San Mateo County Fair, Terri Dien
Mike Annuzzi performing at the San Mateo County Fair 2013.
Mike Annuzzi, a Redwood City native, is an up-and-coming musician who performs throughout California, but primarily in the Bay Area.
In February 2012, Annuzzi released his first album, “Paradise,” and got himself into the music scene. This Sunday, Annuzzi is releasing his second album, self-titled, at the Fox Theatre’s Club Fox in Redwood City.
Annuzzi, who got his degree in music with a concentration in guitar and business from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, was a talent buyer who booked shows for music venues before he made the decision to pursue his own music in 2009.
“There was a lot of fear,” Annuzzi said about leaving his job to pursue his dream. “Being an artist in Silicon Valley is hard because they don’t see it every day. [My decision] took a lot of convincing.”
Annuzzi said people compare him to Jack Johnson, John Mayer and Michael Buble. As a kid, Annuzzi loved Michael Jackson’s music, and for a short while he thought he was named after Jackson.
Annuzzi described how challenging it was at first when he made the decision to make and perform his own music.
“I was banking on people noticing me in bars,” Annuzzi said. “I was intentionally being loud to be heard. A five dollar tip seemed crazy good to me. As soon as I was done performing, I would immediately count my tips to see if I had enough money to get to my next gig.”
The first time Annuzzi heard one of his songs on the radio, he was driving in his car and suddenly “Paradise” started playing. Annuzzi recalled he looked at his CD player, thinking his CD had started playing. But it hadn’t, and Annuzzi couldn’t contain the excitement and joy he felt.
Paradise had won San Francisco Song of the Year award in 2010. Earlier this year, one of Annuzzi’s recent songs, “Pay No Mind” won the West Coast Song Writers International Song Contest for the singer/songwriter category. This was a special achievement for Annuzzi because “Pay No Mind” was the first song he recorded on his own, Annuzzi says “Pay No Mind” defines the message and feeling he’s going for with his new album.
“There are ups and downs in love, but you have to see the brighter sides of every day,” Annuzzi said.
Annuzzi, who’s been playing guitar and writing songs since he was a kid, learned a lot through his first album. He learned how to mix and master recordings, and he also knows the real reason why he is writing songs and performing his music.
“I’m playing music for more than just trying to fill my gas tank,” Annuzzi said. “Music is a powerful thing, and I need to share it.”
Ian Crombie, executive director of the West Coast Song Writers, said the contest judges for the song awards look for something unique and well-written. Crombie recalls Annuzzi opened at a house concert he put together. Crombie’s organization puts on song writing workshops and occasionally brings in coaches from Los Angeles.
“The quality of the songs has gotten better,” Crombie said. “I used to be embarrassed [at the variety of local music offering]. But now, the song writing classes have helped and it’s been a great networking experience.”
Annuzzi is excited to be performing his album release, which he did basically on his own, at the Fox Theatre’s Club Fox Sunday.
“Fox Theatre is gorgeous,” Annuzzi said. “It feels like it’s just out of a movie. To be able to perform in front of my hometown and all of the people who’ve supported me and seen me grow as a person, not just as a musician, is special.”
The show is 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 at Club Fox, 2209 Broadway in Redwood City. For more information go to www.mikeannuzzi.com or www.clubfoxrwc.com. General admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door. The show is 21 and over.