Anna Troy
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By George Varga
UNION-TRIBUNE POP MUSIC CRITIC
February 10, 2008

"Playing blues is an amazing feeling because it's such a spiritual art form," says Anna Troy, 23.

Attending Boston's Berklee College of Music has proven inspirational to musicians as varied as John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge and "Tonight Show" bandleader Kevin Eubanks. But it only took a two-day visit to Berklee last fall for San Diego's Anna Troy to gain new inspiration for her craft.

"I was so happy to meet really talented musicians my own age, who were all great songwriters doing original material," she said.

"It took me out of my comfort zone and made me realize there's something else out there. Berklee is such a rich creative environment, unlike anything I'd ever experienced. It sort of changed my life, because it allowed me to open up creatively in a way I haven't."

A Hillcrest resident, Troy is now at work on a new album, "Catch the Rain," with the one-woman, three-man band that bears her name. It will follow 2006's blues-drenched "Ain't No Man," her promising solo debut. Only 23, she is blessed with an unusually powerful and expressive voice that, among young San Diego singers, is rivaled only by Grand Ole Party's Kristin Gundred, also 23.

Troy is also a gifted songwriter who has earned praise from seasoned musicians more than twice her age.

"She's like this tsunami of talent," said former Steve Miller Band guitarist Greg Douglass, who is now writing songs with Troy and has worked with Van Morrison, Bo Diddley, Paul Butterfield and the Greg Kihn Band.

"I heard Anna's first CD and couldn't believe she was just 21 when she made it. I'm 58 and have been in the music business for over 40 years, so it's refreshing to be around someone with her enthusiasm and energy. I've had two or three top-quality songwriting partners over the past 30 years and Anna's definitely one of them."

Troy teaches guitar four days a week at Mission Valley's Blue Guitar, where her nearly 30 students range in age "from 6 to 60." She also works as a volunteer at Alphabiotics Center of San Diego, which she credits with helping her overcome the carpal tunnel problems brought on by her constant guitar playing.

A piano student from the age of 4 to 12, Troy did not develop her passion for music until she was in the sixth grade. It was then that her father, Sandy Troy, an attorney and author of an acclaimed 1995 biography of the Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia, gave her a guitar and taught her a few chords.

Within five years she and her sister, Lindsey, who is two years younger, were signed by Elektra Records and pop stardom beckoned. What followed was both exhilarating and nightmarish.

Elektra spared no expense grooming the duo, who were billed as The Troy Sisters and were signed after recording an impressive demo recording under the guidance of veteran San Diego singer-songwriter Cindy Lee Berryhill. But the label quickly sought to reinvent the sisters as a two-in-one version of Avril Lavigne, whose career was then igniting.

The resulting album, while accomplished, was a slick music-biz product that only hinted at the heartfelt essence of the siblings' music in its original form. Before it could be released, Elektra imploded in 2003 and The Troy Sisters were history. Anna Troy couldn't have been happier.

"Getting dropped by Elektra was actually empowering," she said. "My hero at the time was Ani DiFranco, and she still is, so I wanted to be an independent artist. Elektra was pretty controlling about who we worked with and the style of our songs. They had people pick our clothes out and paid for us to go to certain salons. So, it was really liberating when we got dropped."

Troy credits four noted local musicians – fellow Blue Guitar teacher Robin Henkel, David Beldock, Nathan James and, in particular, Bart Mendoza (now a member of her band) – as her biggest mentors.
"Robin really got me into the blues and my first album is nearly all blues," said Troy, whose robust singing voice makes her sound experienced beyond her years. "But I had really bad writer's block in 2007. And, after visiting Berklee, I realized I can't force myself to just write blues. Now, I'm listening to all styles of music so that I can get more influences and see what happens.

"Elektra tried to make my sister and me into Avril Lavigne clones. I'm a lot more grounded now, as far as what I want to do and the music I want to play. I won't be a puppet."

