Four years ago, Anna Danes was a stay at home mom and former attorney. She was building the family dream house when life brought her to the proverbial edge: her marriage was over and she had to make a decision, or cower or soldier on. Instead of hiding in fear, she bravely decided in that moment to take the unexpected opportunity to re-invent herself.
Her then seven year old refused to continue with music lessons so Anna stepped in – and discovered that she had a voice! She continued singing as a way to cope and find hope while her divorce was unfolding in all its ugliness.
Music became a refuge and it gave her a voice, where she had none in her marital relationship for years. She decided to secretly record an album which steeled her from the inside further and allowed her to leave the “cage” she was living in. The album was appropriately called “Longing,” as she was longing for love.
Since stepping off that “ledge,” Anna’s life has completely changed: she is now a successful singer, songwriter, concert promoter, speaker, soon-to-be author, and all-around music entrepreneur. She is also an advocate for passion-pursuing and in an unstoppable dream-chaser.
Anna recently fulfilled another dream by recording “Find Your Wings,” her second full-length jazz album, at Capitol Studios in Hollywood. It was released at the end of 2016 and has gathered wide critical acclaim, debuting at #1 on the iTunes Jazz Charts and Top 25 on Billboard’s main jazz chart!
In creating the album, Anna was inspired by Tony Bennett, Bill Evans and Frank Sinatra and the glamour and romance of old Hollywood. She envisioned a powerful modern work, interpreted honestly and unabashedly, and beautifully and simply arranged. The twelve songs on it were chosen carefully: six are timeless and beloved standards of the Great American Songbook, and six are fresh and current jazz originals and Anna’s personal stories. The album has been called “A Tour De Force!” and has made many Top 10 jazz radio lists.
Anna’s life is the stuff of the American Dream: born in Poland during communism, she escaped for a better life with her family to Sweden, immigrating later to Canada, to then ultimately settle in sunny California. She has had to reinvent herself multiple times, changing homelands, learning new languages and cultures, changing careers, losing family and friends, enduring divorce and a lot of heartache. Most recently, as she was ready to release her second album, she found out that she had breast cancer, but did not let it bring her to her knees and soldiered on again, ending up at the top of the jazz charts shortly thereafter!
She sees jazz as the perfect vehicle for her expression: jazz is multi-dimensional, improvisational, inclusive, in the moment, and America’s original art form. Growing up in Poland, she only heard this type of music – and freedom – in watching old Hollywood movies – but now she gets to sing it and live it herself! Singing the National Anthem in front of crowds of thousands today, Anna puts her grateful heart, her rich past and unique sultry voice into the performance that is like no other.
She hopes to empower people to pursue their passions and dreams with the songs on “Find Your Wings,” whose encouraging message is that by facing your fears – in health and any personal challenge – you can break out of your cage, find your wings and transform your life. Stepping outside of her cage, Anna realized there is nothing better than a life lived with true purpose and passion, and being true to yourself. That’s freedom – and it feels like flying!