Hi there. (Remember "Big Time" by Peter Gabriel? One of my favorites.)
My name is Anthony Rankin. This is my story. The highlight reel, at least.
I've had a volatile love affair with music since walking out on a piano recital at four years old due to stage fright. My dad was a pro drummer whose band had a major record deal and toured relentlessly throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, receiving major praise from the likes of Rolling Stone magazine. My mom, although more a fan than a player, came from a family of equally skilled musicians. As a kid, I grew up with little awareness of an existence beyond a life in the music business.
Once I laid my hands on my first electric guitar at age eight, there was no turning back. Between then and now, I've written hundreds of songs and performed them hundreds of times in my hometown of Pittsburgh, as well as in and around Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, and my current city of residence, Nashville.
At 17, I ventured into a career as an independent recording artist. To date, the records I've self-released have sold over 4,000 copies and still see regular action on iTunes and the like. Along the way, I've received some kind words from regional press, saw airplay on local radio, shot a slick music video with a talented director named Tom Larkin, and somehow convinced Borders Books & Music to support a solo tour and carry my CDs nationally, without a label or proper distribution.
After high school, I studied my passion at the university level and received a Bachelor's Degree of Music from Duquesne University in 2006. (I still owe them a ton of money.)
Since moving to Music City in 2011 to explore my options as a sideman, I've been incredibly fortunate to tour, record, and write with some of the best. In just the last year, I've spent time as lead guitarist for Randy Houser, played NBA arenas with Ayla Brown (best known for her American Idol run) and traversed the entire country playing a bunch of instruments with budding artist, and one of my closest friends, Chelsea Bain.
While still in Pittsburgh, illustrious singer B.E. Taylor invited me to join his wildly successful Christmas Tour for four consecutive years, during which time I got to share the stage with Marvin Hamlisch and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra for a five-night stand at Heinz Hall (a venue Taylor continues to sell out annually). I also had the pleasure and growing experience of working alongside veteran producer Rick Witkowski throughout that period, writing and producing everything from indie records to music for Spike TV, Nickelodeon, and Current TV.
One of my proudest moments as a writer came when country artist Vanessa Campagna's heart wrenching version of my song "How Was I to Know" debuted at radio in 2010 as the first single from her EP, For You.
Ever since I started putting lyrics and chords together all those years ago, I've straddled the fences between rock and R&B, pop and funk, country and jazz. I can't sit still in one place for very long, but my target is always big hooks, big grooves, and big emotion. I defer to the infectious three-minute pop song over the 12-minute prog opus (just ask my friends about my irritating obsession with all things Top 40).
At the end of the day, I would love for all of you to become diehard fans; come to every show, download every album (even legally?) and tell every one of your sorority sisters how dreamy I am. But hey, I'm not for everybody. Where's the fun in that?
Listen for yourself. In all seriousness: I hope you dig what I'm doing.
And if you do, you know where to find me.