Online songs

The Redwood City musician is making (air) waves with his country song

How difficult the last two years have been for musicians was well documented in a climate story from last month, as opportunities to do live performances vaporized due to Covid restrictions. But singer-songwriter Mike Annuzzi could today cover Gershwin’s standard “Things Are Looking Up” as his career emerges from hibernation. Before Covid, the Redwood City native would typically perform 250 nights a year and then suddenly lose all of his gigs. Now he’s back to doing four or five restaurant gigs a week. But the best development, Annuzzi wants everyone to know, was the release last month of his first single in two years, a country rock song called “New Boots On” – in an online digital version and in a music video video.

Annuzzi had to turn into something of a solo band, not only writing and performing their music, but producing the video, putting the whole package together, and handling the promotion as well. It paid off pretty well: the song debuted on Bay Area rock station 107.7 The Bone, on Soundwaves radio and TV – and he also achieved his life’s dream of being aired on the country station 95.3 KRTY. He hopes to bring new fans into the country music world and was thrilled on May 6 when “New Boots On” hit the iTunes Top 100 Country Charts: “As an independent artist, I’m completely overwhelmed.”

His roots in Redwood City run deep. Father Joe Annuzzi owned a custom cabinetry business across from Costco and his mother, Marlene, worked in the Redwood City manager’s office and then at the Veterans Memorial Senior Center. Their son started playing guitar at St. Pius School and went on to earn a college degree in music (and business) in San Luis Obispo. Although it’s hard to make a living in the arts, Annuzzi says he was lucky to have totally supportive parents. He started in the industry on the business side, but a time came when a big name artist needed an opening gig and no one could be found. Annuzzi said, “I will. … It was my first gig in my professional career and then I realized, wait a second. Maybe I could try to do it myself. Now in his late thirties, Annuzzi has been able to pursue a full-time musical career for nearly 16 years, from teaching guitar to touring on the road. He has performed at venues such as the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, BottleRock Napa and where the “New Boots On” music video was filmed: Club Fox. After Covid, he’s happy not to be on the road so much and to be able to connect with local audiences.

“It’s my hometown, so it’s kind of my hometown scene,” says Annuzzi. “Having local avenues of support like this is everything for a musician.” The story of the song is about a young lady who has had a long day and is ready to go out for some fun. She then goes on stage singing and playing and becomes a star. The message is to “make the most of every night,” says Annuzzi. Courtney Shirley was the actress, Austin Rausch, a Redwood City native, the videographer, and Charlie Couch, a Redwood City resident, helped from concept to photography.

Although he’s written about 100 songs, Annuzzi does a lot of restaurant gigs (regularly at Terún and Italico in Palo Alto and Delizie and Cuisinett Bistro in San Carlos) and also covers popular tunes — “from Frank Sinatra to Michael Jackson . Elvis Presley to Dean Martin. Annuzzi does not imitate them. “I don’t,” he says. “I sing it my way. I do it my way. At one point he dreamed he’d just be a songwriter, “but there’s some kind of bug that bites you when you’re playing live that you can’t really find anywhere else, so that allowed me to continue.”