Just ask Arkansas native Anna Brinker what she brings to the table. She will quickly tell you it is her heart and her soul. Inspired by country icons like Kitty Wells and Johnny Cash, Anna is helping to usher traditional country back into the mainstream. The multi year Arkansas Country Music Award Nominee attributes her success to a loving community fronted by her father. With a natural talent for songwriting and a voice as smokey as an Arkansas bar, Anna Brinker will find her way into your heart and stay there. At the end of the day, she is a small town girl, with big dreams.
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Who is on your Mt. Rushmore of country music?
I would definitely say Kitty Wells and Johnny Cash. Oh gosh, this is really hard, I have so many! Merle Haggard. To close it out, I gotta put Miranda on there.
I know you love to have a hand in the songs that you sing. What kind of headspace do you have walking into a write?
I work during the week, you know, selling insurance Monday to Friday. It's gonna sound kind of crazy, but there’ll be times where I just have a notebook and I am jotting it down. On my lunch break, I have to memo like voice recordings in my phone. I need to remember this because if I don't, I'm going to lose all of it.
When I write with other folks, I go in with a super open mind. I enjoy flowing off of them. I love my own ideas. But most of the time it is the other folks ideas. I love when it's so different from how I write it, just sparks something else in me. I actually just wrote a song with my friend JC Hubbard. It's not anything I would normally write myself because again, I'm a little more on the traditional side. But it's so good, he's so talented. I have an open mind, just ready to roll, like and create it!
Why do you feel like it's important for women to be in the writers room and for women to be heard in country music?
I think it's really important because sometimes we can bring out the heart and soul in a different way than what a man could. A little more soft side, and sometimes a little more tough side. I think that's the
Who were some of your biggest supporters and how do they continue to inspire you with your music right now?
I have to say my daddy first at all. My husband of course as well. Can’t forget Mama. Anytime I sing “Country Rose” at a show, she's got tears in her eyes. Sometimes I can barely get through it, and sometimes it's just really pulls at my heart. The love there and the support of my husband is a blessing. For the longest time he's been like my road guy,. He’ll set everything up and take everything down. He lets me to talk to people after shows and he handles like the backstage sort of stuff.
I've got such great friends, especially my friends, Joey and Cassie Evans. Like they are avid supporters. It just makes my life a little emotional sometimes. Joe is actually my guitar player. That's a super cool thing that came out of a friendship. Even in town, I'll see people. They stop me and tell me they have listened to my song. Hey, I listened to your song. If they only knew how much that meant to me. I have no words for it sometimes.
When was the moment you knew playing and singing country music was more than just a hobby?
I knew from a really early age that I just loved music in general. I grew up singing in church and sang with my mom a lot. Sometimes I sat there listening to her and daddy in the living room. My Mom sang lullabies all the time, even as a toddler. I remember those moments too. It was the one steady thing I had was music. It carried me through the years.
When I got probably 10 or 11, I listened to Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC and Brittany Spears, the good stuff. My friends and I would take our boombox, to the park and we'd have little sing offs. They're always like Anna wins. I don't know if they're just being nice, but I remember how that felt. Like maybe this is something I want to like do. Then I got the Dixie chicks albums, and I wore them out and.
As I got older, I sang in church more. It really started clicking, something works here for me and makes me really happy. something just like, makes me really happy about this.
What do you think the hardest part about being an indie artist is and what are you doing to break those boundaries and to really propel yourself forward?
Honestly some of the hardest thing, especially with a full-time job is that sometimes I can't take gigs that would maybe get me further out of where I normally play. I love where I normally play, but you've got to branch out to grow to grow your brand and to grow your sound. You can share a Facebook post all day long, and it's amazing how far that can get. But until people come and see you live, they can’t fully get the grasp of your sound and who you are.
I'm trying to branch out and go more places. I actually have my first Nashville gig this summer. I am tickled pink about that. I could not be more excited. We're going to get to go for a few days. I am trying to push myself out there and put out more singles and acoustics. I did my song “Tumbleweed” trying to push myself out there more.
What do you love about your own music and your own sound? What are you excited to bring to the country music scene?
What I love about my sound is that it comes from my Daddy. He's who taught me. He is my biggest influence. I also know I can connect to songs pretty well. I can break them down and touch people's hearts. I'm just saying this because people have told me this. I can kind of connect on a deeper level.
For example, whenever you have a full band song, it's amazing. But when you break it down to just the voice, the guitar and the music, you can really get lost in it. I'm not sure if that's the thing that I do best or that's just the thing I love the most about it.
What has your proudest moment as an artist?
This is my proudest moment, bar none. The song “The Possum” was inspired by my dad. I know I keep mentioning him a lot, but he really is so important in all of this. He wrote in one of his many notebooks. When I say many, I mean storage tubs full of them. In one of these notebooks I found, he had “The Possum” written down minus one verse. My husband and I went to their house one day and my Dad said “Hey, check this out” all nonchalantly, “What do you think about this?” I looked at my husband and we agreed we needed to record this ASAP.
We got to record the music video at the George Jones museum in Nashville. They museum has a live music stage downstairs. We get done going through doing our tour with our videographer. I got to sing "The Possum” in front of my dad in the George Jones museum. I could barely compose myself. It was the best moment I could ever imagined.
What are you most excited about for your new music?
I really am so pumped for people the real story, the behind the scenes, the scratch type, if you will. All of these songs that when I write them, I'm in these moments. I am creating the most raw version and I'm sharing those most vulnerable times with people. I am so excited for people to hear my heart and to hear who I am. I'm so excited to release more.