Anna Gutmanis
Canada, Ontario, Toronto
Anna Gutmanis
Pops Staples by AnnaPops Staples by AnnaInspire CD cover artInspire CD cover artInspire CD cover artHappy Birthday Barbra for Facebook

Anna Gutmanis

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SLapbox Music Group
Little by Little
Mark Feller
Paolo Giorgi

About Anna Gutmanis

Anna Gutmanis is an award-winning Canadian songwriter, singer and keyboardist who writes and records across musical genres. Her 2014 single release “Lately It’s Cold” won a Global Music Award. Several songs from Anna's critically-acclaimed album "Glimmer In The Dark" appeared on 3 different Australian Indie Radio Charts (Urban, World, and Easy Listening) and and on the Roots Music Report 2014 Top ... read more


About Anna Gutmanis

Anna Gutmanis is an award-winning Canadian songwriter, singer and keyboardist who writes and records across musical genres. Her 2014 single release “Lately It’s Cold” won a Global Music Award. Several songs from Anna's critically-acclaimed album "Glimmer In The Dark" appeared on 3 different Australian Indie Radio Charts (Urban, World, and Easy Listening) and and on the Roots Music Report 2014 Top 100 Pop Song chart. The official video for "Another Way Out" won the 2014 Best Short Documentary award at Q Cinema Texas and was used by PFLAG as an educational tool. The song “I Am Who I Am” is an anthem to the LGBTQ rights movement, and has been recorded in rock and dance formats. The rock version won the 2009 Pride Song Award, and the official video for the 2019 Dance Version has been winning awards at film festivals internationally. Other recordings include Anna's eponymous debut album, which still receives airplay. Anna often performs live in and around Toronto, and also plays shows across Canada and the United States.

Plays Today: 15

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Happy Father's Day to all who celebrate! The musical Dad on my mind today is Pops Staples. Recently, I discovered a gorgeous version of one of my all-time favourite songs, Laura Nyro's "Stoned Soul Picnic", by the Staple Singers. They apparently recorded it in the 1960s, but their lovely version was not released commercially until 2012, on a tribute album to the late great Laura. I still love the mega-hit version by The Fifth Dimension, and of course Laura's own recording, but The Staple Singers take the song to a new level. For me, Pops' guitar brings such warmth that you can just imagine yourself at that picnic on a gorgeous summer day, as this Father's Day has turned out to be.

As an older musician in a youth-obsessed business, the trajectory of Pops' lengthy career inspires me. He was in his fifties and sixties when The Staple Singers experienced their greatest chart successes with songs like "Respect Yourself", "I'll Take You There" and "Let's Do it Again". All of these songs were written by others, but Pops was an accomplished songwriter himself, winning a Grammy in his 80s for an album that contained both traditional gospel songs and the self-penned classic "Why Am I Treated So Bad". Indeed, Pops experienced some Nyroesque chart success with that particular tune in 1967, when versions by 4 different artists (including The Staple Singers) hit the Hot 100!

For all of his immense musical legacy, perhaps Pops' greatest accomplishment was being a great role model for his children. As daughter Mavis wrote after his passing, "I still loved to sing, but what could I sing without Daddy? You've been singing with your father for over 50 years, and now he's gone". Participating in a tribute concert to her father helped Mavis resume making music, and I suspect that Roebuck Staples would be VERY proud of his daughter's illustrious solo career. Obviously, longevity and musical genius were passed from dad to daughter. So what better soundtrack for Father's Day than some music by Pops, Mavis, and her sisters?

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Finally, I can share some new music with you! Last night, the INSPIRE Awards took place. Usually they happen at Toronto's beautiful Hart House, but due to the pandemic, the big 10th anniversary edition of the awards went online. What a year for me to have the honour of providing the theme song, "Inspire"! The legendary link. lang received the International Icon Award, and HER personal idol, Anne Murray, delivered congratulations. Performer Drake Jensen tipped his cowboy hat to Anne by singing the song that made her an international superstar and Grammy winner, "You Needed Me". His rendition was gorgeous and heartfelt, one of the highlights of the evening. Performances by Carole Pope (from sunny California), Amythyst Kiah (from Tennessee), and other incredibly talented musicians made for a memorable night, helping us to celebrate the lofty achievements of all of the INSPIRE Awards nominees and recipients.

