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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Up and ‘Coming Soon’ artist Annie DiRusso shares her experience as a Nashville musician

The Hustler interviewed Annie DiRusso to discuss her tour and the community of indie musicians in Nashville.
Neil Shukla
Portrait of Annie DiRusso. (Photo courtesy of Neil Shukla)

One of my biggest worries when moving to Nashville for college was that the only music I’d be able to experience while here was country music. However, I was in relief when I slowly became exposed to the iconic Nashville indie scene. This powerful group of artists — and friends — includes names such as Briston Maroney, Noah Pope, Daniel Nunnelee, Palmertrees, Edgehill, Samia and of course, Annie DiRusso

I was unfamiliar with Belmont University alumna DiRusso until I saw her open for Sara Kays at The Basement in October 2021, but ever since then, I’ve become a big fan and have had the pleasure of watching her grow as an artist. Recently, I was able to sit down with DiRusso and ask her about her path in music and upcoming tours. 

Like so many of us, DiRusso’s interest in music was catalyzed by her love for Taylor Swift. DiRusso told me that when she was 10 or 11, she watched a “bootleg Taylor Swift documentary” and was inspired when Swift advised people interested in music to learn to write songs. DiRusso realized she wanted to write and create music for her career, so she began to pursue it in every way she could. At a young age, she was already writing songs and playing open mics around town. Despite studying music in college, DiRusso shared that the majority of what she learned was from experiences outside of the classroom. 

“A lot of the stuff I gained from Belmont was from outside of the classroom,” DiRusso said. “[My music knowledge came from] just being in Nashville because it’s such an amazing town with such an amazing community surrounding music — indie music in particular. I met the most amazing people here: so many of my friends, the people I write with and the people in my band.”

DiRusso has found a career in both writing and singing, racking up many incredible accomplishments, including opening for an insanely talented roster of artists such as Briston Maroney, Ruston Kelly and HAIM. She has fond memories of being an opener, especially for Samia. 

“Opening for Samia at Webster Hall was a wow moment for me because I’ve always wanted to play Webster Hall since I was in high school,” DiRusso said. “I used to go to shows there, and I’m a huge Samia fan. So many things made that night incredibly special — I hysterically cried the whole time.” 

DiRusso explained that she loves being an opener but is even more excited about her upcoming headline tour. The tour, “God, I Love This Tour,” begins in Madison, Wisconsin, on April 28 and continues until June 20, with stops across the U.S. and Canada. 

“I love opening for people, but headlining is a whole different feeling,” DiRusso said. “There’s just a feeling of being in a room with all these people who’ve related to the same things [that I have] and seeing the people I’ve been chatting with online and getting to meet people in person.”

DiRusso mentioned that she plans to play every song she’s ever released on her tour, although it will center around her recent EP, “God, I Hate This Place.” DiRusso wants listeners to take away “some sort of feeling” from listening to her songs. 

“Whether [that feeling] is listening to the story I’m telling or relating it back to their own story, I just want it to make people feel something from listening,” DiRusso said. 

Both DiRusso and I agreed that “Frisco Forever” is our favorite song on her release. If you listen to “Frisco Forever” or any of DiRusso’s other songs, you will surely be able to recognize DiRusso’s talented voice and writing abilities.  

DiRusso mentioned that lyrics are generally the main focus of her songs, and she writes them before her melodies. Her lyrics are often inspired by her own life experiences and the music she listens to every day. Many of the specific musical inspirations she listed were her friends and people she has opened for on tour. Right now, she specifically feels inspired by Ruston Kelly’s “The Weakness,” the band Wednesday’s “Rat Saw God” and Samia’s “Honey.”

“I’m inspired by so much music. There is such good music, and I feel very lucky to be alive with all this music around,” DiRusso said. 

DiRusso shared that her fans should look forward to more releases and shows in the future. In the meantime, DiRusso will hit the road on April 28 for her summer tour. I can’t wait to be in a room with other fans and scream “Frisco Forever” together.

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About the Contributor
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
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