Name: Adam Bernard Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States About Me: Entertainment journalist with 20 years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, and B-movies. Part time ninja. Kicked cancer’s ass. My memoir, ChemBro, is out now!
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My First Time is a feature exclusive to Adam’s World where artists discuss some of the major artistic firsts from their life.
Anna Rose is one of the most badass women in New York City’s indie music scene. Whether she’s rockin’ out, playing a blues tune, or diving into her singer-songwriter side, she never fails to impress.
Her latest album, The Light Between, was released earlier this month, and fans of the television show This Is Us may already be familiar with one of the songs, as “Nobody Knows I’m Here” was featured on the show during season three.
With The Light Between being fresh in everyone’s ears, Anna sat down with me to discuss some of the major artistic firsts from her life.
One of my first times performing on stage
I remember doing a lot of talent shows when I was a kid, and one of my favorite talent show memories was when I was playing in my band, I think we were called The Rip Tides. My guitar teacher had put it together. It was his daughter, and me, and a few other kids, and we played the song “Cocaine,” Eric Clapton. I was probably 11 or 12.
I remember we started doing it, and we got to the first chorus, and I hear from the wings – again, this is at my middle school – I hear from my guitar teacher, my friend’s dad, “Say Rogaine! Rogaine! Just say Rogaine!” So we replaced the word “cocaine” with “Rogaine” for the rest of the song. Obviously some teacher had run up to the side of the stage like, “What the fuck!”
I was dancing as a little girl, too. I started dancing as soon as I could walk. Some of my earliest memories, they’re fuzzy now, but I remember being on stage, very distinctly. It wasn’t so much “how did I do,” because that didn’t really matter. That’s the thing I try to hone in on now – it doesn’t really matter. Yes, the connection with the audience matters, but I find that when I feel joyful on stage I’m connecting with people, and that’s what matters.
My first time buying an album
I remember, distinctly, buying No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, and being so excited to open it, but I refused to unwrap it until I got home. I was given the option to listen to it in the car with everyone else, but I said no, I don’t want to do that, I want to listen to it in my room, by myself, because I had a CD player in my room.
I remember the unwrapping of the plastic. I remember that moment. I remember looking at the booklet.
That was a pinnacle moment in my life, opening that record.
My (little) sister kept trying to come in to listen to it with me. Bless her, she wanted to spend time with me, and I just wanted to listen to this record by myself. I was that way a lot with records that I loved, I didn’t want to listen to them with anyone else, I needed to listen to them for the first time by myself. It was a rule that I had when I was a kid.
I went to a boarding school when I was in high school, and I had friends who wanted to listen to albums with me, but if I hadn’t heard a record I had to listen to it by myself. I had to be alone, by myself, to listen to an album for the first time, if it was an artist that I deeply cared about.
My first time attending a concert
Honestly, I cannot remember what year this was. I remember it being told to me when I was going to this concert that this is my first concert. I think that maybe this was my first huge concert. I think it was Elton John, which is fucking awesome if that’s actually true.
I think both of my parents took me and my sister. I think we were sitting in nose bleeds, and I think it was Madison Square Garden.
I don’t have (anything from the show), but I do have a lot of my dad’s old concert tees. My dad’s old Rolling Stones baseball tee from the ‘70s … I only wear it on very very special occasions, and I rarely wear it out of the house.
I have an insane collection of vintage t-shirts.
My first time writing an original song
I know I was around five. The first person I obviously played it for was my dad. I think he just overheard me doing it.
I started to take piano lessons when I was two, and around five was when I switched over to guitar. I think I was sort of always taking whatever I learned on my instrument and turning it into my own, whether it was some derivation of what I was learning, or not.
I don’t remember the lyrics. I think if I went through my old papers in my room … I still, to this day, will find old lyrics from when I was really really really young. I must have kept them in a folder, or something, but I did write them down.
My first consistent open mic night
I did open mic nights when I was in high school, and I did a lot of open mic nights in college.
I remember I played this club on Sunset (Boulevard) called the Cat Club (which was sold in 2011). I think it was next to the Whiskey. I used to play there … I think it was once a week. When schoolwork got busy it would be once a month, but I tried to do it once a week.
I remember this guy Ian used to book me there. It was a club that was way more known as a bar for … motorcycle enthusiasts, if you will. At the time I was writing a lot of singer-songwriter, mellow tunes, and they were not super well received.
I played this open mic night over and over and over again, and I remember the moment when I felt like maybe I had honed some performance skills was when they stopped shouting over me and telling me to get off the stage.
Those guys did not care. They would certainly throw things. They were not excited (to hear me).
That was over a year of challenging myself to just get back on stage … not to be intimidated, and to just get back on stage.
I think that if there was one thing I’d tell anyone coming up – because it’s so easy now to record a song on GarageBand, or even if you learn Logic, or even if you learn Pro Tools, and you start getting into recording music at home – there’s really nothing like honing your skills at an open mic night, because there are certain things I learned in those scenarios that you can’t learn sitting in your room.