Frettie loves to interviewing songwriters. This month we had the opportunity to interview singer and songwriter Anthony Mossburg. He gave us an inside look into when he wrote his first song, how he stays inspired, and the story behind his already popular song "Whiskey & Wine", which will be released on his upcoming album.
Q: Where do you call home?
Q: Where did you grow up?
New Matamoras, OH
Q: How did you get started in songwriting?
I wrote my first song in Mass Media class in college. This was simply to express some different feelings. I had no intention of ever playing them for anyone...ever.
Q: Did you have any parents, siblings or was someone else in your family musical?
Not really, my ex-step dad had a few guitars laying around when I was little, but for the most part I taught myself how to play off of the internet. I just googled songs that I liked and tried to duplicate what I heard.
Q: What's your songwriting process typical like?
The process that I have found works the best for me is almost random in the beginning. I'm just trying different tunings, instruments, made up words, singing out of my key. This is to basically spark creativity. Once I find something I like, I try to make a "shell" of a song with it (verse, chorus, bridge..). Once the "shell" is done, I go back through and listen to the "shell" and then I tighten up the lyrics. This is where I make sure it communicates the feeling of the song and what I'm trying to say.
Q: Do you have an ideal setup for writing music?
So far my ideal setup is just myself and my guitar. I try not to put too much pressure on coming up with something in a certain amount of time. I would rather just keep it about myself and my guitar. This allows me to have fun and play whatever comes to mind. I don't ever want to be afraid to chase an idea. When I put a lot of pressure on myself, I tend to be more safe. However, when I'm just relaxing and playing guitar the ideas being to flow.
Q: What book(s) or blogs are you currently reading?
I'm not a huge reader. I recently finished "Father Time" by Mitch Albom. I only follow a couple of blogs. My favorite is my good buddy's Jake Kaufman's blog ( www.jkstories.com ). This definitely keeps me on my toes!
Q: Who are your top three favorite artists or songwriters?
Ben Howard, Mat Kearney and Ben Rector.
Q: What albums are you currently listening to?
Lately, I have been listening to a lot of Ben Howard. Can't get enough of his album "Every Kingdom". Others that I have been listening to lately would be James Vincent McMorrow's "Early in the Morning", Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors", and Shawn McDonald's "The Analog Sessions".
Q: How do you stay inspired?
I really get inspired by other musicians and writers. Listening to, and watching artists that blow my mind. This has always inspired me. Live music definitely inspires me as well. I also try to find inspiration in my day to day life. Although, that one can be a little more difficult. I generally have to take a closer look into my day to day living, then I can almost always find something inspiring to write about.
Q: What is your biggest challenge as a songwriter?
I would have to say laziness, honestly. My mind expects songs to just jump out of me in 20 minutes. These last few years have taught me a lot about ironing out songs, and turning songwriting into a craft. I think my natural mindset will always be to "just finish it" vs. giving it time and working hard on the song. I will always have to stay aware of this.
Q: What time of day do you prefer to write your music and where?
Well, I would prefer to write my music in the morning or during the day. However, I find myself writing around the same time I plan to go to sleep. I'll lay in bed and just grab my guitar and start picking around. Although, I've found this is a terrible pattern for sleeping, it seems to be the time when I'm most creative.
Q: What's your favorite memory as a songwriter or musician?
That's a tough questions. I would probably have to say the very first time I ever played publicly. I was kind of pushed into playing at my church when I was 19. I couldn't have been more nervous. Growing up I would get nervous when complete strangers would sing, so to be doing it myself was terrifying! But it ended up being one of the most encouraging times for me. I'll always remember being scared to death, but really feeling alive at the same time.
Q: How do you maintain your professional growth?
That has been a struggle for me, honestly. I have a manager who helps keep most of that professing along. It's a long process for sure. Finding out what works, what doesn't work, and continuing forward. The main thing I have discovered through the process is that… If you act like an amateur, people will treat you like one. If you act like a professional, people will treat you like a professional.
Q: What are some of your greatest accomplishments to date?
I have had the opportunity to open for some amazing artists and bands (Skillet, Red, Switchfoot) and have also been privileged to write with some amazing songwriters. One of the songs on my new CD is a co-write with Shawn McDonald. However, if had to pick one, would have to say my greatest accomplishment to date is that I am able to do this for a living. It's by no means a high living, but it's one of the most rewarding things. No matter where life takes me in the future, I will always view my time as a full time musician as one of the greatest accomplishments in my life.
Q: If you could provide any advice to up and coming songwriters, what would it be?
My main advice would be to be themselves. I have noticed a lot of people trying to emulate other artists lately. There's nothing more unique and captivating than someone who is completely comfortable being completely themselves. Just be yourself.
Q: What online tools do you use today for songwriting?
Besides Frettie, I have an app on my computer called "Songwriter". It's a very helpful tool. It breaks your songs down into all the different sections, and also has a place to record every part of the song individually. It has helped me so much with this new CD. I recommend it.
Q: How does being a songwriter on Frettie benefit you and the songwriting community?
I am very self conscious of my songs and any new music that I put out. Frettie is a great community where I feel I can share my music and be myself, while receiving helpful feedback. Frettie also makes it possible to stay connected to a songwriting community no matter where you are.
Q: What's next for you?
I will be releasing a new CD on Feb 7th! I've spent the last couple of years writing for it. I recored it in the fall, and now I am finally ready to release it! I'll be doing a release concert at the Smoot Theatre in Parkersburg, WV on Feb. 6th at 7:00pm.
Q: Your song "Whisky & Wine" from your upcoming album is already proving to be a hit with your fans and other songwriters. Can you tell us more about the process and experience of writing that song?
"Whiskey & Wine" is a song I started writing after watching the movie "Walk the Line". It's a movie about the life of Johnny Cash. After watching the movie and doing some research on his life, and also June Carter's life, I realized that Johnny Cash had this rebelious and outlaw spirit. However, June Carter was much more safe. After learning this, I realized that I have a lot of similarities with Johnny Cash, and I tend to run into a lot of people who are more like June. So that is how the song developed. I originally scrapped the song. I didn't think it would connect with the crowds. But over time, as I began to focus more on crafting songs and caring less about fitting into a specific genre, I brought that song back and finished it. I am happy I did. It has quickly become my most popular song, and also a favorite to play!
Q: Thanks for your time Anthony. We look forward to connecting with you more on Frettie. Where can readers find you online to keep updated on what you are doing if they choose to?
My website is www.anthonymossburg.com. I'm also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Frettie and all those other sites.
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Interview conducted by The Frettie Team. If you are interested in being interviewed for our next “Songwriter Showcase”, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.