Annie Mack on opening for Lissie: 'I love that this is going down right in my own backyard'
It will be a powerful night at Mayo Park this Sunday as Rochester soul singer Annie Mack and Iowan indie-pop artist Lissie take the stage for the third installment of this summer’s Think Bank Down By the Riverside free outdoor concert series. The combination of the two artists, while not a perfect match at first glance, becomes more apparent as their music plays. Both women have serious vocal chops and a Midwest charm that can captivates any crowd. We sat down with Mack, a Rochester mainstay who’s performed at blues festivals across the country as well as been featured on The Current in Minneapolis, to talk about the pairing with Lissie (an accomplished artist in her own right; her last four albums have charted in the UK, with her latest record, Castles, hitting No. 9), her writing process, and the future of Rochester’s music.
Q: Out of all the shows you've played and places you've been, what makes this show special?
A: I am really excited to be a part of something that celebrates and supports the independent artist. Rochester has done really well in having this concert series and bringing diverse styles in. There is a method to the madness when deciding who will support the headliner — and you MUST be from this area, which is really cool. I really dig that I was considered a good fit for Lissie. It’s no secret I love all kinds of music, and Lissie is a force. I love that this is going down right in my own backyard.
Q: What are you most looking forward to about playing a show with Lissie?
A: I'm just really honored to have this opportunity and the support. It feels good to know that I may be the icing on the cake for many — like, 'Awesome, we get to see Lissie, AND Annie Mack is on the show too!' I am a constant student. I try to learn as much as I can. I appreciate singer-songwriters who create original music. I can’t wait to hear Lissie's set. I know she is gonna be killer.
Q: What calls you to make music?
A: I'm inspired by life. The beautiful aspects are a no brainer. As of late, I’m embracing going down to where the darkness is. It’s important to tell your story truthfully and sometimes unfiltered. The music I have been working on is fairly heavy but still hopeful. I'm obsessed with showing the different dimensions of human nature.
Q: What about your writing process?
A: My process? Oh goodness. I write in the midst of living — giving the kids a bath, laundry, grocery shopping, waiting to pick my daughter up from school — honestly, it has to wait. I have so many other priorities and things I must take care of. I crave going away to a cabin, just writing and really indulging in the creative process. Sometimes I do get to set down at the table or computer and just write. I write in bits and pieces and put them together like a puzzle.
Q: How can Rochester better support artists & musicians as the town grows and develops a concrete music scene of its own?
A: Rochester has come a real long way, and I have seen the difference in support over the years. I would say just continue to be consistent and open your mind to check out folks or genres you normally would not — and pay a cover, for goodness sake!
Q: What do you see the future holding for Rochester's musicians?
A: I see a great future, and as with any type of growth, it will be uncomfortable and a lot of trial and error. There’s lots of organic happenings and folks who are stepping up to provide a need for great entertainment, whether that’s on the venue side or performance side. I see lots of cool stuff in the works.
What: Lissie with opener Annie Mack
When: Sunday, July 22 at 7 p.m.
Where: Mayo Park (behind the Mayo Civic Center)
Isaac Jahns is a 2015 graduate of Mayo High School and a current journalism student at the University of Missouri. His main passions are writing music and telling people’s stories. Follow Isaac on Twitter.
Story produced with support from Riverside Concerts