We met up with singer/songwriter Anthony Mossburg, who will be releasing his new album "Crazy" in just a couple of weeks, to talk about the album, his life, his TWO very succesful Kickstarter campaigns...and even how he relates to 50 Cent.
The Fan Connection (TFC): Hi Anthony! We're really excited to do this interview with you today. We were listening to your music in the office. You have new fans here at TFC.
Anthony Mossburg: Hey guys! Thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the new songs and chat for a bit. I'll definitely have to stop in next time I'm coming through your neck of the woods!
TFC: Let's start by letting our readers get to know you a bit. You're from Columbus OH, correct?
Anthony: I am. I have been living in Columbus for 3 years now. I was born in Fairmont, WV and raised in a small town in Ohio called New Matamoras. We have one stop light and right around 900 people in my hometown, so moving to Columbus was a big change for me. It has taken some getting used to, but I'm definitely glad I decided to move up here!
TFC: What was it like growing up in Ohio, and how did your hometown influence your music?
Anthony: I know the midwest can get a reputation of being boring, but I honestly wouldn't have wanted to grow up anywhere else. While I was growing up I don't think I realized how fortunate I was to be surrounded by such good people. Now that I have grown up and moved away, I really hold tight to those memories and they are consistently coming out in my songwriting. My Mom and Grandma both call me out on it regularly...that a good amount of my songs reference being a kid or life back when I was home.
TFC: At about what age did you start playing music, and what was the direct inspiration for that?
Anthony: When I was 9 years old I picked up an acoustic guitar for the first time. I would just go online and google "guitar tabs" for my favorite songs. The first song I learned was Pink Floyd's "Wish You Were Here". I don't think I really knew what I was doing at the time, I just seemed to be able to learn pretty quickly and had fun playing. It really wasn't until I was 18 or 19 that I really started taking it seriously. It was nice because by the time I decided I wanted to take it seriously, I could already play and sing. I had a pretty solid foundation to build off of musically.
TFC: Everyone, as a musician, goes through stages of change throughout their career. What have some of yours been, and how have they helped to move you along on your journey?
Anthony: I have been doing this full-time for 4 and a half years now and I have experienced some of the highest highs and the lowest lows. I've been through stages where I feel like I should quit, and other stages where it seems like things couldn't go better. Going through these different stages has taught me to stay very focused and level-headed. It's easy to get caught up in people's opinion of you, especially in music. You'll go crazy if you live off of people's opinions though, good or bad. I've had to experience the good and the bad to learn to stay focused no matter what people say.
TFC: What's the live music scene like in your city? Do you play out much locally?
Anthony: Columbus is a great city for live music. It's constantly growing and there are some insanely talented people here. I am part of an organization called the Columbus Songwriters Association and it has really been one of the best things for me since moving up here. It introduced me to other songwriters and also challenged me to be a better writer as well. I have played out a decent amount in Columbus, but I have kind of been waiting until this new album to be released to really push and play a ton in this area. Playing in your hometown is a little more intimidating because all of your friends are there, so I really wanted to put my best foot forward!
"Playing live is my favorite part of this entire thing. Nothing beats being able to play and really connect with people. All of my songs come from personal experience, so it's always fun for me to be able to share stories about each song."
TFC: Have you toured yet, or are there plans for a tour anytime soon?
Anthony: I have toured a good amount in the past. The plan is to release the new album and really focus on online activity and social media, then set up a tour off of that. Playing live is my favorite part of this entire thing. Nothing beats being able to play and really connect with people. All of my songs come from personal experience, so it's always fun for me to be able to share stories about each song.
TFC: We've talked with hundreds of musicians at all different levels in their careers. One common factor we see is that everyone, regardless of how "big" they are, needs a certain level of "normal" every now and then. Who are your "go to" normal people? Who do you love to just sit down and chill with when you need to get away from the constant push forward?
