Two voices — one given, one earned. Singer, songwriter and entertainer Annie Bosko has married the two, recognizing that a powerful and beautiful vocal instrument is, in isolation, incapable of taking her where she has every intention of going.
Born and raised a farmer's daughter and the middle of 5 children, Annie is no stranger to hard work and fighting for her voice to be heard. She's entertained audiences up to 300,000 people, played the Grand Ole Opry, received a standing ovation at Ryman Auditorium and has toured the country opening for acts such as Dierks Bentley, Blake Shelton, Martina McBride, Wynona Judd, Big & Rich, Josh Turner, Pat Benetar and more. She has shared the stage and performed with Adele, Darius Rucker, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and more.
Annie has penned songs for Willie Nelson, Jessica Simpson, Marie Osmond, Ty Herndon, Rita Wilson, Jessica Andrews and more. Her single, "Crooked Halo" was featured as a Highway Find on Sirius XM The Highway and the music video topped the charts on CMT. Rolling Stone magazine praised her as the #2 new country artist to watch, describing her as the "California girl next door with the country-pop delivery of Sheryl Crow."
Her artistry and vision crystallized in her latest EP with songs like "Crooked Halo" and "Fighter." Themes of strength, empowerment, vulnerability and self-determination run throughout. And they're understandable, given her past, as well as her deep-rooted need to create and perform. "I’m much happier onstage than I am off, so it’s completely an addiction in that sense," she says. "Writing songs is the same way. It’s never been a choice – I have to do it. So treat every show like it's your last and give it your all. You never know when Bruce Springsteen’s going to be in the audience. True story."
Annie's gift was apparent at a young age, but, it was not the classic story of the musical family. "My parents didn’t know what to do with me. My dad was a farmer and my mom was busy with 5 kids. It was like, 'What do we do with this artistic freak singing child?' They were scared getting into entertainment too early would mess me up."
Her first taste of the business was singing for a Disney soundtrack at age 14. Her parents declined further Disney development so she could attend school like a normal kid. In her late teens she met producer, David Foster, who brought her on tour to belt out "I Will Always Love You". "I remember discovering that Dolly Parton had written "I Will Always Love You" and feeling the intense hunger in my heart to write songs, not just sing them.
An affinity towards country music and songwriting led Annie to Nashville at age 19. "I remember hearing Patsy Cline's voice for the first time like it was yesterday," she says, noting that Cline was the first singer she ever heard. "I could hear the emotion in what she was singing and knew that's what I wanted to do. I’d read the liner notes on albums I loved by Tim McGraw, Shania Twain, Deana Carter, Trisha Yearwood, Brooks & Dunn etc. They were all in Nashville, so I knew I needed to be there."
Moving cross-country – "I drove here alone and lived with a single mom I didn't know." Annie sang demos, worked at restaurants, cleaned houses and worked her way into writing appointments. After years of practicing guitar, writing songs incessantly and playing her original material wherever she could, publishers and agents started to take notice which led to her first publishing and agency deal. After multiple record deal offers fell through, Annie took matters into her own hands and started independently releasing music. "I've always been fiercely independent and run against the grain," she says. "I realized I needed to get my music out there myself and start cultivating a fan base." The release of her first single, "Crooked Halo", started a domino effect that would forever change her life.
Her ballad "Fighter," might be the song that best expresses her determination. "The idea was to really let this song be a banner that we can all carry in those times when we need it most." The song has been recorded by numerous other artists and Annie has performed it for veterans, cancer patients and inmates; passionate about the healing ministry of music.
Annie has certainly needed that spirit to keep working toward the kind of career she hopes to have. "I look to Sheryl Crow as a great role model and inspiration," she says. "She's one of the most gifted talents ever, but, also paid some serious dues. We were born on the same day and I've always aspired to emulate the kind of artist she is. She'll be making records her entire life. I feel the ultimate success would be to have that kind of longevity."
And then there's Mr. Springsteen, who isn't a bad role model, either. "He was at a show I played in a saloon in the middle of Idaho, of all places," she says. "He stayed for the whole set and was complimentary. He said I really knew how to rock, which was all I needed to hear from The Boss."
"That means a lot because I respect him as one of the greatest writers and entertainers of all time. On a personal note, I relate to him because we both grew up in big Catholic European immigrant families. My grandpa couldn’t afford shoes, barely spoke English and never went to college. But he bought a few acres, built something with his own hands and was able to send my dad to college. Coming from that and watching my dad work six days a week showed me dedication and work ethic. The weather isn't always favorable, but you reap what you sow. These songs are my seedlings and I'll do everything it takes to bring them to harvest."