"Take away the sunlight at the end of the day and we are all left in shadow. It is here in the emotional dusk that Anj crafts stories about the apparitions and wraiths that trouble her heart. The result is one of the most striking and darkly beautiful...
"Take away the sunlight at the end of the day and we are all left in shadow. It is here in the emotional dusk that Anj crafts stories about the apparitions and wraiths that trouble her heart. The result is one of the most striking and darkly beautiful albums of 2007. "When Grey Blushes" is sublime."- Wildy's World Magazine She is bold. Heartfelt. Quirky. She is a powerful force when behind a piano, and performs highly personal songs wrapped in hauntingly powerful vocals. She is anything but cookie-cutter. She is unmistakingly Anj. ANJ (pronounced with a broad “a”, like the French word for angel “ange”) is a singer/songwriter/pianist that exhibits unusual poise and relaxed honesty on-stage for a woman in her early twenties. Yet, with two self-produced albums under her belt, touring experience that includes much of the East Coast, and other countries such as Switzerland and Italy, it is no wonder she is writing with a depth that is well beyond her years. Anj was just signed to a 5 year contract to compose for a production company that provides music for the Oprah Winfrey Show. Her newest album "When Grey Blushes" was also signed to a prominent music library for use on the CW network. In November 08', her song "Former Stranger" was licensed by AUR records to be released on a compilation CD with major label artists Amy Winehouse and Duffy. The CD "Bad Girls Don't Cry" was released Dec 08' through Universal Distribution in Europe, and isdoing so well that it has now been licensed to South Korea! ANJ is working towards creating a strong internet presence as well. In both 2006 and 2007, ANJ was chosen as a finalist in the "VH1 Song of the Year Contest," which takes in contestants from over 20 countries around the world. She was also a two-time, first-place winner at OurStage.com in both May and June, in which she received over 20,000 votes and song plays in just one day.Over the past few years, Anj has been building a steady fan base through performances in tri-state area including Ceasars Casino in A.C., World Café (WXPN) in Philadlephia and The Bitter End in NYC. Her European touring includes an annual mini-tour in Italy for the past 3 years. With the release of her second full-length album, "When Grey Blushes", the music industry has begun to sit up and take notice of this rising songstress. Since her release, ANJ's music was solicited by TAXI (the world’s leading A&R company) over a dozen times to industry executives of all shapes and sizes for review, including Wind-Up, Octone, ATO and Minty Fresh Records.ANJ's live performances have been likened to a one-woman play set to music, as she reaches out to the audience in interludes of “conversational poetry” that describe the genesis of each song. She demonstrates a beautiful command of her instrument as she tells the story of one who cares too deeply and feels too much and thus is the root of much of her own anguish. But the best part about seeing ANJ live, is the experience of being pulled into her world, and realizing that is not the story of not her own life that she is reaching out to share with her audience, but of the human condition we all share, with both its glories and perils. ANJ is an artist in the truest sense, and one to definitely watch.
TORIST ROCK by Philadephia City Paper She's been compared to everyone from Tori Amos to Carole King, but 22-year-old South Jersey native - ANJ - is finding an audience on her own terms.Egg Harbor Township resident ANJ grew up in a...
Songwriter Persues Career On Own Terms by Chris South, O.C Sentinel If you’re lucky, every once in awhile you get to ...If you’re lucky, every once in awhile you get to see something special – something you don’t see everyday – like, a pair of fawns or a double...
TORIST ROCK by Philadephia City Paper She's been compared to everyone from Tori Amos to Carole King, but 22-year-old South Jersey native - ANJ - is finding an audience on her own terms.
Egg Harbor Township resident ANJ grew up in a musical household and started playing piano as a toddler. Her performances have been likened to a one-woman play set to music as she reaches out to audiences with what she calls "conversational poetry" that describe the genesis of each song. Her indie debut album, Coin and a Half Girls, was released in 2004.
With a soaring soprano voice, impressive piano-playing skills and diary-like lyrics about love, friendships and angst, ANJ has built a steady fan base throughout South Jersey. She says she especially enjoys live shows in "intimate, personal" settings like the Noyes Museum.
I feel the audience's energy and that comes through in the music," ANJ said by phone, adding that she likes to take well-known songs, such as Don McLean's "Vincent," Sting's "When We Dance" and Van Morrison's "Crazy Love," and "turn them into my own.
I'll keep the basic structure the same, but change the melody or the lyrics slightly," ANJ said. "I try to make it different, but familiar."
By: Nicole Pensiero
October 21, 2004
Songwriter Persues Career On Own Terms by Chris South, O.C Sentinel
If you’re lucky, every once in awhile you get to ...
If you’re lucky, every once in awhile you get to see something special – something you don’t see everyday – like, a pair of fawns or a double rainbow. Sometimes if you’re really lucky, you will get to see the birth of a star, which is what an audience at the Restless Spirit Music, Art and Literature Shop may have witnessed on Aug 28...
