Anthony Snape recalls years of school productions, local rock bands and a passion that couldn’t be satisfied in his native Australia. He worked solidly as a session singer for radio, TV and as a backing vocalist. Which culminated in Anthony co-writing and recording the Sydney 2000 Olympic games theme song for the official National Radio Network. He was then invited to perform in the UK where his performance was televised live to an international audience.
Along the way a chance encounter with producers Matt Fell and Lindsay Rimes re-aligned the focus. Laying the foundation for a straight-down-the-line pop-rock record with Anthony’s guitar and vocals, backed by a hot band and a fresh studio sound. Delivering more than just commercial appeal, “Disappearing Day” reveals a depth and maturity that strikes at the heart of the listener.
Anthony Snape’s songs and unique guitar playing style have been the perfect fit for major festival and concert events. From his base in Nashville, TN, Anthony has performed at a variety of venues from theatres (The Birchmere VA, The National, The Majestic) and clubs (The House of Blues LA & New Orleans, BB King’s NYC, Park West Chicago) to performing arts centers (in Virginia, Nashville, Texas, Kansas and Wisconsin), colleges and festivals (SXSW 2009 and The Bondi Beach Festival).
From the release of his album Disappearing Day and with a distribution deal under his belt the first two singles, “Little Piece of Love” and “Daylight” gained radio airplay across three continents (USA – Lighting 100, Europe—Big FM and Australia—Triple M, Nova). Anthony has also won numerous music and songwriting awards (MusicOz, Rising Star, ASA Awards, SongDoor) and has appeared on TV stations in the UK, USA (Fox 19 Morning Show and the Nancy James Show in Ohio) and Australia (Scout TV).
Every once an a while we have the opportunity to run across an Artist that knocks our socks off musically, vocally, with lucid and well crafted songwriting, and a vital spirit that is in every cut, an artist that touches something in our jaded sensibilities. Anthony Snape you are one of those. Thank you for agreeing to this interview.
Its a pleasure, thanks for asking.
Would you give us something of your journey?
I grew up in a small country town in NSW Australia called Gunnedah, a farming community known mostly for its large population of Koalas. I have always played and written music, its all I have ever wanted to do. I played in a lot of different bands through school and sang at most community events. I realized that I needed to move to a larger city to follow my dreams and the largest city in Australia is Sydney. There I worked mostly uncredited as a backing vocalist for many well known Australian artists and as a session singer for radio, singing heard on Australia’s major commercial networks. I was then offered the opportunity to co-write and sing the Sydney 2000 Olympic games theme song for the official National Radio Network 2UE which I accepted and really enjoyed.
I met my good friends and producer Lindsay Rimes Shannon Noll – Switch Me On and Matt Fell,,,,, Tim Freedman, Sara Storer, Butterfly 9, Damien Leith, Paul Greene, Graeme Connors, Ian Moss at various local songwriter/artist events in Sydney and decided to work with these guys to independently released my first album “Disappearing Day”. The first two singles “Little Piece of Love” and “Daylight” received radio airplay all over Australia on Nova, Triple M and other commercial networks. You can still hear my first two singles in clothing stores and corporate fast food chains such as McDonalds throughout Australia and New Zealand, which is always a buzz for my friends. The exposure from “Disappearing Day” opened the door for me to work alongside a slew of well know Australian artists, Marcia Hines, Ian Moss, Rick Price, Human Nature, Vanessa Amorosi, Hugh Jackman, Nathan Cavalieri, Mark Williams, John Williamson, James Morrison, Marina Prior, Jack Jones, Julie Anthony, Phil Emanual, Graeme Conners, John Paul Young and many others.
