Lyrics to live to
She writes songs about second-class citizenship, twists traffic violations into metaphors for love and, when she's feeling introspective, she might pen a diddy about her partner of three years. Anne DeChant is a rare find in Music City, a town filled with wannabe song writers and dime-a-dozen musicians trying to be 'southern' enough to make it country music. A town some refer to as 'plastic.'
It'd be much easy for DeChant to play it safe in the southern music scene by staying in the closet and hoping for the best. But, that's not her style. Don't expect the vocal powerhouse to mince words when she croons her lesbian love songs.
"I won’t change pronouns to make people feel comfortable," DeChant said. "I don’t like the feeling of not being me."
DeChant moved to Nashville by way of Cleveland, Ohio, just more than a year ago to get serious about writing commercial songs to get "cut" by country music's top artists.
"I didn't know what to expect when I moved here but I made the choice to not try to hide anything," DeChant said. "I think I was happily surprised that it (being a lesbian) doesn’t seem to be an issue in the music industry in terms of being a writer."
Her progress in the industry has been steady and promising, DeChant said, and seemingly free of discrimination based on her sexuality.
But, she said she sometimes wonders if the "lesbian issue" comes up in closed-door meetings of music executives.
"I don’t know what doors have been closed because of my sexuality or what's been said behind those doors about me," DeChant said. "I think its rare for people to come right out and say what they think about you, so for a large part, it's unknown."
Perhaps because of her own struggles, many of DeChants lyrics touch on sensitive social issues and challenge the status quot. That translates into meaningful music with tracks such as "Second Class Citizen" which blows the proverbial whistle on marriage inequality.
Many of her songs are inspired by a single interesting phrase, something overheard at a restaurant or read in a magazine, DeChant said. Even while connecting a chorus to the next insightful verse for another singer's album, some songs find a special place in DeChant's heart and make their way into her repertoire, even while she's on a break from scheduling performances.
"I'm writing commercially but it still feels like me (in the songs)," DeChant said. "If there's a song that comes along that’s truly me and I like it, I’m certainly not going to give it away. "
It's that intimate connection to the fruits of her artistic labor that make DeChant's songs more than a country or pop hit. DeChant views each of her creations as a special gift to whomever listens.
"I want to move people’s lives," DeChant said. "I want them to hear my song and feel good about their own life or even be able to feel about their life. I want to be with people through my music. I live freely so that other people feel like they can, that they can dare to."