# # # - San Diego Union-Tribune


SD Troubadour, January 2009
Written by Josh Damigo

The Anna Troy Band is easily one of the hardest working bands in San Diego. Their latest CD Wait Another Day completely captures the "indie-rock-with-a-pinch-of-blues" style that makes their shows worth going to night after night. After seeing the band perform at least half a dozen times, I have still never found myself disappointed in their skills. After hearing their new CD, it is easy to say that if you’re a fan of Anna Troy live, you’ll be a fan of this recording. The listener can expect a solid performance of original rock without any of the normal San Diego pop fluff.

The main, interweaving theme of the CD seems to be sort of a "step up and be a man" message that is laced with an annoyance in herself for actually falling in love with this guy in the first place. Using strong and almost overly harsh vocals and lyrics, Troy is able to fiercely throw one strong song after another, which will leave you numb to your ordinary, run-of-the-mill songwriter. This CD is a great way to send subliminal messages to your boyfriend that you’ve just about had enough, and if he doesn’t shape up, he’ll need to find a new girl to listen to his ridiculously weak attributes.

Troy’s sound is very diverse and hard to define. In some songs she sounds similar to taking British singer Duffy and injecting her with some heavy funk and blues, while in others, it’s more like a deeper, bluesier version of Anya Marina. In Troy’s song "Out of Luck," the band captures her audience with a great guitar riff and beat that can get even the harshest critic’s toes tapping, and it’s this same style of writing that echoes through the speakers in each song. While she claims her influences are strictly her mentors (Bart Mendoza, Robin Henkel, Greg Douglass, and Dan Papaila, to name a few), many people would probably liken her sounds to a harder blues/ rock version of Ani Difranco.

Troy’s strongest songs on the album are "Out of Luck," "Childhood Friend," and "The Way You Dream." And while all the songs have great potential, truly capturing her style or trying to put her into a category is nearly impossible.

She is very much embraced in the San Diego community and makes sure to spread the love back to her good friends. Reading her "Thank You" on her CD cover is like reading a "Who’s Who" section from the San Diego Music scene.

All in all, Wait Another Day will be seen as another clever and strong showing for Troy’s career. Anyone who purchases this CD will more than likely crave another dose of her musical genius in the near future. - Troubadour (San Diego)


By JIM TRAGESER - Staff Writer- North County Times- Wed, Nov. 6, 2008

The typical reaction many budding musicians get from their parents when they announce, usually in their teens, that they want to be musicians as an adult pursuit, ranges from outright panic to gentle bemusement.

Anna Troy's parents are not typical.

When she and her younger sister, Lindsey, decided in their early teens that they were going to play music for a living, it was more parental wish fulfillment than youthful defiance.

"My dad is a humongous Deadhead," Anna Troy said by phone from her San Diego home. "He's been to over 300 Dead shows. Somewhere in the back of his mind he always wanted his kids to be rock stars. My sister and I both started taking piano at 4; we took lessons for eight years. I started guitar at 12."

And so when they started their first band a short time after Anna picked up a guitar, "It was really natural for us.

"We started our band when I was like 13 or 14, and she was 12 or so. At the time, our dad was playing guitar with us and it was the three of us."

Within six months, however, Anna and Lindsey were a duo. And within two years of that, they had a record deal with Elektra, the same label that had once signed the Doors.

Performing in 2002 as the Troys, Anna and Lindsey were primed to become the Next Big Thing.

"We recorded an album, filmed a video, did promos with radio stations around the country. Then, right before the album was supposed to come out, things got really funky. Our project got dropped."

The album was never released, and Anna and Lindsey eventually got out of their Elektra contract.

The past five years have seen both Troy sisters become active members of San Diego's acoustic and rock music scenes. In 2006, both sisters released albums ---- and Anna has her second solo album ("Wait Another Day") coming out next week.

While looking forward to a series of upcoming regional tours and trying to get her new independently released album perhaps picked up by a larger indie label, Troy (who teaches guitar full time to support her music performance career) does allow that the Elektra experience taught her and her sister a lot about the business side of music.

For starters, the master copies of their 2002 album are still sitting in a warehouse somewhere in Los Angeles. But Troy said neither she nor Lindsey particularly mourns that album.

"They were trying to make us into Avril Lavigne clones, and I honestly don't think I'd have any use for those songs now ---- and my sister is the same way."