Then I was invited to the USA to open for Tommy Emmanuel OA. CGP. for his 2008 US Tour. It was an amazing email, I still have it. It says “we love your music, would you like to come to the USA and open for Tommy Emmanuel.” I’d never been to the US before so this was a chance in a lifetime so I jumped at it and I’m happy that I did. I spent the first year in the US opening for Tommy Emmanuel, playing over 18 states and reaching thousands of new music lovers. In the same year I got my first American TV placement. “Walking” from the “Disappearing Day” album featured on the top rating NBC program “The Biggest Loser 5″. It was broadcast into millions of American homes and aired around the world. I was actually in Nashville when it aired the first time, it was an amazing feeling knowing that my voice was being beamed into the living rooms of thousands of US households.
In 2010 I signed to a major college-booking agency and showcased at the NACA nationals as a Main-Stage artist. From there I played a number of colleges as a solo artist all over the US I’ve just introduced my band into the mix and plan to play a bunch of college dates throughout 2012. There is no better way to see America. I am always writing and sending my music to film and TV supervisors. There was an event I attended in LA where I had the chance to sing for ex Idol judge Kara Dioguardi, it was an amazing experience and she had a lot of nice things to say about my songwriting. I’m looking forward to recording my next album in 2012.
The talented musical folks who come out of Australia always amaze me. It’s a shameful musical ignorance I suppose when we here in the US think Australian talent just magically appears. Tell us something of the music scene in Australia and how it formed your music.
Australia is a beautiful mix of European and American cultures, I grew up listening to Crowded House, Rob Thomas, Foo Fighters, Outkast, Queens of the Stone Age, Chili Peppers, Billy Joel, Lenny Cravits, Coldplay, John Mayer, John Farnham, The Killers, and many more. These bands formed the bases of my love of music – the way music makes me feel and how I desire to reach people through music. There is no doubt that America is where I need to be right now.
Co-operation and collaboration is the new paradigm and it’s about time. I trust this interview will get many more folks to be aware of you and your wonderful work. Who do you like from Australia and what other talented folks should we be listening to?
If you haven’t found Crowded House or Neil Finn yet then you need to go now and get their greatest hits album to start with. Neil Finn is one of the most incredible lyricists and vocalists that I have ever heard. When I listen to his songs he makes me feel what the song is saying and I forget about the actual words altogether. Couple that with amazing melodies and vocal texture and you have a creative legend. There are so many fantastic artists that are essential listening, Tommy Emmanuel (for the guitarists out there), Joe Robinson (new record out in 2012), Sons of Summer (new record out in 2012)
We all will surely give them a listen. You have spent a great deal of time touring Colleges here in the US how is the music scene in, your eyes, different than in Australia? Are the audiences different in their response to you?
I love American audiences, they are different as you go from state to state, no two are the same, but they are all awesome! Overall I find US audiences to be more giving and open then Aussie crowds. Aussies tend to sit back and wait to see how everyone else is reacting before they reveal their true feelings, whereas American audiences show you how they feel instantly, which is a great thing when your on stage and everyone is on their feet applauding. I live for those moments.
This remarkably talented Aussie walked on a stage…’ Tell us a road tale about playing in the US.
A road tale…. Well I was in NYC in 2008 when Tommy Emmanuel was playing BB Kings in Times Square and I was opening with my band. Tommy said, “I’ve got to go down the road and play for Les Paul’s birthday party, do you think you could play a little longer and hold the crowd over till I get back” Its moments like these when you know you are in the thick of it and living life to the fullest.
I have no doubt it worked out just fine. You do some terrific PR work for yourself. I love the radio-style intros to your songs, on your site, Anthonysnape.com. There are a lot of artists here that would love to break out into wider markets. Do you have any advice for them about promoting themselves?
Thank you. Promotion is all about people. The more people you have on your team – that love what you do the – better it gets. If you can afford to hire the best marketing company on the planet then do it, it is all about marketing and getting your music in front of people who connect with it. Everyone’s path to success is different; everyone’s view of success is different. Decide right now what you want and what success means to you and then go after it and don’t hold back.
