Interview by Scott BradyWhen I first listened to the “Afterlife” EP from Anne Autumn Erickson and her band Upon Wings my first impressions were this has to come from Europe due to the nature of its sound. However this metal siren and her band are not European whatsoever. Anne Autumn Erickson hails from Detroit Michigan. Many Americans are well aware that Detroit Michigan has fallen on some hard dark economic times in recent years. Anne Autumn Erickson is definitely a light coming from a very dark place and in the years to come will give Detroit Michigan something to be proud of much like Kid Rock and Ted Nugent and Motown have. Kiss even titled a song called “Detroit Rock City” and a young upcoming Female Metal singer has chosen to pick up the rich musical traditions coming from Detroit and carry the flag over into Female Fronted Gothic metal. Her voice has certainly received attention by some very influential players in the modern American rock scene. Some of these artists that Anne Autumn Erickson has already worked with in her short time in the industry are Guest vocalist Brett Hestla (ex-Creed, Dark New Day), master Grammy-nominated mixing engineer Glenn Brown (Kid Rock‘s recording engineer) and guitar work and production from Canadian-based Kevin Jardine. Rhythm guitars courtesy of the talented Peter Tzaferis. On the production side of the industry recording sessions for “Afterlife” were done at Johnny K‘s legendary Groovemaster Studios in Chicago, where Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Staind and countless other heavy music-makers have laid down tracks. In America most female singers or bands in recent years have come out of nationally televised singing competitions. They usually have to have a pop or country sound to be accepted by the American audience. I have a feeling young women like Anne Autumn Erickson will start to break this cycle of prefabricated talent development programs that honestly break a girls dreams and hold her bound to the mercy of a record executive or promoter seeing them as their personal cash cows. It will be women like Anne Autumn Erickson who will demand both respect and creative freedom to make her own destiny a reality in the years to come. Young women like Anne Autumn Erickson make me proud to be American. I conducted a interview with Anne Autumn Erickson for Femme Metal Webzine, where she discusses her dreams and how the “Afterlife” EP was born. Enjoy !!! Anne, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. It is a great honor for you to join us. Thank you for your time. First if you will, when was the idea of Upon Wings first birthed within your soul and what was your main vision behind Upon Wings as a band?
Thank you for the opportunity to do this interview, Femme Metal Webzine! The idea for Upon Wings formed a few years ago, and the vision was to create dramatic music that brought together a modern rock and metal sound with my classical vocals.You are a classically trained vocalist, were you trained in a musical school or did you have a one on one training coach, how did your training bring you to the point where you were confident to begin Upon Wings?
I trained in school and also had a few good one-on-one instructors, so was a mix of both. I eventually came to a point when I know I had to do Upon Wings– it was just a desire in my heart, and I had to do it.Who were your earliest influences as a child concerning your music and at what age did your heart open up to pursue music as a passion?
Probably at age 4 is when I actually fell in love with music and the stage. My mom was a theater director, and she put me in one of her musicals. I was really young, but I remember loving it. I gravitated towards music when I started school and never looked back.Some people in the music industry were born into families with musical pedigrees, was this the case for you?
Neither of my parents are singers, but they are both artists in that my mom was a theater major in college and a director and my dad has written a novel. My grandmother on my dad’s side of the family had a beautiful voice, and my grandfather on my mom’s side was a great flautist. So, there is music and art in my family.Your “Afterlife” EP sounds so theatrical in its very nature. Along with being a very talented and trained mezzo-soprano have you had any musical theater training and or experience?
Thank you! Yes, I actually did a lot of musical theater in school and got a degree in theater in college.
If given the opportunity to work with any current crop of other soprano singers male or female who would be the top 3 on your list to collaborate with?
Wow, that’s a great question! In the rock and metal world, those artists would probably be Stone Sour, P.O.D. and As I Lay Dying. As for theatrical-type singers, my all-time favorite is Colm Wilkinson. Two others would be Lea Salonga and Luciano Pavarotti. All of those artists are amazingly talented and bring such emotion into their music.There seem to be many spiritual elements within the “Afterlife” EP? Are you spiritually motivated in your approach to the song writing process and if this is the case share what you feel most comfortable in sharing.?
I would definitely say there are spiritual elements in the “Afterlife” EP. When it comes to writing songs and creating a theme with the lyrics, I have to write what is true to me and whatever I’m experiencing at the time. My faith bleeds into my music; it’s just a part of me, so it becomes part of my music.Outside the music business are their any hobbies of interest or subjects of intrigue you and do they ever make their way into your music?
I’m so into music, so it’s hard to have lots of other hobbies, but I do like football, and I like doing crafts and things like that. I spend time with my family and friends. As for subjects, I enjoy politics and like keeping up with what’s going on in the world. Most of my music is about my personal experiences, though, and not politics or anything like that.Even though the “Afterlife” EP is your current offering, are you now in the process of writing your first full length debut album?
I’ve been really focused on finishing up this EP and getting it out, and then I do plan to record new music. Hopefully soon!Do you plan on doing any touring to support the “Afterlife” EP and if you are will there be any bands you will be opening for and what are these plans for the foreseeable future?
We’re certainly hoping to tour in support of the EP but don’t have any solid plans yet. I’ll keep you posted!Coming to a close here, what are your main goals for 2013 to further develop and grow as a musician?
First, I’m just very excited to have this EP out there and to get people’s reactions to it. Some people are saying the song “Afterlife” is giving them hope and helping them through some hard times, and that, above all else, is what Upon Wings is about. I’m hoping to record more music this year, play some shows and continue to create art.