Up-and-coming artist Michaela Anne is based in New York City, yet her music indisputably draws from Nashville’s classic country heritage.
As a kid, she made fun of her dad’s taste in music, which leans toward classic country’s story songs. But when she was about 10 years old, she discovered the Dixie Chicks, which led her backward through country music history. By high school, she had been led to legends like Patsy Cline, George Jones and Tammy Wynette.
“The ironic thing is that the stories in the songs became my favorite part,” she tells CMT Edge. “I love country music because of the writing but also the soulful voices. I like voices where I can hear every nuance of pain or joy in the timbre of their voices, and country music has some of the most honest, vulnerable, expressive voices. I love that.”
Naturally, living in New York has influenced Michaela Anne’s music, too. That’s particularly true on “Ease My Mind,” the title track of an album she released this spring.
“When I wrote ‘Ease My Mind,’ I think I was having a usual moment of feeling overwhelmed by the fast pace of living in NYC,” she says. “Everyone racing around always trying to ‘achieve’ and ‘accomplish’ things is both very inspiring as well as stress-inducing for me.”
She adds, “The chorus directly reflects the worry that is present in my life — and that I see in many of my friends’ lives — of how will I ever do and be everything I want. And then, on top of that, how will I ever stop worrying? It’s that thing of wanting a free-spirited, open life but then wondering how all of your dreams can come true if you’re just wandering around free but also knowing that stressing out and forcing it probably won’t help much either.”
Across Ease My Mind, she writes about the highs and lows of love with insight that exceeds her years. Her soprano is reminiscent of Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton, and her songwriting shows promise of reaching those heights, too.
Michaela Anne will share her new music this weekend with shows in Esperance, N.Y., on Friday (May 16) and Binghamton, N.Y., on Saturday. In June, she’ll open for Brandy Clark at the Highline Ballroom in New York City.
Hear Michaela Anne’s “Ease My Mind.”