One of Annie Stokes’ earliest memories is watching the PBS broadcast of Sondheim’s musical ‘Into the Woods’ and rewinding the scenes to study what the actors did to make the audience laugh or react. “There was a never a version of my life where I wasn’t going to be a performer,” she says. But her connection to a televised musical went a bit deeper than getting praise from an audience: she wanted, from an early age, to collect stories. To see how they all bind us together. 


A childhood spent alternately in dance studios, buried in books, or outside on the easternmost seam of the Blue Ridge Mountains shaped Annie’s childhood and teen years, before college allowed her to pursue the study of history and gender (two themes that come up frequently in Annie’s work). After giving a ‘real’ job the (literal) old college try, it became evident to her that her life’s calling was in music and performance, albeit not on Broadway. Annie’s parents got her a Breedlove guitar for her 21st birthday, and she diligently began paying her dues at open mics, bars, street festivals, and anywhere that would let her plug in her mini Fishman amp and set out a tip jar. “If I’d had a clue about the scope of what I was endeavoring to do, I might have been too overwhelmed to try.” While taking the long way certainly has its share of potholes (and cheap motels), Annie greeted 2020 with nearly a decade of hands-on experience in the independent, DIY school of musicianship. 


And then the world changed, on a big and small scale. The pandemic coincided with new motherhood, and Annie and her husband (and bandmate and co-writer) Will Berger found themselves hunkered down with a newborn baby and a half-finished album. “When you have a child, you have to squeeze an hour out of 20 minutes, and when the world is locked down, you have to pause. So we just cracked open some moments.” The result was their 2021 album “The One That Gets Away”, which would go on to win the 2022 WAMMIE (Washington Area Music Award) for Best Country/Americana Album. Written and produced by Stokes and Berger, this album finally encapsulated the sound that had been gestating and forming since that 21st birthday Breedlove was unwrapped, and audiences (and the industry) responded accordingly. 


Annie teamed up with producer Austin Bello for her 2023 EP “Wild Rose” which brought further acclaim and placements, including being featured on season 6 of The Martha Bassett Show. Currently, she is working with Bello on her upcoming full length LP, due out in early 2025.