...Indeed, Anj seems to be in tune with her instrument, because the listener can distinguish where she synchronizes her voice with the melody she plays on the piano...
...More than one person has likened her performance to a one-woman play set to music. In truth, Anj’s songs are a play as they tell the story of her life from the viewpoint of one who loves too deeply and cares too much, and thus is the source of much of her own anguish...
September 4, 2003
"Coin and a Half Girls" CD REVIEW by Collected Sounds Magazine Anj, a 20-something from the South Jersey area. Sh...
Anj, a 20-something from the South Jersey area. She's been singing and playing piano since she was a child and it shows.
This record intrigued me right away. The cover art is quite interesting, a girl drowning in a bathtub of pennies. And what the heck does "Coin and a Half Girls" mean anyway? Well, I can't say that now, even after repeated listens I am any closer to an understanding. But that's OK. You don't have to understand art, right? Right?
The songwriting is really very good. I really like the melody on "Former Stranger" which is the third track, but the first full song. I love the piano part on this song. In fact, I just plain love that she plays piano and very well, too. Here the piano gives this song an almost cabaret sound.
On some of the mellower songs I can see where the Carole King comparisons come into play. I'm seeing this especially on the beginning of "Ivory". It's a very pretty song.
The piano on "Late for Life" is incredibly beautiful. Really makes me wish I could play better (must call for lessons). The vocals and phrasing here reminds me of another musician, Pepper McGowan (http://collectedsounds.com/cdreviews/badstars.html) , who sadly, I think has left he business.
Her lyrics are also very impressive. Very well thought out, intelligent. If you like piano rock-pop (more edgy than pop in this case) you should surely check out Anj and "Coin and a Half Girls" whoever they are.
By: Amy Lotsberg, 2005
Anj, Making Joyful Noyes This Weekend by Steve Angelucci, A. C Weekly A homegrown artist presents her music at the Noyes...
A homegrown artist presents her music at the Noyes Museum of Art. It's a fitting location for Anj to perform, for her introspective, thoughtful music is a manifestation of true talent and self-expression. At only 22, Anj is a poised singer-pianist who writes much of her material.
Anj grew up in a musical household in Linwood and has appeared onstage since she was 8. "I spent a lot of my time as a kid going to his jobs and watching him play," she says. "I credit him with a lot of my musical prowess, since he brought me up on many different kinds of music ɠNow, I'm so appreciative because by having all these different kinds of music in my history, I have more to draw from. I have a larger vocabulary to write with.
Although her music is compared to that of Carole King, Tori Amos, Nora Jones and Laura Nyro, Anj conveys something individual and unique. Just as those artists were once compared to others, so is Anj. However, listen to her debut CD Coin and a Half Girls (available on cdbaby.com) and you'll understand her creative range.
In concert, she reaches out to her audience through song introductions often described as "conversational poetry." Anj's songs are portraits set to music that touch the soul. At the Noyes, she'll preview her album with an intimate vocal and piano concert.
Opening for Anj is smooth jazz saxophonist Howard Isaacson, who has performed at the Jazz at the Point Festival, the Bubba Mac Shack and various casinos including Trump Plaza. His album Dream World is a favorite among local jazz aficionados.
ANJ'S DEBUT AT THE TIN ANGEL by Raine The Tin Angel is a small club located on 2nd Street in the Olde City section of Philadelphia, It is upstairs from an eclectic restaurant called Serrano, and both are welcoming and cozy. There's no place better to head on a sultry summer night to hear Anj Granieri perform her captivating music.
As we entered and decided on a table, we noticed Anj immediately. She's a tall, striking girl with that great hair! I introduced myself and my husband and she immediately started a conversation with us. We had lots to talk about since, like Anj, my husband is from the Atlantic City area. Anj is hoping to branch out from that area, and after spending time in New York, she is booking gigs in Philadelphia. She is also collaborating with some other artists (a few from thesixtyone) on live music ventures.
Now to the best part – the music! There were four performers on the bill and Anj was first. She is the kind of performer who gets the audience involved in the show by explaining how she comes by the ideas for the songs she writes and performs. We heard Bright Winter (you can feel the wind on the beach while listening to this one - a good way to cool off in June), Michelle (my personal favorite about the foster child her parents took in for a year), View of the Few (a song inspired by her family), The End of Love (that fabulous instrumental that just conjures up all kinds of emotions before you even realize what's happening), The Rest of Me (written while Anj was living in New York) and The Mark. The Mark is such a powerful song, and performed live just brought tears to my eyes, which is no easy feat.
She ended the show with her own version of God Bless America which was jazzy, distinctive, and respectful all at the same time.
