Successful singer Annmarie Cullen from indie band Saucy Monky

Annmarie, a talented Irish singer with a powerful, melodic voice has crafted a successful music career in the US. From working as a solo artist to forming the band Saucy Monky with close friend Cynthia Catania, Annmarie has had a unique journey. After getting her degree in Ireland she quickly headed over to the US to "give it all up for rock and roll".

Interview with Annmarie

Iain: How did you establish yourself as an independent artist?

Annmarie: I established myself as an independent artist out of necessity at first, and then I grew to love being one. Initially I had a songwriting deal with Disney (for the show So Weird) and after that, Warner Chappell signed me to a songwriting/publishing deal. I was also pursuing a record deal with a major label at that time, and I came very close to attaining one. Then, to make a long story short, Warner Chappell was bought out and I lost my publishing deal. To my surprise, I loved being independent and being completely in charge of the decisions made. Indie artists can make a good living selling a fraction of the CDs needed to make a major label release a success. Being indie, you receive the lion's share of the money directly.

Iain: What made you decide to form a band rather than going solo?

Annmarie: I was a solo artist at first actually (under the name Annmarie Montade). After I lost my deal with Warner Chappell, I felt I needed a change. I met my band-mate, Cynthia Catania, by chance, and we started having jam sessions with other musicians in a tiny local pub called O Brien's. We discovered that we had a great writing and performing chemistry, so we decided to form our band, Saucy Monky. Being in a band is a lot more fun and less lonely. You're part of a team, so it's nice to share the workload.

Iain: Where do you get your inspiration from and has anyone influenced your style?

Annmarie: Stevie Nicks once said I write my best songs when I'm miserable. I think that's true. I get inspired to write songs out of sorrow or desire. I don't usually feel like writing when I'm happy (ha!). I'm not sure who has influenced my style, but I really admire the music and independent work ethic of Ani DiFranco. She was releasing records on her own indie label way before it was even cool to do so.

Iain: Is there a specific message that you want to send out through your music?

Annmarie: I like when people tell me that they really relate to the lyrics in a particular song or when they feel that a song of ours is telling THEIR story. That's cool, because it makes our music universal and not just for me/us.

Iain: Do you have any other side projects apart form your music that we should know about?

Annmarie: Well, it's still music related, but Cynthia and I have been working with some independent filmmakers. This year, we placed several Saucy Monky songs in the indie films AND THEN CAME LOLA and AMEXICA. Nickelodeon has also used our songs for many of their shows. It's thrilling when you hear your songs on screen. We are also doing some composing work for other indie TV/film projects that are still in production. Outside of Saucy Monky, I am slowly and quietly working on a solo album. Hopefully, I will have it ready for release in late 2010.

Saucy Monky have played at festivals with The Black Eyed Peas, Wilco, The B-52s, Pink, PJ Harvey and many more from around the world. To find out more about Annmarie visit: Suacy Monky, Annmarie official page

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