I couldn’t have said it better. You’re out there a lot, traveling a lot, and being seen and heard – that’s a good thing. An old song came to mind when I was looking at your tour dates -‘On The Road To get There’ by Cat Stevens. This will seem like an obvious question, but having played as long as I have – I’m mostly looking back these days – you are a young artist with a lot of talent and energy, and a lot of road in front of you – what to you see as the destination?
My destination is touring the world as a artist known for creating and inspiring people all over the planet on a massive scale. I want to connect with as much of the world as I can, I want to inspire others to go after their dreams and live their life to its full potential.
I believe that will happen, just as you envision it. I am taken by the richness of your lyrics, melodies and arrangements. Your lyrics are powerful conversations with big memorable hooks. Tell us how a song comes to you.
Songs come in all sorts of ways, sometimes its a feeling that I have to put down like my recent YouTube release “Pictures”
This song came about when I started using an app called Instagram, a photo sharing program for your phone. What struck me was the immense charge of positive energy that was being delivered in the form of photos from everyday people all over the world. I was inspired, I had to get my ideas out and I wanted to share them with everyone. Instead of going through the usual channels, finding a producer booking a studio and recording and mixing the song I decided that it needed to be released right away so I wrote the sing, recorded it in my project studio and edited the video myself with hundreds of photos from Instagram users. It was a great process that gave me an instant response where 1000 people saw the video in the first day. The internet is a powerful tool.
Other times I’ll co-write and the ideas will come by looking into other peoples lives and putting the emotions of a situation and someone else’s experience into the song. Sometimes inspiration will come from something I’ve read, or a movie. The skill of songwriting is in the crafting after the initial spark or seed of inspiration. Making sure that the song really radiates everything you want it to say. A question I usually ask myself after I write a new song is “when I listen to it, how does it make me feel?” If it takes too much explaining then its back to the drawing board till there is no question on how emotionally responsive the song is.
You have such ease when you play, very assessable and engaging – is that natural to you?
Thank you. Yes, I guess. I really feel the music I’m playing, I want the audience to feel it too.
You seem to know yourself as an Artist. How do you want your audience to see and hear you?
Knowing what your potential is very hard. I do my best to be the best I can be, but there is a point when being the best at something technically sort of takes the soul out of it; you need to get back to your roots and find what it is that made you want to sing in the first place. I have learned that its more about how I can make people feel by singing, rather then concentrating on being a better singer. I want the audience to see and hear me as someone who is singing their song.
You do that very well indeed.I hear so many influences and a lot of innovation in your work. What Artists influenced you – let’s make this a little harder – what particular quality in those Artists influenced you?
John Farnham for his vocal technical ability and performance. Neil Finn for his songwriting and vocal tone. Rob Thomas for his overall vibe and career path. John Mayer for his ability to create amazing songs that are unique to him and that show off his guitar skills. Foo Fighters for their sheer intensity and footprint. Coldplay – for their crowd hypnotizing melodies, and epic live shows. Tommy Emmanuel – for his spirit and ability to connect with his audience. The Killers – for there incredibly catchy songs performed with attitude and substance. Katy Perry – for the same reason and her pop writing, which is brilliant. (I have no shame yes I like Katy Perry.) Keith Urban – for his LIVE show performances – where he gives the crowd every last bit of energy.
You move pretty easily from acoustic to electric. Do you write differently when writing a song as a solo as compared to writing a rock band tune? Is there a difference to you as a writer? How about in performance?
Yes and no… I like songs that transfer easily from acoustic to electric, but sometimes there are songs that just have to be produced to have the right vibe. ‘Solitude’ and ‘Daylight’, from my “Disappearing Day” record are examples of those that need production to communicate; whereas, the song ‘Frequency’ – for example, is a great song to play – with or without the band. I love the natural raw sound that an acoustic guitar can give you, but the immense soundscape you can create with a full band is sometimes really incredible – and irreplaceable. Sometimes if I’m in a writing session and I’m playing electric, with a particular effect or sound, it will bring a totally different song then if I was only playing an acoustic guitar.
