, Roland Emmerich and Harald Kloser, for believing in me and allowing me this opportunity. Next, I will be launching videos, another big band single, and some live recordings this winter and in 2020, including my vinyl project. I am so happy to bring such unique musical gems to a new (and familiar) audience, a la Trousseau! Also, the best place to find out about our upcoming shows is on my Instagram — Annie Trousseau. See you in concert, LA!
Note: You can catch Annie Trousseau live at Vibrato Grill and Jazz for a special big band performance, with music from the film on Dec 3rd, 2019.
- Website: www.annietrousseau.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/AnnieTrousseau
- Facebook: facebook.com/AnnieTrousseau
Photo Credit – Alessandro Casagrande