Story last updated at 12/23/2009 - 12:19 pm
Juneau - Wherever she goes, Anna Graceman is inspired. The 10-year-old Juneau musician has been tapping that inspiration for a number of years already, writing original songs since the age of six.
"Sometimes when I'm walking around, I just want to sing," Graceman said. "So I'm singing words that pop into my head, and then all of a sudden I have the first verse. It's so cool."
Graceman said she gets song ideas from the things around her, including her family and the "beautiful place" she calls home.
Graceman began singing when she was only 18 months old and started playing the piano at age four. She also plays the flute and has recently picked up the guitar. She has been seen locally performing at the Alaska Folk Festival and singing with the Alaska Youth Choir.
In October, Graceman was a guest on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she performed one of her original songs, "Paradise," for millions of viewers around the country.
"It was just so cool to share (my music) with the world," Graceman said.
Graceman's mother, who, along with her husband, accompanied their daughter to the taping, admitted that they were more nervous than Graceman herself.
"My husband and I were so nervous but she was amazing," she said. "My heart was just going to jump out when she went down to perform. It was a lot of fun. I'm glad she let us come along for the ride."
Graceman admitted that she sometimes gets self-conscious while performing in front of people, but she enjoys sharing her talents. Her YouTube videos have received over 1.1 million views to date, evidence that her audiences enjoy her talents as well.
"It makes me feel good to have such a talent," she said.
Graceman admitted that she doesn't let her musical endeavors take away from her studies, but she still can't seem to spend enough time practicing and composing.
"I don't think I do it enough," she said. "I always love to play and practice music whenever I can. Coming into the studio is a lot of fun, but I love school too."
Graceman said she often notices her audiences tear up when she sings, especially her family.
"It just feels so good when they think that my music is that amazing," Graceman said.
Graceman's first original song, titled "So I Cried," is one of eleven tracks on her second CD, "Give Me Your Heart." The song describes a girl who has lost someone she loves.
"She's just remembering him all the time and she can't think about anything else," Graceman said.
Later in the song, the girl describes her own death, through which she is reunited with the person she has been missing.
Graceman solemnly begins the song as she sings and plays the piano, but the dynamic swells with each verse. By the song's bridge her voice is full of emotion and gusto, far from simple straight singing.
Graceman enjoys playing in the pop and rhythm and blues styles because they fit her energetic personality, she said. She looks up to artists such as Taylor Swift and Jordan Sparks, both of whom achieved musical success at young ages.
Graceman has spent many hours in the studio this year recording both new and old songs.
"It's a lot of fun and all the musicians I'm working with are very talented," Graceman said. "I'm lucky to work with them because they give me so much inspiration and they really help me with my music."
Graceman's most recent composition, titled "You're My Gift For Christmas," has received radio airplay and is available for free download on her Web site.
When asked about her hopes for her daughter, Graceman's mother nearly breaks into tears of joy.
"I just really want her to do what she wants to do with all of this," she said. "I think if you do what you love and you continue to be educated, you can do whatever you want and go wherever you want. If nothing else happens, at least she's doing what she loves."
Graceman's limited edition CD, "Give Me Your Heart," is available for purchase at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center as well as on iTunes and Amazon. Only 100 copies will be sold and 20 percent of proceeds will be used to support the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council.
For more information about Graceman, visit http://www.annagraceman.com or http://www.youtube.com/user/AnnaGraceMusic.
Libby Sterling may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.