THE ANNIE HASLAM STORY
After growing up in the industrial town of Bolton, Lancashire in England, the daughter of Annie and George, Annie developed into a singer songwriter with credits worthy of some of the most well known entertainers in the world. To backtrack a little, her working class roots were to give her a foundation that would serve her well later in life. She would travel the world and be introduced to many situations and nationalities far away from her homeland. A career in music was to be the biggest gift that would be bestowed on her. Her father was an amateur comedian/singer (with a beautiful tenor voice) and her mother a gentle, quiet woman who had once been a nurse while aspiring to be an acrobatic dancer. Both had encouraged Annie in whatever they saw her drawn to, which was pretty unique in the days when most families needed their grown children to work to bring food home to the table. This, after all, was a working class family. Clearly a strong devotion to the upbringing and the consideration of her own life needs were to help Annie on her path forward within the realms of creativity.
Annie has two brothers, both gifted in their own way. Keith is a very gifted artist and made a name for himself in Canada where he worked as a graphic designer, designing packaging for some well-known products that later became household names. He really should have pursued a career in comedy as his personality is very funny and infectious. He has been a Hare Krsna devotee for many years now and uses his talents within the structure of that religion.
Michael, also a singer with a very powerful melodic voice was signed up by Brian Epstein in the 60’s and was fortunate enough to be included in several of the Beatles Christmas Shows. Annie would hear her brother practicing at home not realizing that one day she too would be singing professionally. A ballet dancer, nurse and later a dress designer were the only careers on her mind, the latter being the only one that she actually pursued with enthusiasm after attending art school in Cornwall in the late 60’s.
In the early 70’s Annie was to find out that not only did she have a talent for dress design, but she also had a hidden talent for singing, which was discovered after her sister in law (also a singer), heard her singing along with the music at the end of the TV show in the UK called ‘The Saint’. This encouragement led Annie to her first singing position at the ‘Showboat in the Strand’ (A cabaret style dinner theater). After six months here she went for an audition in Surrey with a rather unusual band called ‘Renaissance’. Annie’s unique style of singing captured the members of the band and she was immediately offered the job as lead singer. From that moment on her life would never be the same.
This was the beginning of a whole new life for Annie. She would now embark on her musical adventures that took her across most of the world, and which brought her to such wonderful venues as The Royal Albert Hall in London and Carnegie Hall in New York, performing with The Royal Philharmonic and The New York Philharmonic Orchestras, respectively. The music created by ‘Renaissance’ was something that became very unique and would stand the test of time. During the period with the band, Annie was to record her first solo Album.
In 1977 ‘Annie in Wonderland’ was created, produced, performed and recorded by The Move and ELO Founder member Roy Wood. This was a turning point in Annie’s career as Roy opened up new avenues and styles of singing that Annie had not tried before. This album is a joy.
Her second solo album in 1985, presented light classical pieces put to words and music arranged and conducted by Louis Clark. This has to be one of the highlights of Annie’s career, as it led to her recording with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra with whom she had already performed with back in the ‘Renaissance’ days, and so to do her own project with them was a very special achievement. The album was entitled ‘Still Life’.
In 1987 ‘Renaissance’ disbanded and in the following year Annie started to make plans to form her own band and return to North America. Instrumental in helping Annie form this new band, was Raphael Rudd, who had performed on keyboards and harp in the latter days of ‘Renaissance.’ Sadly he passed away in a car accident in 2002, but is fondly remembered as a major force in the early stages of Annie’s solo career and is greatly missed. Rave Tesar (keyboards), one of the members from the initial band, is still performing with Annie. Joe Goldberger, who played drums with Annie from 1987, sadly moved to LA in 2001 and therefore had to leave the band. Charles Descarfino was recruited as the new drummer. He had played with Annie previously in her solo shows and in the latter days of ‘Renaissance’.
In 1989, a record deal was secured with EPIC Records. This album was simply entitled ‘Annie Haslam’, and was to be her stepping stone to another major life change. The Album was licensed to Virgin Records in Japan which led to a tour of several major Japanese cities with ‘The Annie Haslam Band’. Soon after this very successful trip, Annie moved to North America where she is still residing.
In 1992 she started writing songs with record producer Tony Visconti, but was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after they started recording demos. This did not deter her; in fact the music that was written and recorded during this period was instrumental in getting her through all the uncomfortable experiences that came with the chemotherapy and radiation. Music played a big part in her recovery process. During Annie’s recuperation, a record deal was secured in Japan for ‘Blessing in Disguise’. This CD, containing nine songs co-written by Annie, captures many of the emotions that she had lived through. ‘Blessing in Disguise’ came out in the U.S and Canada in 1995 and has also been released in England on HTD Records and in Europe on Castle Records.
Back in control of her health, Annie became involved in a ‘YES’ tribute CD where she would record with Steve Howe, the ‘classic’ song ‘Turn of the Century’. This led to Annie and Steve Howe writing material for an album together. Although the album is unfinished at this time, blending the melodic style of Steve’s incredible guitar playing with Annie’s ethereal five octave voice makes this project very unique. Their association was to take a strange twist in 1995. After being so moved by a TV program on orphans in Bosnia, Annie had been compelled to call ‘Inside Edition’, (a TV news magazine show in the states). A connection was made that would lead to Annie organizing a benefit concert in New York in aid of these unfortunate children in Sarajevo. The concert was put together with the help of ‘20th Century Guitar Magazine’ who later did a wonderful spread to record the evening’s events. It was a huge success and was held at Irving Plaza (kindly donated for the