Nashville’s jazzy export

Annie Sellick at Clark State

By Katie Christoff

Photo: Jazz musician Annie Sellick will perform on Jan. 9 at Clark State Community College

You can take the girl out of Nashville… Well, you know how the saying goes. But Annie Sellick, a jazz musician from the land of country music, makes it fairly difficult to detect her Nashville roots.

“Jazz is completely opposite and different from the Nashville music scene,” Sellick said.

The jazz musician, performing at Clark State Friday with her piano trio, began performing during her college years just outside of Nashville in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, almost by accident.

“I got started very casually jamming with friends in college, and I ended up being friends with a group of musicians,” she said.

She regularly visited a local bar with her musician friends to watch a certain jazz band perform each Sunday, and one day, her friends suggested she perform with them. The band hired her on the spot to sing with them every week thereafter.

“I fell in love with jazz, and then I started putting together my own bands,” Sellick said.

She now sings with a few bands, but most frequently with the piano trio that she’ll bring to Clark State. She also has a side project called the Hot Club of Nashville, whose sound is influenced by 1930s swing music. Sellick also recently began singing with a Grateful Dead cover band on the side.

She enjoys writing some original music for these bands to perform, but said in the world of jazz, it’s sometimes best to stick with covers.

“A lot of jazz fans like hearing standards, songs they recognize, and that helps them connect with the originals,” she said. “I haven’t made an artistic direction in songwriting because the genre seems to admire the classics.”

Though she’s established herself in the world of jazz, Sellick said it took some time for her to build the confidence to start.

“When you grow up in Nashville, the music industry can be a little intimidating,” she said. “You have to be serious, but how do you know you’re serious about it until you try it on? Jamming with my friends in college helped me do that.”

Though country music is undeniably the most popular genre on the Nashville scene, Sellick said she fell in love with jazz.

“I don’t know why,” she said. “I liked the swing rhythm. I found it compelling, and the melodies are interesting and complex and beautiful.”

She named some of her biggest influences as Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, to whom she listened frequently when beginning her jazz career.

Sellick said she wanted to move away, but her experiences in college reaffirmed her love for singing and she decided to stick around for the Nashville music industry, which has helped her career tremendously.

“The Nashville music world has inspired me to reach out beyond jazz,” she said. “The Hot Club band is a good example of finding a marriage between the music environment that I grew up in and the environment that I chose.”

She said her Nashville roots are also detectable when she plays places like the West Coast, but less so in Atlanta or Cincinnati.

“I do have a bit of a southern accent,” she said. “I think that there’s a friendliness and a simplicity that I bring to jazz that’s not too sophisticated, and that probably comes from being a southerner. It’s not cerebral jazz, it’s not too over your head or too slick, and I like to think a lot of people can relate to what I’m doing, even if they’re not jazz fans.

Sellick has released six albums, one of which was with Annie and the Hot Club. Her most recent release was a solo Christmas album, titled Let’s Make a Christmas Memory. Her albums are available on iTunes, Spotify and She also sells them at shows.

She has performed all over the world, including Montreal and Japan, but she’s no stranger to the Dayton area. Sellick began her college education at the University of Cincinnati where she pursued musical theatre, before transferring back to her home state of Tennessee.

“I loved Cincinnati, and we partied in Dayton a little bit,” she said.

She’s played in Cincinnati for years since, and mentioned local musicians have raved about the jazz scene in Dayton, especially at Gilly’s, where Sellick said she’d love to perform someday.

At an Annie Sellick show, audiences can expect a fun and energetic atmosphere.

“I’m very much a performer, there’s a lot of joy coming out of me,” Sellick said. “I’m not so much like the bedroom jazz singer. Hopefully if they haven’t ever been to a jazz show, they’ll be hooked.”

Annie Sellick will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 9 at Clark State Community College, 300 South Fountain Ave. in Springfield. Admission is $30 for adults, $24 for seniors and $15 for students. For tickets, please call 937.328.3874. For more information, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Katie Christoff at

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