Anthony: Having a consistent "normal" is probably one of the most important things for me. I have a group of friends that usually hang out with every Wednesday. Nothing fancy, just relaxing and hanging out. I'm also really close with my Mom and Grandma, so I try to consistently make trips to visit them both. There have been a few times where I'll get stressed or frustrated, and being home for a bit is all it takes to refuel and get back on my feet. I'm still really close to a few friends from grade school, so any time I'm home I make sure to see them as well. I'm always trying to push forward and it can make you focus on yourself too much. It's good to have those times where you can just relax and be yourself. Without that I would lose it.
TFC: Now, we have some classified information, but we're going to put it out there for release now because...well, that's fun. We've heard that you played football from grade school all the way through college, but had to STOP playing because you had somehow won yourself too many CONCUSSIONS! Tell us...what classifies as "too many"? Most of us were thinking...ONE.
Anthony: Haha, that's very true. I started playing football in 4th grade, and played into college. During all of that time I accrued 10 concussions. At the time they didn't really take concussions that seriously, which is crazy to think about now. I remember after my very first one...I didn't even miss a game. I'm glad they are looking into it more seriously now, but I definitely took some shots while I was playing! I still love football though, and can't wait for the season to start!
TFC: What was college life like for you (other than the obvious ER trips from the field)?
Anthony: My college life was definitely unique, to say the least. I attended 4 different colleges in 4 years. I originally was only going to college to play football, and once that was gone I didn't really know what I wanted to do. I changed majors multiple different times, until I ultimately dropped out to pursue a music career. So 4 years of college got me 10 concussions and 0 college degrees! Impressive, right?
TFC: Yep! We would say so. Many artists turn to crowdfunding for album releases, tour expenses, video shoots, and the list goes on and on. You had a VERY successful run on Kickstarter for your upcoming album. How much did you raise, and if you'd like, give the readers a few tips on how to run a successful Kickstarter campaign.
Anthony: This was my second time running a Kickstarter campaign, and thankfully both went extremely well. For my last album I needed to raise $6,000 and we actually raised over $7,000! For this album, I really wanted to go for a home run. I wanted to give these songs every chance to succeed, and to do that it costs a lot of money. For the new album I needed to raise $17,000, which is obviously a huge increase from the first campaign. We had raised about 65% of the goal with 4 days left to reach our goal. By the time the campaign ended, we actually raised over $18,000! I have the best family, friends, and fans someone could ask for. There's no way I could do this without them! I think the biggest things to focus on to have a successful crowdfunding campaign is being upfront, honest, and sincere. It's really difficult to admit that you need help doing something, but there are a lot of people who want to help. There is no way for them to help if you don't let them know and give them the opportunity.
TFC: Your first few releases were in the mainstream Christian genre. Tell us about the change from that to where you are now. Are there specific differences?
Anthony: To me it really doesn't feel like much of a change, only because the process is the same to me. If anything, I am just digging deeper into who I am and trying to be more honest. A few years ago I was trying to write for a new album, but everything I came up with was a little too personal or too far outside of the CCM genre. I went about a year and a half without writing any songs at all before I finally stopped trying to fit into any genre. This isn't a knock on the Christian genre, I just didn't fit in it. I went to a ton of conferences and songwriting workshops, all of which I left feeling discouraged because I didn't sound or write like anyone else. So I stopped trying to fit in to anything and go my own way, which is a lot of the meaning behind the song and title of the new album, "Crazy".
TFC: Your sound to us is a combination of singer/songwriter, country and pop. Who are some of your musical influences and role models?
Anthony: When it comes to influences I am all over the place! I grew up on 90's country, and I still go back to those songs today. I loved their ability to tell stories and have meaning in their lyrics. Once I got into junior high and high school, I went through a ton of different phases. Rock, country, acoustic, rap...you name it, I was into it at some point. I even had a pair of G-unit (50 Cent's group) shoes when I was in high school, which is as embarrassing as it sounds. I eventually evened out and have really come to love the singer/songwriter genre, and my favorite artist of all time is Ben Howard. In my mind, he kills it in every way...songwriting, performing, and guitar playing. That's my goal as an artist and songwriter.
