It’s been 10 years since Anna Graceman played her first Alaska Folk Festival, and a lot has happened.
Since that first Folk Fest at age 9, Graceman has appeared on the “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” competed on “America’s Got Talent,” moved to Nashville to pursue songwriting full time and participated in an all-female songwriting camp hosted by Mary J. Blige.
“I’ve been in Nashville for about five years now,” Graceman said in an interview with the Capital City Weekly. “I really enjoy it. There’s music everywhere, so I’m able to perform live all the time. Also, there’s just an incredible writing scene as far as writers of all different genres. It’s just a really cool environment to be in. I’ve really been able to grow here.”
The 19-year-old singer-songwriter was back in town Friday to take the stage at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center with her family band, Graceman.
A family trip to Juneau last year set the wheels in motion that led to this year’s return trip to the capital city.
“What really brought the idea into my mind is my family and I went back to visit last summer, and we played a couple gigs there,” Graceman said. “It made us think, ‘Well, Folk Fest is going to be coming up.’”
She said she was excited to play, but also happy to see Juneau’s open skies and natural beauty.
“I’m very excited to go back and see that and drink the fresh water,” Graceman said.
When she performs Friday, she will be joined by her brother, Landon, 16; and sister, Allie, 14.
They played both covers and new compositions.
“We’ll be doing a mix,” Graceman said ahead of the concert. “Mostly originals, and a lot of the originals are songs that aren’t recorded, so it’s special because we really only play them live.”
“I try to release new music every month,” she said. “I stress myself out about it, but I’ve made a deal with myself that for a year I’m going to put a new song out every month as well as a video. I’m just kind of testing myself, and also I have all these songs I’ve written over the past couple of years. I really want people to hear the songs, so it’s every single month.”
She said the music she makes with her siblings tends to favor a throwback sound with a little bit of Beale Street flavor.
“The family band is soulful rock,” Graceman said. “We have some blues influences, and the way that I write songs is full of stories. It’s energetic, and it has some Memphis sound going on.”
She said that sound is also present in the solo music she regularly records and releases.
“My solo stuff is very soulful as well,” Graceman said. “It’s organic with real instruments and little bit of grit.”
Graceman said using analog instruments and striving for a classic sound has always been a point of emphasis for her music.
“I’ve always wanted anything that I put out to be recreated live,” Graceman said. “Real music is what stands the test of time and not being stamped with a certain sound that was popular at a time keeps your song alive.”
“I want my music to be listened to 20 years from now,” she added. “Even if the songs kind of change genres, that’s what I’m always thinking of. Keeping it classic.”