At the age of 14, Anna Troy and her 13-year-old sister Lindsey performed as a duo called the Troys. They cut a demo and landed a major recording contract with Elektra. “The Troys were going to be, like, the next pop stars,” Anna says. A music video was made. Singles from the forthcoming record were released. And then, nothing. For whatever reason, the Troys were shelved. When it was all said and done, how did she feel? “Elektra was a great opportunity, but it was a struggle. I wanted to be independent and have control of my art. Ten guys in their 60s in suits telling you what to do? When that was over, it was a humongous relief.”
With the Troys on hiatus, Anna set out reinventing herself — as a blues singer. “People actually said that the reason I got signed was because I was cute. The blues was my way of saying I wanted to be respected.” She began to collaborate with area blues notables such as Nathan James. The experience exorcised any remnants of adolescence from her voice and added smoke and texture. When I tell her that I wrote her off back then as having dead-ended her career with an irrelevant genre, she replies, “Every great rock band that ever existed, they all played blues.”
Nearly a decade after the Elektra boondoggle, Anna Troy is back to making great pop music, this time with a mentor named Greg Douglass. Late of the Steve Miller Band, the elder guitarist has brought a welcome ’80s rock feel to the mix, and the new band is a secure nest for Troy’s flourishing vocal gifts. The response? For the most part, positive. “Everyone has a different opinion,” she says. “But I don’t really want to be pigeonholed into a blues category. I’d rather break out of that and head in new directions.”
ANNA TROY: The Casbah, Sunday, December 28, 7 p.m. 619-232-4355. No cover.