Last summer, she opened for Hunter Hayes in San Diego and in July, was chosen for the Miranda Lambert Scholarship.
In March, she won the ASCAP Writers’ Night and will be performing at the Best of the Best Showcase on Saturday.
Anna Vaus, a junior songwriting major at Belmont University, writes in the “California country” genre.
Inspired by Kacey Musgraves, Brandy Clark and the Punch Brothers, Vaus’ songs “are pretty, shiny, but also rough around the edges,” she said.
Her father was a musician, and she admired him.
“I saw him writing songs, so I started writing songs,” she said.
She recalls a time when she was young, and she thought of some lyrics: “Every long lost dream led me to where you are.”
She laughs, recanting the story.
“Like, literally thought I wrote ‘Bless the Broken Road’ by Rascal Flatts, and then I was watching American Idol and someone sang it, and I was like, ‘Oh OK, well that’s not my song,’” she said.
Since then, however, in her young songwriting career, Vaus estimates she has written hundreds of songs — actually her own.
“I don’t want to say it’s like a 9 to 5 job, but it almost is,” she said.
At the showcase, she will be playing the song of hers she believes has gotten the most attention. “Somebody Died” was inspired by her neighbors who inherited money from a relative they barely knew.
The song, Vaus said, is representative of who she wants to be as an artist and as a songwriter.
“It’s my brand, I guess,” she said. “Kind of dark and twisted but also funny at the same time.”
Although Vaus is songwriting major who envisions herself selling her songs to bands like Little Big Town, the performance side of the industry also grabs her attention.
“There’s a big part of me that’s like, songwriting is first and foremost what I want to do, but playing is so freaking fun,” she said. “I get to share my songs with people, which is the best. It’s just a blast.”
Vaus is accustomed to performing at writers’ rounds in the Curb Café and isn’t easily intimidated, but opening for country star Hunter Hayes was the biggest event she had ever played and brought out her nerves.
“I remember being very, very nervous until I had sound-checked,” she said. “Once I sound-checked, I realized, ‘This is real.’ But I was terrified at first.”
Vaus gets a rush when she goes onstage.
“It’s, like, addicting,” she said, smiling from ear to ear.
She looks forward to having a similar experience on the stage in the Curb Event Center on Saturday — even if she may be a bit nervous.
“I’ve always wanted to play the Curb just because it’s cool,” she said.
See Vaus perform her song, “Somebody Died” at the Best of the Best Showcase on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Curb Event Center.
This article was written by Reed Ferguson. Photo courtesy of Anna Vaus.