Don’t strive for perfection — I am a perfectionist, but when I was tracking vocals, in an attempt to sing “perfectly,” I let my fears set in and lost my emotional connection to the lyrics. Music is meant to connect us through feeling, and conveying my raw truth meant singing from my heart as opposed to my mind.
As part of our series about rising music stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Annabel Gutherz, a rising singer-songwriter hailing from Montreal, Canada.
In 2018, Annabel released her debut single, Legends, a philanthropic song whose total proceeds are donated to education-based charities in North America. It has amassed over 30,000 streams to date.
Annabel is excited to release her debut album, Loose Ends, an eleven-song, retro rock record that is co-produced by Dominique Messier, a long time band member for Céline Dion and owner of Studio Piccolo. The album is slated to be released in 2021.
Annabel, who describes herself as a storyteller, is an ardent songwriter and began composing original music in her early teen years. Her diaristic and poignant lyricism, as well as her mellifluous melodies, arrangements and distinct voice, take listeners on a journey as she writes from the heart, with raw honesty and emotional conviction. She describes her sound as a blend of pop, folk and rock, and draws inspiration from icon Stevie Nicks.
Annabel Gutherz is a Senior at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. She is earning her Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Music Studies and is graduating in the spring of 2021. In addition to being a multifaceted singer-songwriter, Annabel is a talented guitarist and saxophonist.
On top of her musical endeavors and academic career, Annabel is the published author of children’s picture book series, Annie’s Pajammies, which will soon be sold with a corresponding line of pajamas. A portion of the proceeds from every Annie’s Pajammies unit sold is donated to help facilitate access to education in countries across the globe.
By utilizing the magic of music as well as the written word, Annabel Gutherz hopes to continue making a positive impact in the lives of people around the world.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/9327f4532820dbaaaa904c4b8bf4d20e
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?
Thank you so much for doing this with me! Growing up, my parents exposed my sister and I to a number of different activities, and I was always drawn to the arts. My free time consisted of drawing, painting, sewing, beading, acting, reading, writing, and of course, singing! The sense of fulfillment I felt from the creative process was deeply gratifying.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
When I was five years old, my mom and sister performed in a local theatre production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat. Their performance, and the magic of live entertainment, inspired my foray into the arts. I was enamored by the show in its entirety — the costumes, the choreography, and especially, the music. I have been performing ever since, however, I only considered pursuing a career in music when I began writing songs of my own. The first song that I ever wrote was “Jane,” which coincidentally happens to be my debut single!
Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
Since the beginning of my studies at Berklee College of Music, I have come to realize just how unifying the art-creation process is, particularly through digital means and media. Technologies enable us to forge new, meaningful connections, and creatively collaborate on different ideas and projects. To elaborate, we were completing my album when the Coronavirus Pandemic hit and we went into full lockdown. I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to complete the record, as we had just begun mixing the songs. Thankfully, we were able to mix the album digitally through the use of ZOOM and other softwares. Irrespective of my being in Montreal, the lyric and visualizer videos for the album were created by Amber Park and her superlative studio team in Los Angeles, and the album artwork was created by a prodigious artist in Finland, Jirka Vinse Jonatan Vaatainen. At the same time, I was attending online classes at Berklee out of Boston, and working on group projects with students from Australia, England, and Africa who were also experiencing similar lockdowns. It was extremely interesting to experience this global accessibility made possible through various digital forums!
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now?
My debut single, Jane, is the first release from my debut album, Loose Ends, which I couldn’t be more excited about! What started as a collection of journal entries became a melodized collection of stories about my life thus far. It’s stylistically eclectic, yet entirely authentic to my heart. In addition to my music, I’ve also been developing Annie’s Pajammies (www.anniespajammies.com), a social enterprise that helps facilitate access to education across the globe by selling a children’s picture book series in conjunction with a corresponding line of pajamas. The children’s picture book series follows young protagonist, Annie, as she achieves her dream of learning about the world by traveling to different countries in her magical pajamas! A portion of the proceeds from every book and pajama set sold is donated to an education-based charity in the country Annie explores. The first book in the series, Annie’s Pajammies and her Magical Rainbow Ribbons, which takes place in India, is available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds from every unit sold is donated to the Shanti Bhavan Children’s Project, an organization that helps break the cycle of poverty, eliminate gender inequality, and provides boys and girls alike with a foundation on which to build a happy, healthy and prosperous future!
