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Doggone & Dreamin’ With Anna Deukmejian

“I’m her biggest fan!” Says Grace Valverde (‘23). “No, I’m her biggest fan!” argues Jenna Yates (‘23). No, they aren’t talking about the brilliantly talented Talon Staff Writer Ella Fodor. These local music supporters are fighting for the admiration of the one and only Anna Deukmejian (‘23).  Anna, or as her AP Literature teacher Mr. […]

“I’m her biggest fan!” Says Grace Valverde (‘23).

“No, I’m her biggest fan!” argues Jenna Yates (‘23).

No, they aren’t talking about the brilliantly talented Talon Staff Writer Ella Fodor. These local music supporters are fighting for the admiration of the one and only Anna Deukmejian (‘23)

Anna “Deukslayjin” and her dog Pongo

Anna, or as her AP Literature teacher Mr. Dave Anderson ’07 calls her, “The Duke,” is a truly multi-talented individual. You can catch her on the CB stage, most recently starring as Gertrude in Seussical the Musical, getting ripped during one of her 5 AM gym sessions, or whipping up a scrumptious vegetarian meal. Between her many interests and packed schedule, she impressively released her debut album Doggone and Dreamin’ on August 31st. 

Anna has loved music since early childhood. “My dad when I was a little baby would sit down with me and he would play the guitar and sing for me in our living room,” she recalls. “When I was a toddler, he would play music from the ‘60s and ‘70s on his 2005 iPod and I would dance and sing in our kitchen.” 

At nine years old, she received her first guitar “and the rest is history!” she laughs.

Doggone and Dreamin’ was written, performed, and produced all by Anna herself. 

“Usually when I’m writing a song I’m just messing around on the guitar and I’m like ‘whoa that’s cool’ and then I’ll build a song around that,” she says, “Once I get the whole song written.. I’ll pull up Garage Band, lay down the base chord track on guitar, and then I’ll just go and fill it in with a bass track or a guitar lead and some drums and the song is done.”

Amidst the chaos of high school, songwriting serves as an outlet for artistic expression. Some of Anna’s best songs flow from a spontaneous burst of inspiration. 

“My favorite song was ‘Far from Forever,’” she tells me. “I was in my dorm at UCLA for the six weeks that I was there over the summer and I was feeling a little bit down cause I was missing my friends, my family…I picked up my guitar, and in literally an hour and a half, I had recorded the entire song.” 

The cover of Anna’s smash hit debut album.

While some songs are “a one and done,” others take some time. 

“[The hardest part of songwriting is] when you get writer’s block, especially when you’re trying to get that one chord or that one guitar lead and it’s so elusive it just gets to you,” she describes. 

Even so, Anna achieves a uniquely organic feel, reminiscent of bands like Whatever, Dad. Anna’s lyrics depict the triumphs and struggles of teenage girlhood. Drawing inspiration from her favorite musicians, such as singer Lou Reed (introduced to her by renowned CB music enthusiast and history teacher Mr. Michael Hood), and The Velvet Underground, her lyrics are authentic and earnest. While especially poignant to the experience of girlhood, anyone could relate to the unfiltered joy of the album’s titular song “Doggone and Dreamin” or the sorrowful skepticism of “Worlds Apart.” 

“I feel like … there’s a kind of greater meaning and greater part of myself that I find in my music,” Anna says. “I just want to [create that] for someone else.”

You can find Anna’s music on her Apple Music and Spotify (which heavily features her adorable sheepadoodle Pongo) under the name “Anna Duke” or at the next Open Mic Night, where she will be performing an original song set to be released in the next few weeks. 

With her folk-rock sound and melodic guitar riffs, I can easily imagine Anna Duke creating the soundtrack for many early morning drives and teenage love stories to come — and I’m excited for more. 

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