10 Questions with ... Annalyse
February 23, 2015
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 2015 The Tales Of A Tattered Heart
1. Brief history/synopsis
I was born and raised for six years in Florissant, Missouri. I was the first child of a second marriage for my mom, and was a new sister to three older siblings. Later, I became an older sister and we welcomed #5 to our family, my younger brother Andrew. Something unique about my family is the 21 year age difference between the youngest and oldest.
My dad being a small business owner, we had to accommodate to his companies needs, which for our family, resulted in two moves. From Florissant, we moved to St. Charles where we lived for 3 years, and finally landed in Ballwin.
Despite the moves, we have always been rooted in the same church community, where we were/are very involved. I took interest in music as a toddler, always wanting to make noise with pots and pans. Eventually that turned into piano lessons with my musically-inclined grandpa, and then professional lessons.
I began writing songs out of desperation to express myself and my feelings through difficult bullying situations in middle school. Church was also a platform I used to get involved in music; I began leading worship for student ministries in 6th grade, which has now turned into leading worship for all 2,000 members of our church today.
Ever since I began training for leading worship, I have mastered the art of losing myself in divine unity with God through music. Worship and writing became my therapeutic outlets. A current senior at Parkway South, I've been heavily involved in music since middle school, including choir, orchestra, and A Cappella. The environment of public school, church, and a supportive home have certainly contributed to who I am today.
2. What does a normal day at home look like for you?
I've always valued my sleep. When I have nothing to wake up for, which is incredibly rare, I could easily sleep the day away.
On a day with no commitment, I forget about my alarm and sleep until 11am-12pm. Even though I practically wake up in the afternoon, I'm not a morning person, so it takes me awhile to warm up to the world.
I start my morning with a hot beverage, usually chai tea, and sit and stare at a wall for awhile. This "wake up time" lasts for an hour, and I usually have an acoustic playlist that I play during this time. I rely on social time to give me energy, so I value any time I get with others. My mom always has some kind of project to work on, so i'll end up organizing a closet or doing a week's worth of dishes.
Everyday, whether I'm at home for an hour or for seven, I sit down at the piano and play songs or songs that I've written. Occasionally I'll challenge myself to some Beethoven playing through 8 movements of a 12 page song. My mom often joins me for hymns or worship songs, and we'll sing together.
Lazy days consisting of pajamas, Netflix, tea, and good acoustic music are definitely my favorite.
3. What's the song that you just can't get out of your head right now?
A song that's recently been playing as the ongoing soundtrack in my mind is Fire Away by Jon McLaughlin, the string version of course. I love this song because of the melodic brilliancy, and the exquisite instrumental parts.
I'm a hard one to please when it comes to music, so when I find something that I can obsess over, the artist should really take it as a huge compliment. I have a deep appreciation for strings in pop songs, probably because orchestra was a large part of my life for several years. It is a song that brings me to tears with how beautiful it is. It's something that can't go unrecognized.
4. How much do you travel, what are the challenges?
I'm on the road at least once every two months, and honestly, it isn't a huge challenge for me since it's not a huge time commitment. The only struggle is being in high school with so much happening with my music career.
It's fair to say that most 17 year olds are working temporary jobs at Steak 'n Shake, or are involved in some extracurricular sport, But, I'm not your average 17 year old, I'm not working a temporary job, I'm working on my career, my life goal and aspiration.
The music industry is demanding all around, so fitting into a public high school that has been designed for the average teenager is difficult. Sure I have issues with my attendance record, and my grades temporarily suffer if I can't get homework done in time, but in the end, what's one grade?
I have to prioritize, and at the end of the day, I know that being an artist is what I'm called to do for the rest of my life. So if missing a few day's here and there for recording is going to be a struggle, that's okay with me.
5. What Artist or Pastor has had the greatest impact on you?
The first concert I ever attended was Hillsong United, fifth row from the stage.I was in 7th grade and I went with my mom. I sat in awe of them the throughout the night, completely captivated. This was the first time I felt like I had entered into the presence of God; every word I sang along with them was full of power.
For most of the concert, my hands were outstretched above me because I couldn't help but surrender myself completely to Him. That night something in my heart changed, my worship became God centered and a time for surrender and rejuvenation in unity with Him.
Ever since seeing them live, I have listened to their songs and remembered the worship I experienced with them. They have forever changed me as a worshiper and worship leader, and I desire to create a similar atmosphere with my delivery of music, whether my listeners are Christians or non-christians, everyone deserves to experience the incredible power and love of God. If that's through pop music, so be it. God works in mysterious ways.
