My Town My Music’s Local Artist Spotlight
We are thrilled to dip our toes into the country music side by getting to know Local Artist Debbie Anthony. A self-described soulful country artist, she recently released her newest single, “Lucky in Love” in the U.S. You can listen below!
Anthony grew up in Rochester and graduated from Mayo High School. She went on to earn her music degree and was then accepted into a psychology masters program. However, her life/career path was forever altered when she met Mitch, the man who would become her husband. They went on a blind date, hit it off, and wed in just thirteen days. They’ve been married for 28 years and have worked together since the beginning. He is her biggest fan and cheerleader, and it is this tight-knit, supportive relationship that has driven her musical journey.
Though their kids were always top priority, performing at church, karaoke, and music contests kept Anthony’s foot in the door. Realizing that original music was the key to getting noticed, her husband took a chance. A milestone wedding anniversary was upcoming, and he gave her the gift of music in the form of “Faithful”, a song that he’d written himself. She performed it at their anniversary party, and that was song that started it all.
When did you realize your passion for performing live?
Through the years I always loved performing, but I was never confident on stage—my husband said I was afraid of my own shadow! But I do know the moment it changed…as soon as I stepped on stage with my original music!
You have a talented group of musicians behind you. How was the Level Best formed?
I first performed with the Annie Mack Band at my anniversary party, and so that is how I connected with many of my band members. Guitarist (and co-writer and producer of my CD), Tim Hildebrandt, became the band director, and connected me with the other musicians.
What has been your favorite performing experience?
I was honored to perform in Nashville for a group from the UK who had requested me to do a special showcase. Tim Hildebrandt accompanied me and sang backup vocals. That was an absolutely high point in my music journey!
But, I have to say that my heart is the fullest when I’m performing for events that mean something, such as great causes like the Ronald McDonald House! Nothing makes me happier than that!
If you could meet one musician, who would it be?
I would love to meet Martina McBride. She is one of those country artists with not only a powerful voice, but a powerful message.
What does live performance mean to you? Why is it important to our community?
Live performance means connection. When you have a connection, you can get to their hearts and their lives. Music brings people together, which in turn strengthens communities.
Do you have any projects in the works?
I’ll be promoting my single to country radio through radio interviews, etc. There is also interest in a possible UK tour! I also look forward to working on new music (SSM Nashville is shopping some new songs, and more collaboration with my husband and producer)! With the completion of my summer gigs, I’ll be booking for the upcoming year.
What do you see as strengths of the Rochester music scene?
The opportunities are growing here. I liked the attention that local musicians are getting here through various written and online publications (such as My Town My Music).
What aspects of the local scene do you feel could use improvement/more attention?
More listening rooms.
What is the best concert you’ve seen in Rochester?
What is the story behind “Lucky in Love”? How does it feel to have it released in the US as your debut single?
We recorded my first song “Faithful” at a studio here in Rochester owned by Tim Hildebrandt, former long-time owner of a studio in Nashville. He then collaborated with my husband on the next five songs, and produced my CD. “Lucky in Love” was their first collaboration. Since we were married in just 13 days, my husband likes to refer to our courtship and marriage as “Lucky 13”, which was the foundation for the song. He also likes my sass and wanted to add that playful side to the song. My “gateway” artist into country music was Shania Twain, and so we were shooting for a Shania Twain-inspired sound.
This summer I started working with SSM Nashville, an independent record label on Nashville’s Music Row. They quickly chose “Lucky in Love” as the song to release. It was first released to the UK, where it reached #17 on the Hotdisc country charts. It was then released to US country radio on September 26th. I’m excited to say that “Lucky in Love” debuted at #56 on the New Music Weekly country chart—an incredible start for a debut single!
Much of your music seems to exude positivity. Is that a conscious decision, or do things just happen that way? Is there a message you want to convey with your music?
Because most of the songs have been written for me by the one who knows me best, the songs are truly and deliberately my message. My message is about faith, family, long-lasting love and faithfulness, strength in hard times, gratitude for life and all it throws at you…and having fun along the way. Most of the music today is written and marketed to youth, and I think “Hmmm…I think there are a lot of us that have lived a little longer and experienced a lot more than what is being written in most of country music today.” I’m bringing a relevant message to them.