There is this throwback 1960s television series called That Girl, which I love binge-watching with my mom on weekends. We can spend hours upon hours at a time watching old episodes of this spunky series, which stars Marlo Thomas as the aspiring young actress Ann Marie who is hoping for any break at all into the entertainment industry. Her story is beyond relatable and captivating, because we see all the misadventures of a modern young woman doing any odd job or unexpected gig just to follow her show business dreams. Doing whatever she wants, on her own terms.
Why I’m telling you all this is because in the earliest pilot episodes, Ann Marie goes through an identity crisis about her name. Marie is her actual last name — just ask her dad! But when she goes on auditions and introduces herself as “Ann Marie,” she’s met with confusion. “Ann Marie… what?” casting agents ask her. (Keep in mind, this show was before the extreme popularization of mononymous celebrities, maybe only Cher was already holding down the trend.) Ann was advised to pick a stage name that would help her stand out, sound less “common,” and avoid all that last name perplexion. She really does consider it, trying out all kinds of catchy and flashy surnames, but she eventually realizes how much it would hurt her family. Was she ashamed of her name? Or the family behind it? So she doesn’t take the shortcut, she sets out to “make a name for herself” using her simple but powerful name.
Which brings me to the point of this article, I promise. If you’ve been following radio mega-hits lately, you know that the name Anne-Marie has now started surfacing all over the music world. If you listened to my 60s sitcom tale above (bless your heart), you already know what I said when I first heard her: Anne-Marie… what? Except in 2018, we’re talking about Anne-Marie Rose Nicholson, a UK-based performer with names first, middle, and last that are all commonly recognized — but put together, we’ve got a star.
You’ve heard Anne-Marie in singles so far, like Clean Bandit and Sean Paul‘s track “Rockabye,” and on the current radio smash hit, Marshmello‘s “Friends.” Of course, her vocals slayed, and those are some all-star collaborators. But yesterday, the star-in-the-making just dropped her debut album, Speak Your Mind. The album is about doing whatever you need to, and whatever you want. Making up, breaking up, and coming out stronger; letting yourself be petty sometimes (and telling others to eff off when that’s the appropriate reaction); and practicing self-love while also knowing your worth so you can demand it from others — and never settle for anything less. It’s all her authentic self, and you really can’t ask for anything more from an artist on their official debut.
While listening through her infectious tracklist, I had a realization moment: for me, funny enough, Anne-Marie is That Girl. 2018’s version of the girl following her big dreams, wherever they take her. The one with the big voice — and more importantly, something to say with it. She’s simultaneously the recipe for radio gold, and unlike anything I’ve ever heard before. The one that nobody’s ever going to say “Anne-Marie… who?” because they’ll just already know.
It’s really exciting, and I’m proud to be a fan sitting back and enjoying her rise to that point.
If you’re still getting to know the artist’s name, I highly recommend you play through the “This Is Anne-Marie” Spotify playlist below. If you love it, make sure to give it a purchase — because like I always say: when we support artists, we all win!