Anna Kline

image_pdfimage_print

Anna Kline

by Shelby Campbell Berry

Mississippi native Anna Kline started her career with Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi, working in licensing and copyrights, and eventually found herself as a freelance writer and full-time musician.

“I was very fortunate to receive a musical education working there as a self-promoting musician, artist, and songwriter,” said Anna.

From that point, Anna’s career gave her a melting pot of experience in music industry, making her the ideal choice for the new Business Development Director position at the International Bluegrass Music Association, the music trade organization headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee. This position identifies new opportunities for the bluegrass industry and builds relationships with artists, sponsors, and partners of the organization. According to Anna, the most critical element of this position is collaboration. With sponsors, IBMA tries to create a mutually beneficial relationship while sustaining and nurturing the bluegrass community.

“We are stronger when we collaborate. The result is always something unexpected and bigger than the initial seed you planted,” Anna said.

“I’ve been able to implement ideas and explore possibilities right in my lane with this job,” Anna continued. “It’s cool to have had the opportunity to put programs in place that help preserve an American genre of music. It blows my mind that I get to take a leading role in preserving and promoting bluegrass. I don’t take it lightly.”

With extensive experience on the stage and behind the industry scenes, Anna offers IBMA her plethora of experience – 10 years as a full-time musician and songwriter and more than 15 years of experience as a project coordinator and freelance writer.

“Now, it’s like I have this other extension of myself,” said Anna. “I did music, and freelance writing before this job fell into my lap, so it felt like a natural extension.”

Immersed in Music

Beginning her career in culture and music, studying music business and film at the University of Memphis, Anna’s first real-life experience was at the famed Southern soul, blues, and gospel label Malaco Records. Shortly after, Anna began freelance writing for Jackson Free Press, DeSoto Magazine, and Portico Jackson Magazine. Her articles focused on local music, food, and Southern culture. Additionally, she worked for the Mississippi Division of Tourism, the Mississippi Film Office, the Mississippi Development Authority, and the Mississippi Culinary Trail and coordinated the first Mississippi music showcase at South by Southwest. These jobs exposed Anna to culture and music before she decided to take to the stage herself. In 2012, Anna plunged into being a full-time musician and songwriter.

Grits and Soul

As a performer, Anna is half of Grits & Soul alongside her partner John Looney. Over the years, they have been showcased at the World of Bluegrass and featured at Suwannee Springfest, Merlefest, and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.

“John introduced me to bluegrass music, and I fell in love with it,” said Anna. “It’s so cool how our bluegrass community is widespread, and you have relationships that last a lifetime. There is a musical commonality that we all share. It’s been a really special experience over the years to see how we are all connected.”

Anna and John formed a new band in 2020 called Swift Silver, releasing their first album last summer. She continued to write for blogs and collaborate with artists on promotional work across all platforms before her hire at IBMA.

“I would love to think that my experience informs my approach to anything, especially with this position,” said Anna. “I hope I can provide fresh eyes. I understand all the logistics and what needs to happen, but I also hope to be an artist advocate.”

As IBMA finds itself in a place of growth and expansion, Anna is excited to be a part of the team working in sync for the same goal.

As IBMA finds itself in a place of growth and expansion, Anna is excited to be a part of the team working in sync for the same goal.

“I would love to think that my experience informs my approach to anything, especially with this position,” said Anna. “I hope I can provide fresh eyes. I understand all the logistics and what needs to happen, but I also hope to be an artist advocate.”