While her solo debut, 2006's "Ain't No Man," was intentionally a blues album ("I was heavily into blues for two or three years"), Troy said she was ready to move in a new direction with the new one.

"After my last record, I got to a point where I had writer's block and I wasn't inspired to write any more blues songs."

After a few months, Troy said she wanted to start writing whatever came to her.

"I started writing new songs, and they were turning out more in a pop vein, more like what I was doing as a teenager, which I thought was interesting. Then I met Greg Douglass ---- once I met him, the album took on a life of its own.

"He and I started co-writing, and he's the best songwriter I ever worked with outside of my sister. He influenced me to not be afraid to write stuff that's catchy. We co-wrote five songs on this new record, and it took what I planned on making ---- which was an indie rock album ---- took that into more of a classic rock vein, which I thought was really cool."

After Nov. 12's headlining show at the Belly Up Tavern, Troy said she wants to start back on building a national audience ---- but on her own terms, not those of the suits at a major label.

"My goal would be to get on a decent-sized indie label and start touring. Touring is something I haven't done yet. I've had a great time playing in San Diego, but I feel like it's time for me to get out of San Diego and get other people familiar with my music." - North County Times


Discography

Anna Troy Discography
Complete Albums / EP’s
1) Aint Too Young (CD/US) 6 songs
2) Dollhouse (CD/US) 6 songs
3) Is This Fate (CD/US) 5 songs
4) Ain’t No Man (Blindspot/CD/US) 2006
5) Wait Another Day (Blindspot/CD/US) 2008

Compilations
1) Aspasia Aid (VACD/US) contains “Never See You Again”
2) Listen Local Cookbook (VACD+Book/US) “Aint No Man” 11/06
3) Staring At The Sun V (Blindspot/VACD/US) “Aint No Man” 01/07
4) San Diego Indie Music Fest (VACD/US) 03/07 “Aint No Man” 03/07
5) San Diego Music Awards 2007 (VACD/US) 09/07 “Fool For Tryin (edit)”
6) Hard Rock Hotel Special Edition, San Diego Music Awards 2007 (VACD/US) 11/07 “Fool For Tryin (edit)”

Videos
1) Ain’t No Man (2007)

Guest Appearances
1) Billy Watson – Numero Cinco ( /CD/US) Anna wrote and sings lead on “Daddy Come Home”
Awards
Aint No Man was nominated for “Best Blues Album” in the 2007 San Diego Music Awards.

The Troys
The Troy sisters worked with Cindy Lee Berryhill on a set of still unreleased demos prior to their Elektra album sessions.
Albums / EP’s
1) The Troys – Massaging Your Ego (Elektra 2A62844/CD/US) 13 songs

Singles
1) The Troys – Sorry Song / What Do You Do (Elektra 6744423/CD5/US) July 22 2003
2) The Troys – Sorry Song /What Do You Do/Album Snippets: Kiss My Sister/Dream on You/Superhuman (Elektra 1866/CD5/US) promo only

Videos
1) The Troys – What Do You Do (Elektra ) promo only clip 2003

Compilations
1) The Troys – Powerpuff Girls (Kid Rhino/VACD/ US) contains “What Do You Do”
2) The Troys – Mainstream Radio April 03 2003 (Promo Only/VACD/US) promo only contains “What Do You Do”
3) The Troys – WSM-WMG Sampler June 2003 (VACD/US) promo only contains “Sorry Song”
4) The Troys – Panorama’s Top Hits Monthly Pop July 2003 (Panorama 0307/VCD-DVD/US) promo only karaoke/video compilation contains “What Do You Do”

Awards
1) Producers The Matrix were nominated for a 2003 Grammy in part for their work with the Troys.

Other
The Troys appeared on Nickelodeon and TRL (05/08/03), as well as the 2003 San Diego Music Awards.

“What Do You Do” was used in the Fox-TV show “Date My Mom” (2005)

The Troys were featured in Teen Vogue, Tiger Beat and many other publications

The Troys were part of the 2003 Teen People “Rock ‘n’ Shop Tour”

Photos

Bio

BLUES GUITARIST AND SONGWRITER ANNA TROY

2007 SDMA Nominee for “Best Blues Album” for solo debut album, "Ain’t No Man"
2008 SDMA Nominee for "Best Pop Artist"

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A constant blur of activity; for Anna Troy, any time spent making music is better than any time not. It’s a drive that has seen her play up to three gigs a day, while fitting her day job of teaching guitar lessons at Blue Guitar in Mission Valley (and now Old Time Music in North Park) in between.

