Anna Leonowicz is a former vocal performance student of Musician Institute in Los Angeles. Three years ago she was leading an usual student life. One day, she came up with an idea to set up a band. „I asked my boyfriend – Thiago, some friends and we started with our band quickly ” said Anna. The band was called „ The Foreigners”.
Her story begins with a song, a cover of the Anthony Hamilton’s song called „Freedom” from the soundtrack album of Django Unchained, basically. „The Foreigners” recorded its cover and put it on YouTube. As soon as Edd (the pianist of „The Foreigners”) posted the recording on his Facebook profile, he received a message from his neighbor in which he was asking about the vocalist, saying: „Who is she? I love her voice, she is amazing”. It so happened, Marcos Palacios a music producer in California was Edd’s neighbor.
Sunday, early morning. Anna was having breakfast, drinking coffee with her boyfriend and listening to „Dream A Little Dream Of Me” song. Suddenly, she received a call from an unknown number – that was a call from Marcos Palacios. „He introduced himself, hailed my voice and asked me if I would be interested in performing on Hollywood Bowl scene”. His offer applied to make an appearance with a famous jazzman – Herbie Hancock to cover a headliner Joni Mitchell who was not able to come. „At the beginning, I thought it was a joke but then he was giving me so much information that I realized it was actually real”.What she had to do was to send him a recording to show how she can actually sing the „River” song (that was the one she was supposed to sing during the concert). When they finished their conversation she put the phone down, looked around, took her phone up again and called her music teacher straight away and asked him to help her to record the soundtrack. Katsuya Sezaki was very proud of her so he dropped everything to help his student. Sezaki sent her the track in half an hour so she could start with recording Anna was so determined and focused that she managed to sent the recording in the morning, on the another day. She received a call from Marcos, immediately. He was amazed by the way she sings and said that he will send a contract to read. „He was talking about the compensation but it didn’t matter to me. I was able to pay extra for the possibility of singing on the most famous stage in California in front of 17000 people” – Annalaughss.
There was only a week left for rehearsals and preparation. Furthermore, she had to choose between singing on the Hollywood Bowl with Herbie Hancock or in the House of Blues with her friends. Unluckily „The Foreigners” had the concert planned for the day before the concert at the Hollywood Bowl. Anna and her friends were waiting for this performance for a long time, they were rehearsing a lot for it. Nevertheless, she made a decision to sing with Herbie. In this case „The Foreigners” had to change whole repertoire.„It was very difficult for me to leave my friends some days before a concert. However, they were supporting me and they understood that it was my life opportunity.”
Anna was practicing most of the time being both exhilarated and frightened. She was becoming more stressed out, from day to day.
Three days before the concert Marcos Palacios called Anna. He was sorry for the confusion but he said that Gregory Porter agreed to sing on the concert. „Obviously, when we were talking before he highlighted the fact that they were also looking for some public figures to perform but deep down I was pretty sure that I will be the one singing with Herbie”. Her life changed again, at that moment. Her dream of signing a contract with the record label, of bringing out her own CD disappeared in one minute.
Nonetheless, Marcos was dissatisfied because he had no other choice and let Anna’s down. „He was wishing me all the best and was assuring me that I will have many other chances like that”.
In the end, she performed in the House of Blues with her friends, had fun and no stress.
It was definitely an adventure of her life. Moreover, she has become more confident and she realized that her commitment to singing was noticed and appreciated in a way. Today, Anna lives in London, keeps singing and working on her own cd. When someone asks her about the memories from Los Angeles she always says: „I will always remember it as an amazing experience, not as a failure”.