Over 27 years ago, Debbie Anthony met the man who would become her greatest fan and her greatest supporter—her husband, Mitch. Introduced to one another by her brother, Debbie and Mitch started their relationship by talking on the phone, and three days later, they met at a local restaurant.
“We stayed there all night and talked. In fact, we were so focused on each other that we didn’t even touch our food!” she says. Debbie and Mitch eloped 13 days later and have been together ever since. Today, Debbie’s life is still centered on what touches her heart the most—her love for music and her husband, Mitch.
LUCKY IN LOVE
Debbie has always loved to sing. She earned a bachelor’s degree in music from North Central University, in addition to a degree in psychology from Winona State University and two-thirds of a master’s degree at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
At one point, Debbie entered a talent competition (similar to “American Idol”) in which she sang Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One.” She didn’t listen to much country music before the competition, but Shania’s song brought her into the genre.
After competing, Debbie fell in love with music all over again and vowed to seek out other opportunities to share her talents. Luckily for Debbie, Mitch already had a strategy to keep her love for music alive.
Debbie and Mitch never had a reception or party to celebrate their marriage because of their fast-moving relationship and elopement. Two years ago, they decided to host a party for their 25th wedding anniversary, so that friends and family could celebrate their marriage with them.
As an anniversary present, Mitch gave Debbie the gift of song. He wrote the music for a song entitled “Faithful” with the intention of having Debbie sing the song at their anniversary celebration. Annie Mack and her band played the music for the party, and Debbie had the opportunity to sing a variety of songs with them, including “Faithful.” For Debbie, this was the perfect present.
Performing Mitch’s original song reignited Debbie’s passion for music, and the timing was impeccable. Her plan had always been to wait to pursue her music career once her kids were successfully out of school. She didn’t want to divide her energy between music and motherhood, and this opportunity knocked at just the right moment.
Mitch encouraged Debbie to record “Faithful,” as well as another song he had written. A couple of songs into the project, Nashville producer Tim Hildebrandt, who now lives in Rochester, suggested producing an EP of four songs. They ended up producing a full-length CD. “When Tim heard my voice, he got so behind me and so believed in me that we decided to collaborate and do more songs,” she says. The result was her debut album, “All Over Again.”
Mitch Anthony is the author of 16 books, and he is also a consultant and public speaker. He believes that people don’t need to retire if their work is something that brings meaning to their lives and value to others. Finding that calling often turns into a second career later in life, what he calls “encore careers.” According to Mitch, Debbie is pursuing what she finds valuable and meaningful and turning music into an “encore career.”
Debbie attributes much of her success to focusing on what is in her heart. “I want songs that speak to those of us who have been married a long time, to those of us who have faith in love,” she explains. As someone who has been married for 27 years and has kept her love for music alive, the belief in her heart sings a long-lasting love song.
CD RELEASE PARTY
The launch party for Debbie Anthony’s “All Over Again” will take place on January 18, 2017 at Rochester Civic Theater at 7 p.m. The full band will play two sets, including all the original music on the record plus cover songs. Proceeds from ticket sales will support the Boys & Girls Club of Rochester. To learn more about Debbie, her story, and music, visit her website at www.debbieanthonymusic.com
Kim Zabel is a writer and photographer. She also works with cancer survivors as a Livestrong instructor at the Rochester Area YMCA.