Like many musicians, Warren-based singer-songwriter Brooke Annibale encountered some serious obstacles during the pandemic. But rather than let it keep her down, she turned the hard times into an inspired new album release, Better By Now, which has earned positive reviews from national outlets like the Wall Street Journal, Billboard, and NPR’s World Café.
Music has been front and center in Annibale’s life for as long as she can remember. With the new album and a European tour in the works for November, the Pittsburgh native is finally hitting her stride, gaining widespread recognition for her work.
“I started making music when I picked up the guitar for the first time at age 14,” says Annibale. “I’d been writing songs prior to that, but never played an instrument. I gravitated toward the guitar because it’s in my family – my grandfather played guitar and taught lessons. I took lessons at the shop that he started and never looked back. I learned enough chords to write songs and started making music as soon as I could.”
Though her career was sidelined over the past two or three years, the new release is primarily a product of the pandemic. “I started writing some songs before, but I wrote most of it in 2020 and 2021. A wide spectrum of emotions, feelings, and thoughts went into each song,” Annibale explains. “I had a lot of plans for 2020, including a European tour [in April 2020] that got canceled. I thought, well that’s okay, I’ll have more time to spend planning my wedding, and, of course, that also did not happen.”
Annibale describes the album as “50 percent about falling in love and 50 percent about depression and anxiety. I had that extra time to focus on making new music. It was a struggle for a bit – it was hard to concentrate on anything, but it led to a lot of insight about the chaos that was happening in the world and how that was affecting our mental health. It’s a journey that I feel I’m on every day,” she adds.
“At the same time, I was writing about falling in love with my wife and dreaming about our wedding day, so all of these things were happening simultaneously, which contributed to this spectrum of emotions,” says Annibale.
The album is a step forward for an indie musician who has shared the stage with artists like Iron & Wine, Lucius, and Rufus Wainwright. She has plans to play some local shows with her trio this winter. Meanwhile, you can follow along and stream the latest album online.
As for why Annibale – like so many other musicians and artists – chose Warren to be home, she says the reasons are personal. “My wife is from the Tiverton area, so I moved up here about four years ago. We first bought a house in Providence, and just over a year ago moved to Warren. I love living in Warren,” she says. “Rhode Island’s great.” BrookeAnnibale.com
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