UPON WINGS hails from the U.S. and can be described as female-fronted operatic rock and metal with a classical influence. UPON WINGS takes listeners down a path of heartfelt introspection, pain, joy and faith. After creating the idea for UPON WINGS, classically-trained mezzo-soprano Anne Autumn Erickson entered the studio and recorded several critically acclaimed singles for their “Afterlife” EP. The band is now getting ready to release all new material. We spoke with vocalist and frontwoman, Anne Erickson who was more than happy to fill us in on the band’s current status, as well her take on the current rock scene and more…
XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Anne Erickson: Upon Wings has been writing new music and working in the studio for quite a long time, and our new music is pretty much ready to go. We’ve been taking some time figuring out how to release it, and I’m so excited to finally unleash this music to everyone. It’s been a while. We released a Christmas song last December, but aside from that, it’s been a few years since Upon Wings has released new music, so we’re ready and very excited.
XS ROCK: So how long has the band been together?
Anne Erickson: We released our debut EP, “Afterlife,” in 2013. That was our first official EP, but we did release some music and individual songs prior to that.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for originally starting or being in a band?
Anne Erickson: Music has always been a major part of my life. I grew up singing opera and musical theater tunes, and then I discovered rock music—grunge, hard rock, metal, alternative. Everything from Metallica to Nirvana to Linkin Park to Shinedown. I never thought I could sing in a “rock” band because I have an operatic voice, but then I saw Iron Maiden in concert and heard Bruce Dickinson. He was so operatic. It opened my eyes to a different kind of heavy metal genre that inspired me to be in a band.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Anne Erickson: I grew up singing opera and musical theater and took vocal lessons, and that continued in college. I also play some bass guitar.
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Anne Erickson: That’s a great question! I really don’t know. I hope that my music conveys power, hope, faith and concurring difficult times.
XS ROCK: What are your current music career goals?
Anne Erickson: I don’t really think of music in terms of career goals. I think of making music more as an art form. Of course, there is a business aspect to music, or else nobody could afford to make it and release it. But, when I think of goals, I simply want to make music that somehow helps others.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Anne Erickson: Both, but with Upon Wings, we’ve definitely been writing more. I love creating art in the studio and all of the different facets to creating new music.
XS ROCK: What are your songs’lyrics about?
Anne Erickson: Up until now, almost all of Upon Wings’ music has dealt with the loss of a loved one. It’s what I was going through for a long time, and it seemed to be the motif for everything I wrote. You can read into other themes in our music, too, but the song “Afterlife,” for example, is about losing someone close and holding onto that faith and belief that you will be reunited with them again in the afterlife. “You Are My Weapon” has a similar aura. Upon Wings’ new music, though, has some new and very different themes, and I’m very excited about that! I can’t wait for people to hear it.
XS ROCK: What is the single most important thing to you as a musician?
Anne Erickson: I want to be authentic. I also want to somehow be a positive force in music. And I want to help people.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road?
Anne Erickson: Haha! Not yet. I have some stories from the studio, though, like the time I was dealing with laryngitis and trying everything to get better for the day’s recording session!
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Anne Erickson: I haven’t had any requests that are too strange. I find it so flattering when someone wants an autographed CD, but that always surprises me! That doesn’t count as a strange request, though.
XS ROCK: Are your friends and family supportive of your choice to play in a rock band?
Anne Erickson: Yes! I am so grateful and blessed to have parents that love Upon Wings and if anything, they want me to do more with Upon Wings. They are so supportive in every way. And everyone loves my parents. They are definitely rock stars.
XS ROCK: What advice do you have for new bands trying to get started?
Anne Erickson: Make the music that you want to create. Stick to your personal vision for the band.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Anne Erickson: My favorite Upon Wings song to sing live is probably “The Dream,” which is surprising because “Afterlife” and “You Are My Weapon” are our main singles to date. “The Dream” is the first song that I recorded and I love to sing it.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Anne Erickson: There are so many great bands that inspired me to get into rock and metal music. I already mentioned Iron Maiden and Bruce Dickinson. A few other major influences include Tool, A Perfect Circle, Judas Priest…even bands that are unexpected for Upon Wings, like Five Finger Death Punch, Shinedown, Papa Roach, Alter Bridge, Metallica, and Linkin Park. Of course, there are great female artists out there who have brought women to the forefront of rock and metal music, such as Amy Lee from Evanescence, Lzzy Hale from Halestorm, Maria Brink from In This Moment, in the pop realm Katy Perry and the greats, like Joan Jett.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Anne Erickson: Oh, my goodness! I would love to tour with Disturbed or Five Finger Death Punch. Those bands have such prolific careers in the active rock genre.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Anne Erickson: I think Upon Wings’ greatest accomplishment so far is the relationship we’ve created with our listeners. We have the best listeners and friends. They are so excited about our new music, and they champion our previous music. They have good hearts.
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Anne Erickson: My dream was to be on Broadway when I was a kid, but I think being in a band is a better fit for me. I love having the ability to be myself onstage.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Anne Erickson: I have an Epiphone bass guitar. I sing live, though, and don’t usually play the bass while singing with Upon Wings.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Anne Erickson: I think rock and metal music are in a strong place. Every show that I go to is packed with passionate rock and metal fans, and that says a lot about the genre and how successful it is today.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Anne Erickson: Great question! I don’t really know. Maybe that I like football. That seems to surprise people, for some reason!
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Anne Erickson: Thank you so much to our great listeners and fans who have been so patient. You are my inspiration, and it means so much to have your longstanding support. Follow Upon Wings on social media at http://
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS ROCK!
Anne Erickson: Thank you so much, Bobby! I enjoyed the interview. You rock!
Upon Wings is:
Frontwoman: Anne Erickson
Instrumentalists and production:
Kevin Jardine, Brett Hestla, Corey Lowery, Glenn Brown, Peter Tzaferis
Check out Upon Wings at the sites below:
Photo credit – Mary Turner-Gajda