Singer and songwriter Star Anna will perform the whole of David Bowie’s “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust,” backed by the Synergia Northwest Orchestra, on Jan. 8.
Everything’s there. The voice. The talent. The desire.
And yet, singer/songwriter Star Anna Krogstie — Star Anna to her fans — is still hanging on the crest of a wave that just won’t break.
Years of playing in Seattle clubs and theaters has put the alt-country artist close to it — to everything rushing and rolling and delivering her to the shore of The Big Time.
And that’s just fine with her.
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“I feel like I’m on the edge of something, and I’ve felt that way for a while,” Krogstie, 30, said the other day. “But I am getting to the point where I am able to step away from that and not think about it, which is kind of freeing.
“I’ve been able to just do the things I want to do,” she continued, “so that the shows I play or the projects I get involved in, I do because they mean something to me.”
That’s the thinking behind her Jan. 8 Neptune Theatre show, when Star Anna will perform the entirety of David Bowie’s classic “The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust” backed by the Synergia Northwest Orchestra.
The idea came to her in fall 2015, when she was listening to the album while driving over Snoqualmie Pass — months before Bowie’s death in January. At the last song, “Rock and Roll Suicide,” she realized she had been listening to a rock opera.
“It really kicks on, horns and strings,” she said. “I thought, ‘How cool would it be to do this album with an orchestra?’ It felt like a pipe dream, but I was like, ‘Wait, I know people.’ ”
She and her musician friends were trying to settle on a date when Bowie died.
Star Anna felt panicked, especially when there was “an onslaught of tributes.” So she postponed her show to make sure it stood out. She will open with a set of her own music, and then, after an intermission, perform “Ziggy Stardust” with the orchestra.
“Once the show is over, I will set it there and walk away and that’s it,” Star Anna said. “And what comes with that, I don’t know.
“It used to weigh heavily on me,” she said. “It’s not that I don’t care or that I’m not trying to get there. I am. Each step has to get you a little more known.
“But I try not to think about that anymore.”
Instead, she is happy to be in a place where playing music pays the bills.
Her music is a little Americana, alt-country. Blues. Her voice is bruised and broken, angry and strong, raspy as whiskey and sober and clear. Think Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris with a surprise visit from Joan Jett.
She has regular bookings at SeaTac International Airport, where she plays for travelers. And she makes monthly appearances on the Amazon campus, where she plays for employees in the company cafes.
Beyond those two gigs, Star Anna is in a near-constant state of performing and recording. The show listing on her website is 12 pages long.
She has played in parks and clubs. She has been background music at art shows. She has followed the Blue Angels at Seafair and played Bumbershoot, Northwest Folklife and South By Southwest.
In August, she released a 7-inch single containing alternate versions of her songs “Burn” and “Alone in This Together” on HockeyTalkter Records. The next month, she released her sixth full-length CD, “Light in the Window,” and just in time for Halloween, put out “Songs to Keep You Up at Night,” a digital, four-song EP.
It’s an endless grind, but she gets it. She knows it’s how anyone gets anywhere.
Two weeks ago, she set up at Charles Smith Wines Jet City in Georgetown, where she fronted one of three bands performing for a roomful of goblet-toting revelers.
After her standout performance, Star Anna made her way to the merchandise table, where she signed CDs, pulled from a box of T-shirts that she designed herself and ran credit cards through a device on her iPhone. Then she packed up her guitar and shrugged and snaked her way through the crowd, accepting slurry praise and smiling over her shoulder.
It’s a familiar routine to anyone who has ever picked up an instrument and wanted to talk with it, heal with it, hold it up in front of audiences and share something of themselves, then take it home to create alone.
Home was West Seattle for a while, but she has returned to her native Ellensburg, where she grew up Star Anna Constantina Krogstie Banford, a noble-sounding nod to her Norwegian and Native American roots.
She started playing the drums at age 11, then realized they weren’t really good for writing songs. So she picked up her grandfather’s old, funky Fender instead.
Her early work had a Christian theme, then faith gave way to her own feelings. Love. Loneliness. Anger.
“I have my own securities and anxiety,” she said. “But I don’t want to plateau and hit a wall. I always want to be better and get a bit further and grow a little more, which is why I do so many different things.
“I’m getting there,” she said. “But even if I get there, I don’t want to stop trying because that stuff can be fleeting and you get complacent.
“I just want to keep doing what I love doing.”