I will definitely see Anj perform again. Her voice is one of a kind, and her personality shines through her compositions
Anj's music is available at www.cdbaby.com/anj3
July 1rst, 2008
Mooie vertolking van Don Mclean’s Vincent by EVONITY . ORG INTERNATIONAL PRESS: GERMANY
De uit de VS afkomstige singer/songwriter Anj Granieri bracht vandaag een orginele vertolking uit van Don Mclean’s beroemde nummer Vincent. De tekst is in haar versie grotendeels hetzelfde gebleven, maar de melodie is radicaal veranderd. In een commentaar zei ze daarover:
“I always loved his (Don Mclean - Evo) song. I thought it told such a beautiful story about an agonized artist who was so deeply misunderstood. But his melody was just too cheery for me - it seemed the song called for a much more melancholy, pained melody. So that’s my take.”
Met ‘agonized artist’ bedoeld Granieri natuurlijk Vincent van Gogh, over wie de tekst van het lied gaat. Voor wie het nog niet wist: Don Mclean schreef het nummer in 1972, na het lezen van een boek over ‘onze’ fameuze kunstschilder.
Granieri is bij The Sixtyone een gelouterde Artiest. Ze behaalde onlangs level negen (ja, ook artiesten worden onderworpen aan het grote T61 spel). Waar de eerste bumps (soort stemmen) op een song bij anderen slechts 50 punten kosten, moet je daar bij haar werk meer dan zeventig voor over hebben. Dat maakt haar overigens nog niet de kostbaarste artiest. Vroege bumps kosten bij liedjes van Top 10 artiesten al snel meer dan 100 punten.
May 23, 2008
"WHEN GREY BLUSHES" CD REVIEW by Star and Wave Newspaper In these days when musicians are judged not by talent, but how many club openings they attend; When how many trips to rehab are more important to albums sale than the emotional invest an artist makes to their work, I was ready to hang my head in mourning for music. And then I stumbled across Anj and, miraculously, I began to feel genuine hope. That's the best way to describe Anj, Genuine. She takes you by the hand as she leads you on her journey through life. And, even if you just met her, you find yourself recognizing some familiar landmarks along the path. If you want to laugh or cry or remember what life has to offer, buy this CD. Then sit back, close your eyes and recall the last time "When Grey Blushed" in your life.
By: John K. Alvarez,
SHARING HER GIFTS by Atlantic City Press Andrea Granieri is young and hip, with a pervasive sweetness that bespeaks someone raised in the gentler, open spaces of Atlantic County. And she’s discovering just how much it takes — in energy, patience and connections — to become a successful artist in the world beyond the county’s boundaries.
Her professional name, Anj, is pronounced with a broad “a,” like the French word for angel (“ange”), or the last syllable in “mélange” — an apt description of the mixed genres of music she embraces as a singer, pianist and composer.
Now 25, Granieri grew up in Linwood. A self-described “invisible, quiet sort of kid,” she had an epiphany on her last day of high school when she took over an open mike at Gateway Playhouse in Somers Point, after a friend froze with stage fright.
“I found myself up there performing,” Granieri recalls, “and I felt 100-percent myself.” That self-actualizing feeling convinced her to pursue a music career, she says.
Up to that point, the only significant time she’d spent on stage was at age nine, when she sang “Over the Rainbow” at a special performance at Bally’s arranged by her father, noted musician Carl Granieri.
She played piano and composed songs throughout her teenage years, but “only at home, and usually in a dark room,” she says.
By the end of her college years at Rowan, though, she was gigging at spots throughout the tristate area, including Philadelphia’s Grape Street Pub and World Café Live, and, as she puts it, “at a lot of open mikes.”
Gigging only went so far, Granieri says, and it became clear that she had to start recording her offerings — a unique blend of pop, jazz, folk and blues — to reach a larger audience.
Shortly after graduating, she plunked down $300 at a friend’s makeshift recording studio, asking: “How much will this buy me?”
The answer was a pile of CDs that she sold for $5 apiece at continued gigs.
Coin and a Half Girls (2004), the title of that first effort, was named after a biblical parable about three workers who are cautioned to use coins wisely.
“It’s all about using your gifts,” Granieri says.
In the early years, she says, financial realities often tempered that goal, as she worked at “just about everything — from temp work to waitressing — anything that would leave nights free to perform.”
Life was far from glamorous.
“It would be the middle of December, and there I was loading up the car with heavy equipment, walking through the snow in heels,” she recalls. “You keep going, but you start feeling ‘all this effort has to start leading somewhere.’”
Granieri started focusing more on music-related jobs to bring in money, performing at events ranging from weddings to funerals, and teaching piano privately.
The new focus also led to an impressive string of 85 performance dates at Caesars’ Forum lounge in Atlantic City, where Granieri began to perform a mix of original music and standards. Reviewers showered her with praise. Some compared her to Carole King and Norah Jones. In October 2006, Granieri briefly detoured to New York City.
