||is a singer-songwriter with credits worthy of some of the most well known entertainers in the world. Primarily known for her role as the lead singer with the English classical rock band Renaissance she later became equally heralded as a solo artist. Annie has traveled the world delighting audiences, most recently as far off as Japan and Brazil with her five octave voice and warm personality. Despite such a busy and varied life in music, Annie recently has been bestowed with an entirely new gift; she has embarked on a whole new journey in the form of oil painting. This came as a complete surprise and wondrous discovery, both to her and her fans. On somewhat of a mission, Annie has been painting fervently for a little over a year, with colors and movement that make you want to walk right into the canvas. She has been described as a Dream Expressionist. Her art is organic, yet with a dream-like feel, it is contemporary but does not seem to be influenced by anything other than her own feelings and thoughts. A painting called Whales Tale was used for the cover of her recent CD, One Enchanted Evening. She hopes to make people feel good with her artwork as she has with her voice. Annie hopes to combine music and art together sometime in the near future.
THE ANNIE HASLAM STORY
After growing up in the industrial town of Bolton, Lancashire in England, the daughter of Annie and George, Annie developed into a singer songwriter with credits worthy of some of the most well known entertainers in the world. To backtrack a little, her working class roots were to give her a foundation that would serve her well later in life. She would travel the world and be introduced to many situations and nationalities far away from her homeland. A career in music was to be the biggest gift that would be bestowed on her. Her father was an amateur comedian/singer (with a beautiful tenor voice) and her mother a gentle, quiet woman who had once been a nurse while aspiring to be an acrobatic dancer. Both had encouraged Annie in whatever they saw her drawn to, which was pretty unique in the days when most families needed their grown children to work to bring food home to the table. This, after all, was a working class family. Clearly a strong devotion to the upbringing and the consideration of her own life needs were to help Annie on her path forward within the realms of creativity.
Annie has two brothers, both gifted in their own way. Keith is a very gifted artist and made a name for himself in Canada where he worked as a graphic designer, designing packaging for some well-known products that later became household names. He really should have pursued a career in comedy as his personality is very funny and infectious. He has been a Hare Krsna devotee for many years now and uses his talents within the structure of that religion.
Michael, also a singer with a very powerful melodic voice was signed up by Brian Epstein in the 60s and was fortunate enough to be included in several of the Beatles Christmas Shows. Annie would hear her brother practicing at home not realizing that one day she too would be singing professionally. A ballet dancer, nurse and later a dress designer were the only careers on her mind, the latter being the only one that she actually pursued with enthusiasm after attending art school in Cornwall in the late 60s.
In the early 70s Annie was to find out that not only did she have a talent for dress design, but she also had a hidden talent for singing, which was discovered after her sister in law (also a singer), heard her singing along with the music at the end of the TV show in the UK called The Saint. This encouragement led Annie to her first singing position at the Showboat in the Strand (A cabaret style dinner theater). After six months here she went for an audition in Surrey with a rather unusual band called Renaissance. Annies unique style of singing captured the members of the band and she was immediately offered the job as lead singer. From that moment on her life would never be the same.
This was the beginning of a whole new life for Annie. She would now embark on her musical adventures that took her across most of the world, and which brought her to such wonderful venues as The Royal Albert Hall in London and Carnegie Hall in New York, performing with The Royal Philharmonic and The New York Philharmonic Orchestras, respectively. The music created by Renaissance was something that became very unique and would stand the test of time. During the period with the band, Annie was to record her first solo Album.
In 1977 Annie in Wonderland was created, produced, performed and recorded by The Move and ELO Founder member Roy Wood. This was a turning point in Annies career as Roy opened up new avenues and styles of singing that Annie had not tried before. This album is a joy.
Her second solo album in 1985, presented light classical pieces put to words and music arranged and conducted by Louis Clark. This has to be one of the highlights of Annies career, as it led to her recording with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom she had already performed with back in the Renaissance days, and so to do her own project with them was a very special achievement. The album was entitled Still Life.
In 1987 Renaissance disbanded and in the following year Annie started to make plans to form her own band and return to North America. Instrumental in helping Annie form this new band, was Raphael Rudd, who had performed on keyboards and harp in the latter days of Renaissance. Sadly he passed away in a car accident in 2002, but is fondly remembered as a major force in the early stages of Annies solo career and is greatly missed. Rave Tesar (keyboards), one of the members from the initial band, is still performing with Annie. Joe Goldberger, who played drums with Annie from 1987, sadly moved to LA in 2001 and therefore had to leave the band. Charles Descarfino was recruited as the new drummer. He had played with Annie previously in her solo shows and in the latter days of Renaissance.
In 1989, a record deal was secured with EPIC Records. This album was simply entitled Annie Haslam, and was to be her stepping stone to another major life change. The Album was licensed to Virgin Records in Japan which led to a tour of several major Japanese cities with The Annie Haslam Band. Soon after this very successful trip, Annie moved to North America where she is still residing.