6. What's the last book you read?
The only reading I do is for school, and sometimes I don't even read those (and I still get good grades, imagine that!) Though I can't remember what the last book I read was besides the Bible, my favorite genre is romance. I'm a sucker for a good love story.
7. Funniest or most embarrassing moment on the road?
You'd think that the musician in me who uses power supplied instruments and equipment would know to turn the power on when I go on stage. On more than one occasion I have walked on stage, started playing my opening song, and have stood there in complete embarrassment because there is no sound coming from the piano. It was a pattern for awhile, and every time it happened, the power button was the least of my concerns.
The most humiliating experience I've had with this was witnessed by 10,800 people. I was the opening act for Tenth Avenue North at a sold out amphitheatre, and the host of the show came out and introduced me. I confidently walked onstage after a successful soundcheck and introduced myself. As I began the introduction to my song, I realized that I didn't hear anything. I panicked for a few seconds, looked to the sound booth, and mentally kicked myself for having not realized sooner that it was the power button. I recovered by making some quirky comment like, "oh, power buttons are good."
After humiliation in front of thousands of people, I always acknowledge the power button when I get onstage, like a friendly encounter. It's just routine. Thank goodness I learned that lesson.
8. Take me thru a couple songs on your latest project, "The Tales Of A Tattered Heart".
It is a compilation of stories about an individual who has experienced pain and hardship, and learns to overcome them and turn to the source of hope to bring healing and restoration. These stories are based on other individual's experiences, as well as my personal experiences. I hold this record very close to my heart because it was an incredibly vulnerable project for me to work on; I poured my soul into every word of every song. Working with really good friends to come up with a final product was such a valuable experience.
The record opens with the first song, 'A Place Called Faraway' which talks about someone who is desperate for a fresh start. The order of the tracks is purposeful because it is a sequence of events in this person's life, the progression of their growth and dependency on God.
The next track, more upbeat entitled 'What This World Has For Me' consists of a story about pursuing your dreams. I originally started writing this track as a love song, and eventually it turned into my goals and dreams written into a catchy lyric. This part of the individual's journey is showing the detachment from their painful past, and are forging into the future.
'This Is Your Hope' speaks to the optimism that this person is now focused on. This song has been especially touching to lots of people as I've played it in numerous settings. The lyric contains so many truths that anyone can easily identify themselves with. The power of the message in this song is immense, making it my favorite to share with people; I long to connect with people through the power of hope.
'Alive' is the most pivotal track on the record, it contains this moment of declaration, rebirth and deliverance. The lyrics radiate fresh energy that comes from relying on God and letting Him live through you. This track has also spoken to so many people, and has been a source of optimism for those who are struggling to find joy in living for God.
Lastly, I finished the record with 'You Came,' a song reflecting on the struggles that this person has endured, and finally recognizing what God did to get them through every moment of their journey. The bridge of this song contains my favorite lyric of the entire record: 'All is not lost, You're here.' Through the writing of this record, I struggled with feeling like a wanderer, stuck in my own chaos with no escape.
There were so many moments in writing these lyrics that I cried over the words, thinking that I could never live a life of redemption. By the time I wrote this song, I was coming to my senses, realizing that God was there all along, through all the tears and pain, and that I hadn't lost anything. If my listeners can take one defining message away from this record, it is exactly what that lyric says: All is not lost, God is with you always.
9. Person you'd most like to have a discussion with, living or dead.
If I could sit down and talk over coffee with anyone, it would be Jon Foreman. He is such a multidimensional guy. Full of wisdom, perspective, experience, and talent, I would love to just sit and listen to him talk. Talk about his song inspiration, his faith, his story.
Since I was in middle school I've always turned to his music with Switchfoot, as well as his solo work, and every song has always been so thought provoking. I would love to get to know the stories behind every song he's ever written and become a student to his writing. His lyrics are genius material, so well thought out and clever with positive, powerful underlying messages that are so intriguing. Just once, if I could get a few hours with him, I would be happy.
10. Favorite Bible Verse?
My favorite bible verse is Romans 8:37-39.
"No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither heigh nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus Our Lord."
I've always felt like my problems are bigger than me, and that parts of my life will never change for the better, but this verse says otherwise. I love that we are conquerors, meaning that we have the power to conquer anything, through the love of our God. Everything can be blown out of proportion sometimes, but at the end of the day, I remember that nothing is too big for our God.
In addition to that, nothing can stand in the way of His love for us. Yet another powerful statement; I often struggle with knowing God is there, but again, at the end of the day, I can rest assured that no matter how distant I am from Him, he has never grown weary of standing by my side through every little thing. That is the most beautiful promise that I hold onto everyday.