Q&A: UK Pop Sensation Anne-Marie

The singer talks the inspiration behind her debut album, admiring Eminem, and her upcoming visit to Detroit
Anne-Marie performs at St. Andrew’s Hall on Sept. 1 and at Ford Field with Ed Sheeran on sept. 8 // Photograph by Michael Furlonger

You may have heard of upcoming pop sensation Anne-Marie from her multiple radio sensations and collaborations including 2016’s “Rockabye” and this year’s summer hit, “Friends.” The song peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 Charts and earned a Recording Industry Association of America Platinum certification. Hailing from England, Anne-Marie is not just opening for Ed Sheeran on the North American leg of his World Tour, she’s also headlining her own tour and promoting her recently released debut album, Speak Your Mind. Prior to her solo show at St. Andrew’s Hall on Sept. 1 and her opening act with Ed Sheeran at Ford Field on Sept. 8, Hour Detroit had the opportunity to speak with the jet-setting singer-songwriter.

Hour Detroit: Your debut album, Speak Your Mind, was released in April. What was the inspiration behind your album and your single “Friends?”

Anne-Marie: A lot of it is real life. I get a lot of inspiration from real things, real experiences, and other people’s stories. So, you’ll hear a lot of true stories [on the album]. I don’t think I’ve ever really heard a song about friend-zoning someone, and a lot of people want to be able to do that, but don’t really know how to. So, I thought [“Friends”] would be good for people to just send the link to if they want to friend-zone someone [laughs].

You recently released the music video for “Don’t Leave Me Alone” with David Guetta. What’s the story behind the song and how is it conveyed in the futuristic, sci-fi, virtual reality feel of the video?

The story of the song is not wanting someone to leave, or if they have left, just really wishing they hadn’t. It’s quite a sad story, really, but David put a really cool twist on the production and made it sound quite happy in a really strange but good way. The [music video] producer — the same lady that did the “Friends” music video — she’s good at getting messages across. This video takes place in the future where I put on these goggles and go back to a time where [the love interest and I] actually did things. We’re going out in the open, running around the park, and I think that’s a really cool message to get across right now, especially since we all basically have our heads in our phones. We don’t really have that connection with the real world anymore or any other human.

The song “Perfect,” also on your new album, has a line that mentions your sister’s crush on Eminem, a Detroit icon. Is that a true statement?

[Laughs] Yeah, that is a 100 percent true statement. We both did. Our whole family would listen to Eminem every day. It is my goal to get [my family] to a show and to meet him one day. I always say he’s one of my big influences. He’s one of the first people that I listened to growing up. He talks about real stuff that’s going on in the world, and he’s not scared to step on people’s toes or start a conversation with quite a harsh lyric. That is definitely an inspiration for me. I start thinking that [I] shouldn’t be scared to create music like that because he definitely wasn’t.

You’re performing two shows in Detroit. One as an opener for Ed Sheeran at Ford Field and another as a headliner at St. Andrew’s Hall. What are you looking forward to with your solo shows?

I can’t wait. I’m so excited for that. I’m performing at my own show on the first of September at St. Andrew’s Hall. It’s amazing doing it with Ed, being a support act, but obviously it’s so good to just do a whole set. I only get 30 minutes with Ed Sheeran, so it’ll be good to finally do a lot of solo, longer sets, and connect with fans. I want them to feel [the performance] and sing the songs with me. It’s going to be amazing.

You’ve collaborated with a lot of big-name producers and songwriters like Ed Sheeran, David Guetta, Marshmello. Who would you like to work with next?

Eminem! [Laughs] I’d love to work with people that just aren’t scared to say what they feel. I love Kendrick Lamar and I love Alanis Morissette. We’ll see in the future.

What do you hope fans and new listeners take away from Speak Your Mind?

I think my policy as a human is to just be open and honest with people, and not be embarrassed to talk about your problems and feelings. That’s what I constantly try and promote in real life as well as in music. As long as people can feel confident enough to talk about something, start a conversation, or talk to someone who isn’t treating them well, or anything like that, then I’ve done my job.

For more information on Anne-Marie, visit iamannemarie.com.

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