There is a definite difference in performance and in the writing process between using the electric and the acoustic guitars. But the crazy thing is, if I’m to be totally honest with you… that even when I’m playing an acoustic song to an audience, in my head the full band is playing as well, so I never really play a song acoustically at least from my point of view.
I have conversations with many songwriters and all have different ways they come to writing a song. Some find the hook first, some the melody some the chord progression. How do you come to write a song?
There is no set way, sometimes I start with a word, or a phrase or a title or a melody or a feeling… It totally depends on what the day brings. There is no magic formula at least not for me.
Your arrangements are terrific, wonderful riffs and movements; vocals are clean and up front. You have such a powerful voice, you sing as if it’s effortless. Do you write melodies and lyrics with your vocals in mind? Did that make sense?
Yes, when I write I just sing it as if I’m on stage so the song usually suits me vocally… I only get into trouble when I’m asked to write a song for another artist and I have to stay within certain vocal boundaries of that artist. Trying to pack all the emotion in with less notes is a challenge but is a good exercise.
The good folks at Song Door pointed us to you, so I want to give them a little love. You won the 2008 Song Door songwriting contest. Tell us about that.
Yes, I won a few categories that year; it was a wonderful experience. The major prize was awarded for the title track of my album “Disappearing Day”.
Song door was a fantastic way to connect to the US songwriting community. The people involved with the organization are amazing and have been some of the most amazingly supportive people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting.
“At a music event in Los Angeles, Anthony was chosen randomly from the audience to play for Kara DioGuardi. At the end of the performance Kara stood up and hugged Anthony, showing him the goose bumps on her arms “totally unique, your voice was so on the money, it was effortless, I bought into you and I forgot where I was.”-Kara DioGuardi.”
This quote was interesting. Give us a little back-story here.
It was at a TAXI event in LA and Kara DioGuardi was a guest speaker. At one point they randomly picked someone from the crowd and it ended up being me. I played a song for Kara and she was blown away. You can see the moment for yourself on YouTube.
You appeared with Tommy Emmanuel on a PBS production. The PBS scene is pretty mainstream, a little older demographic. Tommy is an amazing talent, but it seems an odd fit. My partner Dave and I are looking at a project there. We would be interested to know how was that for you and what was the response?
It’s been amazing. What a great audience! The live shows have been incredible and so reactive. Yes its not quite my market base, but they are music lovers and they really responded to my music.
How was the tour with Tommy and Pam Rose?
Performing with Tommy and Pam has been a wonderful experience. I’ve now written a couple of songs with Pam that I love.
Tell us about your last album ‘Acoustic Sunday’?
Acoustic Sunday is a collection of songs in acoustic format some of which are in band format on the ‘Disappearing Day’ album. There are some special songs to me like “Pretty Girl” and “Frozen Blues” that really capture the raw performance side of me. No bells and whistles, an acoustic guitar, vocal and a song to sing.
Your new single ‘Say So’ is wonderful. Can you give us a workshop on this song from writing to the final cut?
This song was written with my good friend and producer, Lindsay Rimes on one of his trips to Nashville. Earlier that day I was looking around on Twitter, checking through the tweets for something interesting to inspire me for the writing session later that day. I didn’t find anything; it was just a mess of words, and comments, that really didn’t mean anything to me, it was more like noise. I found myself reading a comment and saying to myself,“Yeah ok, if you say so” and after the 4th or 5th time I said it in my head, I caught it and knew that this was to be my next song.
Where does Anthony Snape go from here?
The only way is up baby.
Good answer. Is there anything you want your fans to know about you that they may not know?
I am one of the most accessible artists that I know. You can tweet, Facebook, text or even call and leave me a message and I get back to everyone personally.
Thank you Anthony for your generosity. We’ll be happily watching your rising career.
Thanks Ken for the interview and your in depth, intelligent and relevant questions, it makes a great change from the usual uninformed interview.
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