TFC: You're about to release your new album titled "Crazy". That's always exciting! We can start looking for that late May, is that correct?
Anthony: Absolutely! We started recording the first week of January, and May 27th it will finally be released! This is by far the hardest I have worked on a project and I can't wait to be able to share it with everyone!
TFC: We had a "sneak peek" here at TFC, and we LOVE it. Tell us about the recording process, your favorite and least favorite parts of that process, and anything special about this album you'd like the readers to know.
Anthony: Thank you so much. I really appreciate you guys taking a listen and I'm glad you enjoyed it! This was the longest recording process I have been a part of, which was both good and bad. The good part was that we took our time and did everything the right way. The bad part is that I am impatient and I tend to overthink things, so the more time I had with these songs, the more I start to question my decisions. I worked with an extremely talented producer/engineer named Brandon Bankes at Earthwork Recording Studio in Newark, OH and he helped keep me sane during this process.
TFC: Your record runs a theme of mature songwriting and smart lyricism. Did you write the material on this album or is some of it written by other songwriters.
Anthony: I wrote every song on the album. I have done a couple of songwriting sessions, but not many. So far I have only released one song that I didn't write by myself. It's a song called "Wherever You Are" from my last album. I wrote it with a friend of mine named Shawn McDonald. I really enjoy the challenge of finishing a song on my own, however I think co-writing can be great if the right people are writing together!
"Originally I wasn't even going to put it on the record, but in our pre-production meeting I played it for the band and producer and they made me finish it. Looking back I'm extremely glad they made me do that because it is one of my favorites for sure."
TFC: You cover a lot of thematic ground on this record from the nostalgic "When We Were Kids" to the journey of finding yourself in "Radio" to the inspirational feel of "These Waters". What are a couple of favorites of yours on this album and what is the story behind them?
Anthony: It's so hard to pick favorites for me. Each one definitely has elements that I enjoy more than others. But, I would have to chose "Tornado" as one of the top ones. It is by far the most personal song on the album for me. I also really like "Dancing With Fire". Originally I wasn't even going to put it on the record, but in our pre-production meeting I played it for the band and producer and they made me finish it. Looking back I'm extremely glad they made me do that because it is one of my favorites for sure.
TFC: Are there videos being planned for any singles?
Anthony: There are! I have never done a full real music video. So far it has only been live performance videos. We are setting everything up now, but we should have a video for "Tornado" done in the near future! I don't want to give a false timeline, so I'll make sure to let you guys know when it comes out!
TFC: Yes, please do so we can let the fans know. Speaking of fans...fans are the single most important part of an artist pushing his or her way through the masses in this industry. What can you tell us about your fans? In what ways have they really helped you move ahead thus far?
Anthony: I seriously have the best support! Like I mentioned before in the Kickstarter question, I absolutely could not have done any of this without their support. For independent artists like myself, they are the driving force behind any success I have. Whether it's donating on Kickstarter, spreading the word about my music, or showing up to shows, they are the reason I am able to do what I do for a living. I could not say it enough...THANK YOU!
TFC: As you may already know, The Fan Connection is a social media/e-commerce website geared strictly towards artist and their fans. Over the course of the next year, we will be releasing some pretty cool features. A few of which are professionally run Fan Clubs and on-demand merch stores at no cost to the artist, as well as live video streaming, a new music player with radio-like format, and private group chat. Of the few listed here, which ones do you think will be most beneficial to you, as an artist, and why?
Anthony: All of those sound awesome. For me, I think the one that stands out would be the private chat. I always love getting to talk to fans, both new and old. Music comes to life more when you know who and where it is coming from. I would love to be able to talk to and hear from people who are enjoying my music!
TFC: We will let you know when we roll out that feature! Anthony, it's been a pleasure, and we will definitely be keeping up with you.
Anthony: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with me. I'll be letting you know when I'm down your way!
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