Raised in North Minneapolis, Annie Mack found her way into the tough and competitive music industry by traveling as far as Switzerland to get the experience she needed to grow her talent.

Her singing career began to soar in 2017 after the release of her CD, “Tell It Like It Is.” Mack considers herself a vocalist and a band leader – and it is in the second role that she essentially runs a business.

As band leader, Mack's role is to network with bands she knows or have been referred to her. She responds to inquiries from venues. She's responsible for contract negotiations. She sets prices – usually contingent on the size of the venue, the hours she is asked to perform, and whether it's inside or outdoors.

She negotiates compensation for herself and her band members. Sometimes that includes lodging, transportation and food per diems. She doesn't perform for weddings.

Mack's mother was an activist who loved music and politics. Her mother was her inspiration. Mack uses her music to express what’s happening, but the pandemic has taken away her voice for now. Her commitment to music is simply that she "wanted to do something that she loved before leaving this earth.”

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Her music, as many readers know, finds its foundation in blues and American roots. Blues was how Blacks could express a sense of freedom – a way to express their stories without being controlled. The instruments commonly used have origins in Africa. Mack attributes her music to "respecting my internal voice and respecting the truth.”

Mack is well known in Rochester music circles. She performs at the Rosemary and Meredith Wilson Harmony for Mayo Concert Series, Mayo Clinic fundraisers and other events. She's performed at Forager Brewery, Thursdays on First and Third, Down by the Riverside and the Rochester Civic Theatre, to name just a few venues. “Rochester advanced my growth,” she says. Her music attracts a diverse audience, something she really enjoys.

Mack's mission is “to be a voice for those that don’t have a voice.” Post-George Floyd, Mack says music is her activism. It’s a tool that she shares with the universe. She doesn't consider herself a traditional musician. She said, “life is precious, and my music will forever represent my truth.”

Mack is available for private and public events. If you are interested in having her perform, contact her through her website, www.anniemackmusic.com, or her Facebook page.

Katherine Sublett is a freelance writer in Winona.