Anna Vogelzang, a singer-songwriters, who announced that she will say goodbye to the west coast.
When the indie folk singer Anna Vogelzang takes the stage at the Sh*tty Barn concert venue in Spring Green on Monday, it will be her farewell to the network of fans and friends she’s grown during the eight years she’s been living and performing around Madison. In three weeks, she leaves for Los Angeles, where she’ll continue pursuing a career as a full-time musician.
Vogelzang’s profile as a Madison artist is considerable. She has won six Madison Area Music Awards since arriving to the city from Chicago in 2008, including one in this year’s competition (the “specialty instrumentalist of the year” award, specifically for her banjo playing). She’s released eight recordings during her time here, some of which have been hailed in national outlets. She’s also the founder of Wintersong, the popular annual benefit concert that raises funds for the Second Harvest Foodbank.
For Vogelzang, the decision to leave didn’t stem from a desire to find greener pastures, although she said she’s been warned to be wary of getting too comfortable in the Madison “bubble.” In fact, family is the primary factor for her departure. Her partner, who recently received his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is taking a teaching job at Occidental College. She’s going with him.
“This is absolutely gonna be tough for me to leave,” she said. “It takes so long to get into the ether of a place.”
Vogelzang said that it took her four years to feel a connection with Madison. Only after she began playing shows at Project Lodge (a DIY space which has since been replaced by Good Style Shop) on East Johnson Street, teaching at Girls Rock Camp Madison, and organizing Wintersong did she feel that she “hit her stride” and fell in love with the city.
She said there’s no doubt the transition to a new scene in Los Angeles will be tough, especially following the success she’s found in the Madison area — although she said she does wonder to what degree her success stems from the music itself.
“I don’t know if it’s reflective of me, or the fact that I’m a working musician around Madison,” she said. “If you kind of just do the work and stick around, good things happen.”
At the same time, she sees valuable opportunities on the west coast: “It will be interesting for my career,” she said.
Vogelzang said that when she arrives in Los Angeles, she hopes to develop a network, collaborate with artists and producers in the area, and to go on tour along the coast. She anticipates it will be a very different experience compared to when she moved to Madison from Chicago. Back then, she felt a need to dive right into touring. This time around, she feels more comfortable “settling in and surveying the scene.”
“Now, I’m in my very early 30s,” she said. “I feel a lot more confident. I feel a lot more calm.”
Vogelzang said she plans on returning to the city from time to time. She’ll be back for the next Wintersong in December. She will still organize the event, at least for this year.
Meanwhile, her focus is on the farewell concert Monday. The show, which sold out almost immediately after it was announced, will feature a motley crew of other Madison artists that will perform alongside Vogelzang. Vogelzang said that in addition to performing her own songs, she’ll also be harmonizing along to her friends’ material.
It may be her farewell show, she said, but she would have felt weird making the night all about her.