Manchester teen reaches finals of song-writing contest

MANCHESTER — While most 17-year-olds are consumed with finding prom dates and decorating graduation caps, Anna Essick is busy launching a music career.

Essick is a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition — an international competition founded by Yoko Ono in 1997. The competition honors 12 songwriters in 12 genre categories, and eventually picks a song of the year based on votes.

Music has always been a part of Essick’s life. According to her mother, she “came out of the womb singing.” She has two older brothers who are also musically inclined, and they would often play and write songs together while she was growing up.

Essick didn’t start thinking seriously about a music career until about a year ago when she got a call back from a producer, telling her that she has real potential.  Her promoter notified her of the competition, and she entered on a whim, not knowing how prestigious the competition was.

“I literally submitted my song an hour before the deadline,” she said. “I didn’t even realize what I was getting into.”

Essick’s song is a contender for song of the year in the Gospel/Inspirational category.  She is a practicing Christian whose faith has had a big impact on her life.

The song is called “You’re Not Alone” and was inspired by Psalm 51:17, which reads, “My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

It is one of her more obviously religious songs.  She has written 10 songs in the past year since working with her producer. Her two singles are called “Pause” and “Never Be The Same,” but more will be coming out soon.

She’s excited to see “You’re Not Alone” garnering attention. She doesn’t necessarily want to be known as a Christian musician, but she does see a need for positive and uplifting music in the pop music scene.

“It’s so exciting because for me, I could really care less about getting recognized,” she said. “It’s more about giving more people the opportunity to hear the message of the song.”

Essick is an unusual teenager.  She has a part-time job working as an administrative assistant to the pastor at Cross Roads Community Cathedral.  She’s also a worship leader for her youth group, and sings at the church two or three times a month.

Instead of attending a local high school, she’s dually enrolled in online classes at Liberty University, where she is wrapping up her high school career and working toward an associate’s degree.  She’ll continue her online classes there next year, and then she isn’t sure where life will take her.

“I want to use music to bring hope to the hopeless,” she said.

Her ultimate goal is to have a steady music career and be able to donate and raise money for different global organizations.  Human trafficking is a cause that is particularly close to her heart.

Essick can be found on social media at Anna Essick Music on both Facebook and Instagram.

People can vote for her song up to once a day through April 30 online at

Originally published by the Journal Inquirer