On a personal note, it was lovely for me to have comedian and actor Gavin Crawford (co-host of the awards with Martha Chaves) say that he enjoyed listening to "Inspire", and that it made him want to dance. I hope my newest tune has that effect on all of you as well! James Atin-Godden, who produced the tune, did an amazing job, and I'm currently working on another project with him - more on that later. Wishing you all a joyous, music-filled weekend ahead!

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Hello! Lately, I seem to want to write my newsy emails on the birthdays of my favourite musicians! Today is Barbra Streisand's 79th birthday, and so this email is all but writing itself. I've loved Barbra's work since I was a child, whether it was her gorgeous covers of Laura Nyro songs, her jaw-dropping silver screen talent in Funny Girl, or the wise things she had to say as a social justice activist. This morning, I perused my cache of Barbra vinyl and opened up my favourite of the bunch, Barbra Joan Streisand. For some strange reason, the fact that she had prominently featured female songwriters, arrangers and musicians on this album hadn't made an imprint on my consciousness until today. Why had I never taken the time to savour all the wonderful photos of the first all-female superstar rock band Fanny (members June and Jean Millington, Alice de Buhr and Nickey Barclay) amiably working with Barbra? Underemployment of talented female session musicians, arrangers and songwriters is STILL a huge issue in the music industry - and there was Barbra, 50 years ago, proudly and prominently sharing her considerable platform with other women!

It would be remiss of me not to mention that 10 years ago, I was having the time of my life recording my album Glimmer In The Dark. It was important to my producer Karen Kane and me to have great women musicians play on the album. Colleen Allen played sax on 6 album tracks, Alyssa Wright played cello on 2, and Karen Dinardo sang on every song (except the bonus track I Am Who I Am and The Voice Of Bliss, the latter being a vocal solo by one of my cats)! At the time I referred to the blissful recording experience as "Ten Days That Shook My World", amateur historian that I am. How amazing it was to have met and worked with all of these Wonder Women - and Magic Men too!

May you all experience the joy of doing what you love to do - and with people who rock your world and should be rocking the WHOLE world with their copious talents! And may Barbra have a great birthday :)

Virtual hugs,

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Anna Gutmanis
3 months ago

Happy Spring everyone! It is also Sister Rosetta Tharpe's birthday, and by now everyone knows how much I admire The Mother of Rock and Roll!

There is a lot to be grateful for these days. Two musical projects to which l have been devoting lots of time and energy are well on their way to being completed. The back-and-forth pandemic dance has been frustrating at times. Of course, my team and I only record in-studio when such things are allowed by our governments and public health spokespeople, and we have experienced months of delays. But spring is the best time to see things being born, whether we are watching buds on trees, baby birds in nests, or new music releases. l wish l could tell you more about the upcoming projects, but when the time comes, you'll hear lots. Stay safe, well, and full of hope as you spring into the new season!

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Anna Gutmanis
4 months ago

As an amateur historian, musical and otherwise (my minor in university was history), I was delighted to find out about songwriter Otis Blackwell. Yesterday was the 90th anniversary of his birth. Everyone knows the songs "Don't Be Cruel", "Fever", "All Shook Up", "Great Balls of Fire", "Return to Sender", and "Handyman", and Otis wrote all of these and a thousand more. Although his main focus was songwriting, he was also a talented singer and pianist who recorded his own demos. When some of these demos reached the ears of Elvis Presley's team, Otis' place in music history was assured. Happily, he has been inducted into both the Songwriter's (1991) and Rock & Roll (2010) Halls of Fame.

For the woman seen by many (including me) as the Mother of Rock & Roll, the ticket to Rock Hall induction came later - and only as a result of much advocacy and petition writing/signing. Even Rolling Stone, not exactly known as a feminist publication, published an opinion piece in 2017 about why Rosetta needed to be in the Hall. In 2018, that finally occurred. As keyboardist Lonnie Liston Smith said that same year, “She was playing rock’n’roll way before anyone else... way before Chuck Berry and all those guys. Nobody else had even come up with something like that”. Rosetta herself perhaps said it best: “Can’t no man play like me”.

Kudos to Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Otis Blackwell, and let's celebrate Black Music History 365 days a year!

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Past Events

May 27
All Ages
Sep 09
All Ages
Feb 04
All Ages
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