We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers about why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film, music & television? How can that potentially affect our culture?
Diversity represented in film, music and television promotes inclusion and acceptance, builds intercultural competence, and demonstrates that everyone has an equal place in society. Exposure to diversity through media thus breeds familiarity, which eliminates fear and fosters openness, effectively building a more united, accepting and loving global community, and a more peaceful world! I hope to use musical and literary platforms to showcase and promote the beauty of diversity, multiracialism and ethnic inclusiveness.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1) Don’t strive for perfection — I am a perfectionist, but when I was tracking vocals, in an attempt to sing “perfectly,” I let my fears set in and lost my emotional connection to the lyrics. Music is meant to connect us through feeling, and conveying my raw truth meant singing from my heart as opposed to my mind.
2) Settle for more — Never compromise your creative or artistic vision: work hard and find the necessary means to bring your vision to fruition. See it through.
3) Trust your instincts — Let your intuition be your guide, especially when creating art. Try, try and try again until you’re not only satisfied with your work, but gratified by it.
4) Trust the process — Some days will be more artistically fruitful than others. Don’t fret the moments when your work is not coming together as you would otherwise hope, instead, use them as opportunities to learn and better refine your craft.
5) Be open-minded — Your work will constantly evolve over the course of its creation. Lean into and embrace the changes your piece undergoes and keep an open-mind about the possibility of where it can go.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
I believe we must each give ourselves the space to grow in our own way and in our own time; to pace ourselves to the rhythm of our own hearts, and; to find gratitude in moments of failure as much as in moments of success. By accepting our unique, respective journeys, free from comparison and self-judgement, we effectively give ourselves the ability to thrive.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
If I could inspire/create one movement, it would likely be called “The Happiness Movement,” a campaign designed to help people cultivate happiness through purpose and gratitude. When we are aligned with our purpose and feel grateful, we can lead lives abundant in love, joy, and meaning.
If I could only be a part of one movement that’s already in motion, it would likely be the climate movement. Without a healthy environment, we will not be able to sustain ourselves. As such, I believe climate change is the greatest threat facing humanity, and as a global community, we must band together to decarbonize our economies and create sustainable and eco-friendly solutions to effectively reduce greenhouse gas emissions and consume more efficiently.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am infinitely grateful for my family. I find it difficult to adequately articulate the depth of my appreciation for all that they are and all that they do. Collectively, they are my lighthouse, my beacon of love, honesty and support, guiding me through the obscurity of growth and life’s rough waters. They help me to believe that no dream is too big, and that my heart’s aspirations are all achievable with hard work, determination and perseverance! I love my parents and sister endlessly and with every fibre of my being!
Similarly, Dr. Tererai Trent is someone whom I am deeply grateful towards. She is the embodiment of all that is possible! Her story, spirit, friendship, mentorship and commitment to uplifting those in her community (and beyond) inspires me endlessly! Dr. Trent continues to show me that the world is ripe with possibilities where “It is achievable — Tinogona!” Tererai is my forever shero!
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote is, “People won’t remember what you said, people won’t remember what you did, but people will always remember how you made them feel” by Maya Angelou. It’s in every little moment and every interaction we have with others that we build and define our respective legacies. I always strive to lead by example and to uplift the spirits of those around me. I want to help people feel happy, valued, loved and special, for emotions are at the foundation of our memories. I think that is what draws me to songwriting and what makes music so powerful — It enables people to experience catharsis and heal in a singularly unifying fashion.
Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂
I would love to have a private breakfast with the one-and-only Stevie Nicks. Nicks, a Rock icon and my musical inspiration, is someone whom I would be honored to learn from such that I can better refine my craft as an artist. I would love to discuss her distinguished career, the stories behind her enduring songs, and the experiences that shaped her unparalleled artistry!
How can our readers follow you online?
Readers can follow me on my social media accounts, which I’ve included here!
Spotify: Annabel Gutherz
For more information, please visit www.annabelgutherz.com
This was very meaningful, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!
Thank YOU so much for having me! I am filled with gratitude!