I hope, with this song, to recognize that we have demons. I recently heard a quote that goes, “If a thing is not acknowledged, it cannot be healed.” I believe “Dance With Your Demons” is an acknowledgement of addiction or demons being present in life, therefore an opportunity to heal.
I love the exhilaration of “Train Song.”
I do too!
How did that song come to be?
I was in Ontario and there’s a train that runs through a small town called Bolsover. I heard it coming. You’re in wide-open space there, and the sound coming and then zipping past me and moving on into the distance was particularly striking.
It occurred to me that when I watch or hear a train, I’m taken to the past or into the future, but rarely the present. That’s kind of what inspired it. I was at my mom’s house and I had my ukulele, which I’d started playing, and the sun was coming up and I started thinking about the train. I wrote it on ukulele, so very sparse.
It brought up lots of memories; heartache from a breakup, and “I shoulda leaned in for that kiss” was an opportunity that I blew [laughs].
From trains to airplanes, I was wondering if you would mind saying a few words about what has become your signature song, “Girls and Airplanes.”
First of all, you should know that I do not like to fly!
I don’t either! I haven’t been on a plane since 1995.
Oh, my goodness! I’ve been trying really hard to avoid them.
I was at a show near Chattanooga last year. (This guy who was a pilot) had on his sunglasses and a leather jacket. He handed me his card and said, “I do private rides. You’re welcome to come aboard.” I said, “Thank you very much and no thank you!”
It’s funny because this song has given me lots of gifts. I was just interested in the iconic Rosie the Riveter graphic. I thought, “I kind of know what this is about, but I probably should know.” I researched the image online and found out about the WASPs, the Women’s Army Service Pilots (of World War II).
I was so intrigued, being a woman who’s always been aware of women having to do double the work to be recognized, to be respected, to be paid well, to move up as far as they can go. That was a primary example of women in our country trying to do just that. Years later, along comes Billie Jean King, who said, “Hey, we’re not getting paid an 11th of what men in tennis are being paid.” It spawned a lot of movement, which we really need to keep working on.
Since the release of your first album, “Effort of the Spin,” 22 years ago, you have maintained your career as an indie artist. Please say something about the challenges and rewards of being independent.
Well… I’m thinking I’ve driven 1,300 miles in the last week. You get yourself up and you go. You promote. You try to delegate and offset some of your work. That’s a challenge because you don’t have the backing of a label, so you are trying to use every ounce of genuine, respectful, loving connection that you’ve made with people and ask for their help.
You’re not able to offer a lot of money to them, but they’re happy to do it if you’ve created a good relationship. After all these years, I’m starting to see that more and more. I’m not the kind of person who walks into a room and says, “I need to know that person.” I just see someone and think, “They look nice, I think I’ll talk to them.”
It’s strange to say, but I’m a little bit shy that way. When I’m put in a position to market and create relationships, that’s when I become shy. It’s so easy for me to perform, get off stage and talk to people one-on-one at my merch table. I love them. I can look them in the eye.
But when I have to hustle, market to advance my career, that’s not so easy.
As an artist with a long history of live performance, what can people attending your shows expect from your upcoming tour dates?
They can expect that I’m going to kick their asses [laughs].
I’m going to give them the best of me on that day. I’m going to talk to them with my songs. My job is to reach out to them and say, “This is my life, this is your life, this is our night. Let’s rock and roll!”
Gregg Shapiro is an entertainment journalist who writes for LGBTQ publications around the country. He interviewed another gay singer/songwriter from Northeast Ohio, Mike Maimone, for our January issue. You can follow Gregg on Twitter @greggsha.
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Anne E. DeChant has opened for Melissa Etheridge, Indigo Girls, Joan Jett, Joan Armatrading and others. She has played Olivia Cruises, Lilith Fair and was a featured act at the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland.
She grew up in Avon Lake.
You can hear Anne E. DeChant’s music, including tracks from her new album, “Lost in Kentucky,” at anneedechant.com. You can follow her on Twitter @anneedechant.
Anne E. DeChant will be back in Ohio for a show at the Holland Theatre in Bellefontaine on Wednesday, Oct. 10. Tickets are available through her website.