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A Dirty (Bakers) Dozen with ANNE AUTUMN ERICKSON from UPON WINGS – May 2020


According to a recent press release: “Few songs carry the messages of hope, love and resilience as much as the classic hymn “Amazing Grace.” UPON WINGS has released a special version of “Amazing Grace” with music by SEETHER guitarist Corey Lowery. The song and music video were recorded and filmed while under quarantine. Frontwoman Anne Autumn Erickson says she was inspired to record “Amazing Grace” after noticing how the song was lifting the spirits of those impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.” We get our friend Anne to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Thank you for this interview, Todd! We just released a music video for “Amazing Grace,” which was inspired by everything going on with the Coronavirus situation. The video features different quotes from musicians and personalities, and I think if you watch the video a few times, you might notice a quote you didn’t see before– or maybe one of the random band T-shirts I’m wearing or band posters in the background!

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to be a musician, instead, music was always a part of my life. My first memories of singing were at four years old. I fell in love with music at an early age and studied classical music and all the great blockbuster musicals, and then when I heard rock and metal music for the first time, I was blown away. I remember thinking, “What is THIS?” I loved it, so eventually, I just started making my own music.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

Oh, yes! Because I grew up singing classical and opera, I didn’t think I could be in a metal or rock band, but when I saw Bruce Dickinson and Iron Maiden, my jaw dropped. Here was this operatic vocalist fronting a heavy metal band. Same thing goes for Rob Halford and Judas Priest. That really convinced me to get creative and use my classical voice in rock and metal music.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

Wow, that’s a great question. You could ask me the same question next week, and I would probably have five different influences! I would say Colm Wilkinson was my first big influence, and later, voices such as Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle, Davey Havok and AFI, Rob Halford and also the whole symphonic metal world. So many women in rock and metal I also look up to, like Lzzy Hale, Amy Lee, Maria Brink and more.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

Oooooh. I’d have to say Rob Halford. Please, Rob!

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I would say we’re a rock and metal band with operatic-leaning vocals. As for a comparison that I don’t agree with, that’s tough. We’ve gotten compared to some great bands, and pretty much all of those comparisons I find complimentary. Most of the comparisons make sense. So far, nobody has compared us to anything totally outside of what we do!

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

Fun question! We all live in different areas, so it’s not quite like that with Upon Wings, but I’ve actually been wanting to get an acoustic guitar. I play bass, but I would love to be able to pull out an acoustic and do some of the live streamed performances I’ve been seeing while bands are on lockdown. Plus, some of Upon Wings music, such as the holiday songs we’ve released or a gothic song like “The Dream,” lend well to acoustic guitar.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

One time I was really starstuck that stands out is when I met Dan Donegan of Disturbed at a Rock on the Range event. He has a very noble, grand presence. I felt like I was with a king! I was super nervous and will never forget that experience.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

The best part of being a musician is making people feel something. Some of Upon Wings’ past songs have been about losing a loved one, and people have told me that it helped them through their experiences with loss, and that means so much to me. Also, to be able to write about something that I’ve gone through, put it out there, nerves and all, and to have people connect with it is a wonderful feeling.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I’m not really tired of answering any questions, but when it comes to questions I would love for an interviewer to ask..maybe something random, like if Upon Wings could play any festival, what would it be? My answer would be Louder than Life or if they brought back Mayhem Festival, I would love to be on that.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I try not to have regrets, so I can’t say that I wish for a do over on anything Upon Wings has done in the past. I think the one thing is that we’ve waited a while to release new music. Life happens, but again, I don’t really regret that, because that was part of our journey. I’m so happy to be back with a new video and new EP, which will be out later this year. We’re releasing music from the EP incrementally throughout the year, so “Amazing Grace” will be on the EP. The first rock single from the EP is coming soon.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Probably either AFI’s Sing the Sorrow record or A Perfect Circle’s Thirteenth StepSing the Sorrow has an incredible gothic texture that really inspired me while writing Upon Wings’ early music. It’s a beautiful album and I just love it. Thirteenth Step has such passion and angst, and it’s tucked into these really catchy, melodic hard rock songs. I love that one, too.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I miss being able to hug my loved ones. I miss being able to go to a restaurant and sit with friends and just enjoy a meal. I miss live music, of course. There’s so much I miss. But, the most important thing is for everyone to stay safe, and I’m praying for that. I’m certainly taking this seriously and taking the proper safety precautions, too. We’re all in this together.





Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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