Her sound is difficult to pigeonhole. Using blues as a foundation, her music can take excursions into rock, pop and soul. “I definitely consider myself a blues artist, but I don’t limit myself to one genre,” she said. “I just play whatever style of music seems to be working for me and inspiring me at the moment. I want my music to be soulful, with songs that people will remember because of a catchy phrase and melody or intriguing lyrical content. And I believe the blues is an excellent for this, with its powerful rhythms and melodies.”

Since the release of her debut solo album, "Ain’t No Man" (2006), she has kept increasingly busy. Having assembled a crack backing band, her live schedule has seen her perform at major venues including The House of Blues, The Starlight Bowl, The Belly Up Tavern, The California Center for the Performing Arts and The Casbah. Meanwhile the album itself was nominated for “Best Blues Album” in the 2007 San Diego Music Awards. Add in over a dozen press appearances and the same in TV & Radio appearances to her credit and it’s clear that Troy has made an impression. There aren’t many artists whose stylistic range can have them perform on both country radio station KSON as well as indie rock station FM94.9.

Still in her early twenties, Troy has spent a lifetime immersed in music. It’s evident in her confidence and her brash, playful stage presence. A native San Diegan, she’s become known for her stand-out guitar work but actually started out as a pianist. “I do remember being four and sitting at our 100 year old upright grand piano that we had and tinkling away at the keys. And that is when my mom thought ‘We need to give her piano lessons.’” Troy played for eight years, and has rarely touched a keyboard since, although she did take away one valuable lesson from the experience. “We had recitals a few times a year, so I got used to being on stage at a very early age,” she mused.

At the age of twelve, she switched to guitar. “I never really had a passion for the piano. It wasn’t until I picked up a guitar around the age of twelve that everything instantly started to click,” said Troy. She soon began to perform alongside her sister, Lindsey, occasionally joining Joy Eden Harrison or Lisa Sanders for a song at their shows. The pair became perennials at open-mic nights at Mikey’s Coffeehouse in Poway and Java Joe’s Ocean Beach location.

Interestingly, like most budding performers, their sets at the time consisted largely of covers. Perhaps uniquely however, the trio performed songs by other local acts such as Sanders, Jewel and Gregory Page. “I always leaned toward local music,” Troy explained. “I wanted something I could relate to. I wanted to listen to artists that I could actually go see play at a coffee house and then talk to them afterwards. I wanted to be like them.” She proceeds to name a who’s who of the local club scene, including the much missed Bug Guts, Candye Kane and others. “(It was) their albums I would sleep with next to my pillow, and listen to every night before I went to bed.” These days, Troy cites such names as Blind Boy Fuller, Memphis Minnie and Chuck Berry as influences, but she still spends any time not playing herself, checking out other local gigs.

Troy worked next with Cindy Lee Berryhill, who secured the two sisters a demo deal with Warner Brothers. While they recorded three tracks, nothing came of the sessions. But the pair (only 13 and 15 respectively) soon attracted producers Harlan Lansky and Craig Bartok, of the production company called Matrix Music Works. The Matrix soon secured them a deal with Elektra. In 2002 The Troys scored a minor hit with their song “What Do You Do?,” and taped a big-budget video in Los Angeles (with Fleetwood Mac working next door), which was aired on MTV's TRL. They even started turning up in the pages of magazines like “Teen Vogue.”

“It was very surreal,” she recalled. “Honestly, I was really scared of losing my identity and individuality. I think that my biggest fear was to be influenced into becoming something that I didn’t want to be. All the glitz and glam that we experienced during that time was meaningless to me.” She describes a time spent riding around in limos, wardrobe budgets, walking down the red carpet at industry parties, and appearing in all the teen mags. The recording even garnered their producers a Grammy nomination. Luckily, her cynical nature, when it comes to the music business, kept her from los