While an interest in sports won UK-born singer Anne-Marie world championships, her passion for music is getting her accolades and personal satisfaction. The singer, who’s currently on her first visit to India for the VH1 Supersonic concert in Pune, is a double gold winner in the 2002 Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association World Championships, Gold and Silver in 2007, and Gold in the United Kingdom Traditional Karate Federation National Championships.
Before releasing her debut album Speak your mind in 2018, Anne-Marie released a solo demo for Rocket Records called ‘Summer Girl’ in 2013 and in 2015, she released her debut EP titled Karate. This EP featured three original singles and a Chloe Martini remix. Two singles from the album, a slick fusion of R&B and electro-grime, and the follow-up ‘Gemini’, became hits. The UK music industry sat up and took notice when she was featured as the main vocalist in the song ‘Rockabye’ by Clean Bandit and her 2022-release ‘Psycho’ with Aitish became a Tik-Toker’s delight.
The Indian connection
Anne-Marie collaborated with singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh last year for the song ‘Peaches’. “I met him in London and loved him and ended up doing the song ‘Peaches’. It was a beautiful experience, his voice is just incredible,” says Anne-Marie who found her voice and feet while collaborating with musicians like Snakeships, Marshmello and Clean Bandit. “It was a process of gaining experience and perspective that helped me find my own voice. Once I knew what I wanted to write about and that I wanted to treat my music as a diary, I was ready. Those collaborations made it a little less scary having dipped a toe in the water.”
Her voice has an intense pitch and a soothing tonal quality while her lyrics containa sensitivity that’s not compromised for her oeuvre. Her track ‘Perfect’ talks about accepting imperfect bodies. “It is one of my favourite songs. Around the time of writing it, I’d been watching some women talk about body confidence on YouTube and they were so inspiring. I wanted to write a song about the trap of perfection without it coming across as preachy or annoying. It’s such a common insecurity but I knew I needed to get specific about my experience too, so I included everything I’m embarrassed about and put it right in there. Hopefully, some people can listen to it and be gentler and more accepting of themselves. Flaws are what make us beautiful.”
Taking up Karate
Anne Marie, who started Karate very young, says she was immediately taken by it. “Neither of my parents do it but they encouraged me as I enjoyed it so much! I fell in love with Karate early on — I was only 9 — and that was it! I was hooked from that point, nothing else got a look in.”
She released her debut EP titled Karate in 2015 with three original singles and a Chloe Martini remixes. Two singles from the album, a fusion of R&B and electro-grime, and the follow-up ‘Gemini’, put Anne-Marie on pop charts. “It was my first release so it was so exciting. It was a crazy whirlwind! I still love those songs now, “ recalls Anne Marie.
Anne-Marie shared her experiences in her You Deserve Better – An Imperfect Guide to Finding Your Happiness in which she shared her experiences during the pandemic lockdowns. “I’ve always tried to be as honest and open in my music as I can, and I think the community of fans I have built is based around that too. We share problems and help each other; there’s so much support and goodwill there. I wanted to write something that would encompass the support we have exchanged, plus everything I learned after undergoing therapy for the first time during lockdown and how it changed my life. There were a lot of things I thought would be helpful to pass on to fans and to have available in one place. Hopefully, people have found it beneficial!”
Anne Marie’s been an athlete, singer and author at different stages of life but loves to be known as a musician first. “I can’t imagine life without music,” she says.