About Michaela Anne
Boasting a clear voice that can be wistful or defiant at will and a melodic sense that harks back to the '60s and '70s, Michaela Anne is a singer/songwriter who became an artist to watch in independent country circles in the 2010s. The singer, who initially studied to be a jazz artist, performed in a warm, acoustic style that reflected her love of bluegrass on her 2011 debut album, To Know Where. By the time she cut 2016's Bright Lights and Fame, she had adopted a fuller, richer sound that recalled '60s country and '70s country-rock, while 2019's Desert Dove maintained her lyrical voice as the music took on more atmospheric and cinematic colors.
Born in 1986, Michaela Anne (born Michaela Anne Neller) was born into a military family, and had a nomadic childhood, as her father's career took them to Washington, Michigan, California, Virginia, and Italy. With her surroundings changing so often, music became one of the few constants in Michaela's life and helped her make friends, as well as sating her natural curiosity. She wrote her first song when she was seven years old, a health-minded rap titled "Hey Don't Smoke." Michaela's tastes became more sophisticated with time, and at the age of 18, she settled in New York City, where she studied jazz at the New School in Manhattan and found a place to live in Brooklyn. Michaela landed a job with Nonesuch Records while still attending the New School, where she learned about the inner workings of the music industry while helping market several of their acts.
Though she had devoted herself to jazz, Michaela had been a country music fan in her teens, and through musician Michael Daves, she was introduced to the bluegrass community in the Big Apple, and her music began shifting in a new direction. Inspired by traditionalist country as well as the country-rock of the '70s (in particular Linda Ronstadt's early work), in 2011 Michaela self-released her first album, an acoustic-oriented effort called To Know Where. Her second album, 2014's Ease My Mind, leaned toward country rather than bluegrass, and earned enthusiastic reviews, with the Village Voice naming it one of the best country albums of the year. The album generated enough buzz to attract the attention of the independent Kingswood Records label, who brought out 2016's Bright Lights and the Fame, which featured a more polished and full-bodied production than her first two LPs, as well as a vocal cameo from Rodney Crowell on the song "Luisa." Bright Lights and the Fame received more positive press, but Kingswood was experiencing serious business problems that soon left the album in commercial limbo. The experience frustrated Michaela, and she considered dropping out of music, but decided to take another shot, heading to California and maxing out her credit cards to pay for the recording of her fourth album. Produced by Sam Outlaw and Kelly Winrich, the music was atmospheric and evocative in a way her earlier work was not, and the established roots music label Yep Roc added Michaela to their roster. Her fourth album, Desert Dove, came out in September 2019. ~ Mark Deming