New town, same sweet sound

Anne E. Dechant, 5-time winner of Cleveland's Best Singer Songwriter award (Cleveland's Scene Magazine), recently released her sixth album. It's really a career first, though, for the Ohio native. Dechant relocated to Nashville three years ago  to pursue songwriting in country music.

Dechant, who continues to perform as a lead artist, has served as an opening act for Norah Jones, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, and numerous national superstars. Other career milestones: a performance slot at Lilith Fair and an appearance at The White House.

In her interview with Out & About Newspaper, Dechant expresses awe and admiration for her new home in Nashvillle, and gives us a glimpse at the creative forces that have enhanced her career.

Beyond the obvious benefits, what is so special about being a musician in Nashville?

For so many years I heard that I needed to frequent Nashville or live here in order to take a giant leap in my career.  I never quite understood that until after I moved here.  Little things happen while you’re out and about in this town...not like what I imagined which was someone “discovering” me but smaller things, connections to people. That is how I began building a network of people with positive energy around me I think that’s what it takes to be both successful and happy in this industry. That’s the magic of this town. There are people all around you who want great things from you and want you to succeed.  If you’re great or working at being great, your persistent and you’re nice to be around, you can get people behind you. I try to create win/win situations and that’s what I believe will move me forward. In this town, with so much talent and such a demand for excellence, growth is a huge option and that’s special.

Moving to Music City has also given me the opportunity to put to practice all that I’ve learned.  I’ve had to re-establish myself both personally and professionally here.  All the life lessons I’ve had are put to the test during this new growth.  There’s so much going on in this town, so many ways to spend your time and energy and so many people that you meet.  I’m reminded constantly to listen to my let my instincts determine where and to whom I will give my energy.  I’m learning to gravitate toward people I admire and feel good around.   I also receive affirmations  that it’s ok to walk away.

How does this new release differ from your previous work?

This is my first release in Nashville so sticking out in the crowd will be a challenge. The biggest difference is that this body of work represents all the learning I’ve done about writing in a more commercial style. I never thought about the length of a song before or if a song was easily understood. Now those are not necessary for an artist doing there own thing. But I made the choice before moving here to pursue a career as a writer for artists in the commercial market.  This CD is a reflection of that growth. It’s still me but I guess a more “carved” me.

How have you grown as a performer after your years of experience?

As I said, I’ve really learned to listen to my gut. If something doesn’t feel right I’ve learned to say, “not now." I’ve also become much better at doing what I do regardless of the crowd in front of me.  always strive to please an audience, but I’ve learned over the years that all I need to be is me. There’s no need to compare myself to anyone else or to try and be like someone else. I think that helps me appreciate other performers all the more. When you can love what you’re doing and appreciate others work, I think you’re in a good place.

What is a career highlight and what is your main career goal for the future?

I have highlights for sure, but they are not days or specific performances really.They are moments.   When I really look inside, the highlights are responses I get from people moved by my music. Just to look out and see someone truly moved by what you are singing, what you have written is what it’s all about for me.

This year a woman approached me after hearing “Swing”, the title track of this CD. She explained that she’d been living with leukemia for years and that when she heard the song, it reminded her of her fight...the fact that every day she must "Swing." She asked me for a copy of the song. I had just completed a demo of it and I ran out to my car to get it for her. Weeks later she called me to remind me that the song was on her daily listening list and continued to be an inspiration. 

When I wonder what the heck I’m doing in such a competitive industry and if I’ll be “successful," I’m blessed to remember moments like this....If I can help move someone’s life in a positive direction, then I’m having a “career highlight."


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