By Dan Kimpel
Anna Margaret | Louisiana heart lines, Hollywood dreams
At an age when many teens might be beginning to investigate their creativity, new SESAC member Anna Margaret is a veteran performer. Yes, she is an ingénue launched from the unstoppable Disney juggernaut, but she is also an ascending songwriter. “I started writing melodies, and then it progressed to lyrics,” she says. “I didn’t really learn how to do it, it just came with age.” For Anna Margaret, age is relative -- she’s now 14.
Raised in the small Louisiana town of Lecompte (population 1,326), it was regular visits to New Orleans with her family that exposed Anna Margaret to the musical gumbo of the Crescent City. “I would hear the jazz players on the street corners,” she recalls. “Louisiana music is amazing.” The trips coincided with Anna Margaret’s acting classes and auditions, when her family would drive to the city on weekends and stay in their RV in a parking lot.
After the devastation in New Orleans in 2005, Anna Margaret continued her acting studies for a brief interim in Dallas, TX, before she and her mother traveled to California. It was a special song that the two of them co-wrote, “Heal Us All,” about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, that was a calling card for the Hollywood Records executives who signed her. First introduced to audiences via the company’s holiday release All Wrapped Up, with a suitably seasonal “Let it Snow,” she was featured with three tracks on the StarStruck soundtrack including the effervescent “Something About the Sunshine.” An accompanying video featured her with the show’s star, Sterling Knight.
She says that her preferred method of collaborating is to write to music. “I can’t sit down and start writing, because I don’t flow like that. I have to have a track as a starting point and I organize my thoughts.” One of the tracks on her new CD, Boys Lie, highlights her perspective. “There were lyrics that weren’t making sense. I sat in a car, meditated, and thought about how I would feel in this situation.”
A fan of many styles of music, Anna Margaret promises that her debut CD will reflect her diverse tastes. “I grew up around jazz, classical pop, I’ve been influenced by about everything.” She also sang in church. “When I sing gospel it comes from a place in my heart, and the songs on my album all come from a place in my heart, too.”
Interspersed among her professional commitments, Anna Margaret volunteers for a sports program for the Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles Community Sports Program. She attends San Fernando Professional School, an educational resource for kids in the entertainment industry. She confides that she has an alter ego. “I’m a nerd,” she says. “I read a lot. I made the highest grade in my English class this year. My favorite teacher helped me find my creativity in writing, from haiku to seven page research essays.” Her favorite subject matter for songs is predictably “…love and boys. It’s probably because I’m 14.”