Anne Steele’s EP ‘What’s Mine’

Anne Steele
Award-winning singer Anne Steele has been going places for some time

What’s Mine, Anne Steele’s EP release of original music is a treat, especially for LGBT listeners.

Award-winning singer Anne Steele has been going places for some time. From Shelbyville, Indiana, with a working stint in Nashville TN, to the New York piano bar and cabaret scene, to the LGBT cruise circuit, Steele has gathered fans and accolades along the way. Steele can sing anything, anywhere—from the Great American Songbook to jazz standards, to Broadway to Kelly Clarkson’s pop ballads.

But for the first time she’s trying something completely different: material with a very personal touch. And just like Steele, it’s fun, feel-good, heartfelt—and a treat for gays and lesbians. Curve caught up with Steele for the release of her new EP, What’s Mine.


You’re well known as a clever interpreter of some of our favorite pop singers such as Pink and Sara Bareilles. What made you take the leap and create original material?

I have always wanted to write my own material. I guess I just never felt brave enough to take the leap. It is a whole other level of exposing yourself to the world when you sing your own words. I have such a respect for songwriters. To reach deep inside and share your heart and soul with people and just hope that they like what you are saying or that they will understand where you are coming from…it was very scary to me.


Can you share a little about the songwriting process with us? What inspires you or creates a trigger to write it all down?

I started with my old journals. I brought excerpts to my co-writer and producer Erik James, and we went through the pages and talked about where I was then and where I am now. He became inspired to write the music based on those words…and we went from there.


The title track “What’s Mine” sounds very peppy—and generally the whole album is terrifically upbeat and triumphant. But the lyrics tell another story. Where were you then, and where are you now in your life?

Well, if you really listen to the lyrics to “What’s Mine” it came from a difficult place. I wrote those lyrics about a time in my life when I didn’t fit in. I grew up in a small town in Indiana and I knew I was different and didn’t know quite why. I felt smothered by what everyone wanted me to be.

This song is all about telling people like me that if you just hang in there, you WILL find your place in the world. That it DOES get better. I have found my world where I belong and where I am surrounded by people who love me for who I am. I have an incredible wife, Kelli Carpenter, and kids that I never thought would be possible. THAT is the message of this song. So yes, we wrote it to be upbeat but with a strong message.

Who were your greatest inspirations for this album?

When I first met with my producer Erik, I told him I wanted to make a pop album that was inspired by Kelly Clarkson, Pink and Sara Bareilles all mixed into one.  I love the way Kelly Clarkson has songs that make you want to jump in the club.  Pink has such grit and heart in her music. Mostly, I love Sara Bareilles’ lyrics and melodies. She kills me. If I could draw from each of these incredibly different artists, I would make the record I always wanted to create and I truly believe we did.


Speaking of inspiration, “Worst I Ever Had” is quite the breakup song. What’s the story behind it?

The story is about my first girlfriend I ever had. We were together for 9 years and we simply stayed too long. You know how we lesbians like to do that! Eventually everyone wants out yet no one can walk away. Then it gets ugly. I can’t tell you specifics, however the song pretty much says it all. It was an incredibly cathartic song to write and I truly hope people are able to hear it and release some of their demons right along with me!


“Tough” has a really big sound…Who is the rest of the team behind the album and what did they each bring to creating the sound?

I had an incredible team. We actually recorded the EP in Austin, TX with some of the most talented musicians I have ever met. It all started with my co-writer, producer and all around brilliant musician Erik James. He is an old friend of mine from NYC piano bars and we were so excited to do this project together. He brought in Kevin Benoit, who is an incredible guitarist and bassist. He and Erik also engineered, mixed and mastered the entire EP. Then add in David Sierra on drums and it made for a killer sound that I am so proud of.


What is the most revealing, personal or heartfelt song on the album for you?

I have such a special connection to “What’s Mine” not just because I wrote it but because it’s about my life. It’s about what was then and what is now. It was a long road, and it wasn’t always easy. I just think it’s important to tell people that feel the way I did that it’s not forever, it’s just for now. That if you keep going you can make your own life.


We’re delighted to see that you’ve included a gay anthem in the mix! “Don’t Tell Us How to Love” is amazing! How did that happen?

I didn’t actually write “Don’t Tell Us How To Love”. The lyrics were written by a songwriter named Charlie Mason,  \who approached me and asked me to sing his songs. I heard this one and KNEW I had to sing it. My producer Erik changed it around a bit to make it our own, and this is what we created.

I said from the beginning that I wanted a gay anthem on this record because I know how it feels to hear a song that connects to you on that level. There is nothing better than dancing it out to a song you feel represents the struggle and the fight for equality.  We have come so far, but the journey continues. We must continue to fight. This is something I can offer—to support and encourage the continued fight for equality.


Where are you taking What’s Mine in 2015?

I have a lot of tour dates coming up. I will be in Chicago and Boston in May, on an R Family Vacations cruise in July, on an RSVP cruise in August and lots of more dates to announce soon.