“I’d just turned 24,” she explains, “and I thought maybe I should be in the ‘hub’ to bring my career to the next level.”
Her apartment in Chinatown proved a quintessential setting.
“It was about eight-feet wide — I had to get dressed on top of the bed,” she says. “There were roaches on the wall, a broken window, and I slept in my hat and gloves to stay warm. All for $950 a month.
“It got very cold very fast,” Granieri says of her big city experience, adding that “it doesn’t happen like you see in the movies [where you] go to New York [and] make it overnight.”
The Internet has “changed everything,” she says. “Whoever is supposed to find you, will find you there, and vice versa. It’s all about building up your credentials, wherever you are.”
Granieri established her next major “cred” at MorningStar Studios in Springhouse, Pa., where she created a new album with assistance from her father and producer Glen Barratt.
“It’s a really accurate representation of my sound,” she says of When Grey Blushes, a collection lushly enmeshed in piano, cello, bass, drums and vocal percussion, which she completed last year. (Clips are available at www.cdbaby.com/anj; downloads at iTunes and Rhapsody. The music also provides an elegant backdrop to Anj’s site at www.myspace.com/anjmusic.)
Back home now, Granieri is convinced that she had things right to begin with.
Her original piano composition, “The End of Love,” just received a runner-up award in VH1’s Song of the Year contest, and she’s utilizing TAXI, an independent A&R (artist and repertoire) company to place her original compositions in music libraries to be considered for television and film use.
In all likelihood, Granieri adds, the next level in her career also will include a one-on-one relationship with a manager.
“The industry is tightly woven,” she says. “After a while, people all know one another. You’ve just got to put yourself at the heart of that.”
Granieri plans a tristate tour this summer, and in the interim she’ll continue her performances at area spots.
Projecting her future path, she relates a fantasy set at a high school reunion. After learning that Granieri has signed with a major record label, a former classmate approaches to say: “Wow, you’re the kid I threw food at in the cafeteria!”
She’s already singing about the wisdom and compassion that derive from such experiences, as she did to the delight of a high-end crowd at Joseph’s Restaurant at Renault Winery in Egg Harbor City last weekend.
The following morning, during an interview at a local restaurant, Granieri was approached by a woman who pointed to a table where her two teen-age daughters were giggling and waving.
“Sorry to interrupt,” the woman said, “but my daughters want to know: Are you Vera Bradley?” She was referring to the namesake of a noted design company whose signature blouse Granieri wore.
“No, but thanks for asking,” Granieri replied softly, returning the waves that still issued from across the room.
“Look, I don’t know if I even care about becoming a household name,” says Granieri, returning to the pending question, “but I’d like to be able to share my music with the world.”
by: Carole Mattessich
February 21, 2008
"WHEN GREY BLUSHES" CD REVIEW by Wildy's World Magazine Anj may be one of the more enigmatic singer/songwriters in popular music. A classically trained pianist, she writes songs in a style she calls "orchestrated jazz". In essence she is using jazz scales and progressions couched in classical song composition to create an incredibly unique framework for her poetic muse. 2008 sees the release of Anj's second album, When Grey Blushes. On When Grey Blushes Anj takes the step of adding instrumentation to her usual vocal/piano mix, with tremendous success.
The music on When Grey Blushes is stylistically similar to early Tori Amos material, in that it is piano driven and strongly based in classical composition with jazz and pop influences. From these you lose all comparisons, as Anj is truly unlike anyone else currently in the pop sphere. Her songs are deeply personal, musically intricate, and with a stark vocal style that keeps you on the edge of your seat.
Former Stranger opens the set with an unsettling piano progression, counter-punching violin, and eccentric vocals. There are also a couple of passages where the most disturbingly beautiful vocal harmonies chime in. It is truly a memorable opening and one that lets you know this won't be your typical music experience. This musical distress resolves into the simple beauty of Bright Winter. I could run through every song here, because there isn't a tune on When Grey Blushes that isn't remarkable. For the sake of brevity I'll just mention a few songs of note. View Of The Few is starkly beautiful, literate and real. This is currently my favorite track on the album, but this is one of those albums where the favorite rotates from day to day or sometimes listen to listen.
Be sure to check out Praise (Happy Birthday Father), a highly personal and beautiful paternal tribute. The Rest Of Me is also noteworthy, building from a dark, brooding piano opening into an impassioned plea from one who gave all to a relationship and ended up with nothing.
Take away the sunlight at the end of the day and we are all left in shadow. It is here in the emotional dusk that Anj crafts stories about the apparitions and wraiths that trouble her heart. The result is one of the most striking and darkly beautiful albums of 2007. When Grey Blushes is sublime. It is a certified Desert Island Disc, and it gets Wildy's World's highest recommendation.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
By: Wildy Haskel
July 28th, 2008