“I rewrote my history and saw myself falling into a whirlwind romance”
BY SAMANTHA GRIERSON, IMAGES BY ANNELLE STALL
I catch Annelle Staal in her recording studio in North Carolina, where she hosts her live music shows for Twitch TV. Annelle was previously working as a musician and songwriter in Nashville until COVID hit, changing the vibe and the way the industry worked. Fresh from releasing latest single Tonight, I ask her what inspired the song. “My writing generally is very based on the seasons. I began writing this track in winter and as the ground began to thaw my emotions followed, melting my heart as I turned to face and acknowledge my identity as queer. It reminds me of late night grilling and the bonfires of early spring evenings”, she laughs.
“In North Carolina, what else are you gonna do? I rewrote my history and saw myself falling into a whirlwind romance with a girl across the flames, like when you see a movie playing in your mind – ‘How about tonight?’ – it’s about what’s possible”.
Annelle came out live on Twitch TV, via her virtual concert. “The time felt right. It was a tender moment with a community of like-minded people”. I ask how the audience reacted. She grins and says, “They said – ‘yeah we know!’ Being seen and celebrated for who I am now and in my song means everything. It’s a cry/dance/pop track that fills your heart with joy. I find that joy is the scariest emotion of all, when you are not allowed to fully embrace it”.
The online community gave Annelle strength, when living in the South being queer was hard at times. “It felt so improbable and far away at times – how could I come out? It’s very religious and conservative. For me hiding who I was, my secret, felt ridiculous into adulthood. I had to come out. But honestly the religious shame is real and it’s here”. I ask if she has ever considered moving west, passionately replying: “If I leave, who is going to make the positive change here? There is such a need to stay and uplift the local community. I grew up with no role models and no resources. But hey, it’s kinda fun being a gay cowboy”.
Annelle is working on a full length album for 2023, stating that it will be “organised by seasons, with a warm centre that cools down again”. Before then, we can look forward to further singles and you can catch her streaming live on Twitch four nights a week.
DIVA magazine celebrates 28 years in print in 2022. If you like what we do, then get behind LGBTQI media and keep us going for another generation. Your support is invaluable.