In 1992 she started writing songs with record producer Tony Visconti, but was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after they started recording demos. This did not deter her; in fact the music that was written and recorded during this period was instrumental in getting her through all the uncomfortable experiences that came with the chemotherapy and radiation. Music played a big part in her recovery process. During Annies recuperation, a record deal was secured in Japan for Blessing in Disguise. This CD, containing nine songs co-written by Annie, captures many of the emotions that she had lived through. Blessing in Disguise came out in the U.S and Canada in 1995 and has also been released in England on HTD Records and in Europe on Castle Records.
Back in control of her health, Annie became involved in a YES tribute CD where she would record with Steve Howe, the classic song Turn of the Century. This led to Annie and Steve Howe writing material for an album together. Although the album is unfinished at this time, blending the melodic style of Steves incredible guitar playing with Annies ethereal five octave voice makes this project very unique. Their association was to take a strange twist in 1995. After being so moved by a TV program on orphans in Bosnia, Annie had been compelled to call Inside Edition, (a TV news magazine show in the states). A connection was made that would lead to Annie organizing a benefit concert in New York in aid of these unfortunate children in Sarajevo. The concert was put together with the help of 20th Century Guitar Magazine who later did a wonderful spread to record the evenings events. It was a huge success and was held at Irving Plaza (kindly donated for the evening by John Scher) in NYC with such names as Justin Hayward, Gary Brooker, Roy Wood, Cheap Trick, Steve Howe, Phoebe Snow, Steve Holley, Ian McDonald, Tony Visconti and David Biglin with Al Franken as the host of the evening. This was a night to remember which hopefully one day will be made into a CD.
In 1997, Annie was invited to perform in Brazil where she recorded a Live CD called Live under Brazilian Skies. This CD is available in the U.S and Canada on One Way Records, in England on HTD Records, Europe on Transatlantic Records, and in Japan on Mercury/ Universal Records. Annie returned to do more shows in Brazil in the fall of 1998.
In the winter of 1998 Annie started work on her solo CD The Dawn of Ananda. Co-writing songs with Rave Tesar (who also produced most of the CD along with Larry Fast and Tony Visconti) Michael Dunford, Larry Fast, David Biglin and Tony Visconti. This is a collection of songs not to be missed. The songs are all Angel related in some way and it is a beautiful calming body of work, full of emotion, soaring vocals and lush orchestral arrangements. This is available on Annies e-Commerce site at www.anandaangels.com and major record stores.
Annie has also been busy designing an Angel jewelry line which is available on the e-Commerce site along with the story of how it came about. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the jewelry goes to several charities as described on the Ananda site.
A long awaited Christmas CD It Snows in Heaven too was released on White Dove Records just in the nick of time for Christmas 2000. Annie and her band had been performing special Christmas concerts for 5 years at a very lovely church, The Upper Tinicum Lutheran church in Tinicum, Upper Black Eddy, PA and to record a CD of Christmas songs seemed the natural progression. The CD was received with great excitement and acclaim from all the fans that had waited so long to be able to listen to Annie in their own homes in the spirit of the season! Rave Tesar was the producer, arranger and keyboardist on the entire CD, and also wrote the title track It Snows in Heaven too. The title for the CD and title track came to Annie one day right out of the blue. This CD is also available on Annies e-Commerce site.
A reunion CD from Renaissance TUSCANY was released in Japan October 2000 on Toshiba/EMI, which led to a very successful tour there in March of 2001. The touring band consisted of Annie, Michael Dunford, Terry Sullivan, Mickey Simmonds, Dave Keyes and Rave Tesar. This tour resulted in an excellent double live CD entitled In the Land of the Rising Sun, which was released in Japan on Toshiba/EMI in 2002 and in the UK on GEP Records also in 2002.
In late September, 2001 Annie returned once again to Brazil along with keyboard player Rave Tesar. They joined up with some excellent Brazilian musicians for four shows in several different cities. They performed several Renaissance songs, some of Annies solo work and a piece by Tom Jobim called Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars, (also known as Corcovado)...the audiences loved what they heard and the shows were memorable indeed! The current Annie Haslam Band consists of Annie, Rave Tesar, David Keyes, Charles Descarfino and John and Angel Rittweger. Angel adds a new dimension to the band as her voice is very similar to Annies and blends very well! A new live CD One Enchanted Evening was released in November 2002, accompanied by keyboard player Rave Tesar. It is a collection of songs Annie has wanted to sing since she was a little girl, a trip down memory lane for sure.
Annie says "Surviving breast cancer became another milestone in my life, awakening my senses to my reality and showing me the true meaning of what I am here to do".....sing, paint and make people laugh!"