From the day she was born in Saint-Étienne in eastern central France, Aneessa has always been a mover. She literally modern jazz and contemporary as early artistic interests. However, as one of seven children with a wide range of musical tastes all around her, Aneessa began to more strongly embrace singing and performing as her passion, eventually taking the dance music scenes in Europe and Asia by storm under the stage names Anya Rose and Lady Aneessa. Beyond the performance art world, Aneessa is a mover as one who places herself in positions
where she can be a light, a guide and a resource to help others on the path to theirdreams as performing artists – currently as the Publisher and CEO of her insider’s entertainment magazine, Pump It Up! Finally, Aneessa is a mover because she has moved around quite a bit in her lifetime, currently landing securely in Southern California with a new love, a new family, a new life and a new album – her first in over three years. What follows is the story of how all of the chess moves of Aneessa’s life brought her to the golden space in which she now resides.
Primarily inspired by international pop icon Madonna, Aneessa applied the singing and dancing skills she’d honed since her time at Jean Daste Junior High School and Lycee du Portail Rouge High School to a sparkling level of excellence. As the leader of her school’s dance troupe – deftly utilizing choreography as a theatrical means of telling a story – Aneessa led her group to win a major French competition (Championnat U.N.S.S De Danse Contemporaine). Soon after, however, she got deeper into music, getting her feet wet by singing backup for the Hip Hop quartet
S.A.D. (Sans Aucun Doute – “Without Any Doubt”). Sharpening her life direction,
Aneessa left Saint-Étienne for Paris where she studied literature and languages (Spanish, English, Latin, Italian and Russian) at University La Sorbonne. It was lonely living in the university dormitory because she knew no one. So, in her side time, she sang Jazz, Soul and Pop covers (a la Sade and Norah Jones) with a quartet of keyboards, guitar, bass and drums in Paris bars such as L’Etage and Opus Café.
A move to Manchester England from 1998-2001 found her making some of her first studio recordings. Though none were ever released, the experience of learning the process was priceless.
After returning home to Saint-Étienne to rejuvenate, Aneessa bounced back to Paris in 2001, determined to make her way in the world. She worked many jobs to save up the funding to finance her dream of stardom in music. She started her own record label (Editions L.A.), recording studio and a graphic design company (Editions L.A. Design) She met a gentleman from the Congo in Africa named Carter Kaya and began writing songs with him, also singing backgrounds on his productions. Together, they co-wrote the original versions of future hits for
Aneessa such as “Jamais (Never)” and “Us” in an electronic dance music mode. Carter taught her mixing and mastering techno dance records, and was her sound engineer for all of her high-profile gigs in Paris. Together, Aneessa and Carter also started the French entertainment publication Delit Music Magazine for which she is still a legal partner.
Another fortuitous meeting was with Tracy Kendrick, owner of an influential American industry company called the Impact Record Pool. Along
with mixing and mastering all of her subsequent post-Kaya recordings, Tracy shared valuable background about the music business, and motivated Aneessa to start her own record label and production company. Pooling all of her resources, Aneessa spent 2003-2008 assembling her debut album, L.A. Project, which featured new mixes of previously recorded singles. There were hot music videos for the revamped “Jamais,” “Us” and, later, “I’m a Woman.” Then there were many hot club singles that followed from 2009-2015 as “French Kiss,” “Superwoman,” “It’s On You,” “I Can’t Let You Go,” “Love Dance Party” and “Shake It.” Aneessa electrified stages at venues such as the very chic Chez Maxim’s in Paris and others in the South of France and Italy.
Her singles were racking up streams/downloads of over 4 million in Asia thanks to her partnership with Higgs Music distribution out of Taiwan, making her a fullfledged world music artist. Her last album was the R&B/Pop project, Ce Soir.
With success came burnout from burning her candle at both ends. Stepping off the merry-go-round, Aneessa returned to Saint-Étienne where her mother, once ambivalent about her daughter’s pop music life choices, buoyed her with love and advice.
“My mother elevated me spiritually and mentally,” Aneessa confesses. “All my life she wasn’t there then suddenly she was there – with great wisdom. I was like the black sheep of the family – the only one to leave home and not start a family. Still, I was not ashamed to come back home. When I did, my mother gave me my wings to fly, telling me to speak to God and everything will be fine. And when I flew, God connected me to great people.”
This time spent back home with her mom inspired the song “Saint-Étienne” that appears on her new album.
The time came for another major move for Aneessa, this time across the waters to America. She arrived in 2016 teaming with Glenn Friedman in The Music Umbrella, a music consultant company. Together, they created The Music Umbrella Magazine. Glenn also placed her with Gregg Sutton (producer of Sam Brown’s “Stop”) but they never completed the project. When The Music Umbrella folded, Aneessa decided to start a magazine of her own, Pump It Up, which focuses squarely on profiles, information and advice for up and coming independent music
artists.Friedman next introduced Aneessa to another Sutton – former Motown producer Michael B. Sutton (Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross) – as a business hookup to feature artists from his production company in The Music Umbrella.
Aneessa returned to France but continued her working relationship with Michael. They got to know each other and quickly became mutually enamored. Aneessa came back to California in 2017 for what was supposed to be a 2-month trip to meet with Michael in person.
Aneessa and Michael fell deeper and deeper in love.
However, Michael gently persuaded Aneessa that after three years away it was time to get back to her other love, music, and the two of them began co-producing her latest album: Smooth jazz and urban adult contemporary music. The reception has been warm and welcoming.
Bonding in their adoration for each other as well as their mutual strengths in resilience, Aneessa and Michael have crafted an amazing collection of songs. Aneessa kicked off her stateside debut with a winning cover of Soul II Soul’s 1989 anthem, “Back to Life,” which has cracked the Top 10 of Billboard Magazine’s “Smooth Jazz” chart. In a similar thematic vein is Aneessa’s cover of Madonna’s “Miles Away” which she relates to so deeply for its message of long distance relationship. Aneessa and Michael wrote “Just to Be with You” about their relationship when love was blooming yet they were so far away from each other, leading to her coming to visit…and never return home.
Most interesting is the song “Satisfied” which, ironically, was written by Michael and his first wife, Brenda. Their daughter Tiffany remembered the unreleased song and suggested it as perfect for Aneessa to sing. Real love, maturity and acceptance don’t get any deeper than that.
“When I first met the Sutton family at Christmas, I felt an atmosphere of love and support,” Aneessa shares. “I believe God put me
with God’s people. We don’t share the same religion – I am Muslim, Michael is Christian – but our hearts and spirits are the same – loving, God-fearing and serene. I didn’t feel mentally ready to do music again…but Michael inspired me. He is truly my soulmate. And it feels absolutely right for me to be here in America.”
For growing audiences the world over, the evidence of that love happiness and musical excellence runs through and through Aneessa’s American debut.