By Lemar Morgan | 2 July 2019
Anne-Marie was born in East Tilbury, Essex, England, to an English mother and Irish father, and although there's nothing particularly remarkable about that, the principles and discipline she adopted into her lifestyle from Shotokan Karate was–in her own words–"all she needed for her music career to be successful."
Today, Anne-Marie is a shining example of a fairly insecure girl, existing in an insanely critical world, who has fought off self-doubt and has emerged victorious on more than one occasion. At the moment, she is flying high musically, and it appears that her success is devoid of any boundaries. Right now, it would seem incomprehensible that America won't love her and her music too.
So, what makes this girl tick and how has she accomplished so much so fast?
A Nine Year Old's First Lesson At The Dojo Set The Wheels In Motion
This fairly difficult situation was exacerbated by an unfortunate attention-deficit disorder, along with the learning difficulties associated with dyslexia. Fortunately, this is where Shotokan Karate came to the rescue.
After Anne-Marie's first karate lesson at the local dojo, it was obvious that she had discovered an affinity with it, but more importantly, more than anything else, she needed the focus and discipline required to function properly.
The effects of becoming a martial artist were dramatic and life changing for a socially awkward and introverted young schoolgirl who had been subjected to some unsavory name-calling. However, once the passion for the principles of martial arts, and in particular Shotokan Karate, had been ignited within her, there was no stopping Anne-Marie, and her achievements at the Funakoshi Shotokan Karate Association world Championships are proof of her ability.
She won double Gold medals in 2002, and further Gold and Silver medals in 2007. Gaining a black belt in any discipline, as we all know, is hard enough, but the competence required to perform at an international competition at the highest level is a massive step.
The training regimes for competition preparation are enough to break a mere mortal's spirit, and they require an extreme amount of determination to succeed.
Undoubtedly, the degree of ability and concentration that's required for Karate was reflected in her dance and musical interests during her childhood. Anne-Marie's elder sister attended dance classes on Saturday mornings, and this was probably responsible for introducing her to performing arts and for her love affair with singing.
Not long after she had started classes with her sister, she was on stage for the very first time, and this momentary brush with the emotional rush that comes from performing in front of an audience would resonate inside her forever.
The First Stop On The Journey Was A Role In Les Miserables
Anne-Marie first performed in Les Miserables, and this left an immovable desire within her to be on stage. Another theatre opportunity came along when she appeared in a production of Whistle Down The Wind. Coincidentally, singer Jessie J was also in that particular stage show with Anne-Marie, who had said at that time, "she would do musical theatre for the rest of her life".
However, the entertainment industry is highly competitive and landing stage roles can be challenging. Although she was far from happy about it, by the time she was 18 years old, Anne-Marie had pretty much resigned herself to getting a regular job.
Then, out of the blue, she found herself being called to an audition at Elton John's management company, Rocket Music. Filled with desire and a renewed enthusiasm for singing, she recorded a demo track, Summer Girl, in 2013. Not long after that in 2015, she was on the road touring. She drew upon her martial arts’ roots by calling her debut EP 'Karate', and this was soon followed by another track, 'Gemini'.
Today, this well-established UK artist has Ed Sheeran as a close friend and mentor, who must be helping her enormously, and the list of awards are starting to rack up. Anne-Marie has been nominated for countless music awards and has won seven of them, most notably, 2 MTV awards for the Best Brand New and Best New International video of the year.
Anne-Marie's first single 'Alarm' from her debut album 'Speak Your Mind' was a certified platinum record in the UK. In 2018, she had the honor of performing at the Queen of England's 92nd birthday party.
How Shotokan Karate May Have Inspired An International Winner
Although Anne-Marie is definitely a pop sensation now, you could easily argue that her mastery of Karate is a much more impressive accomplishment. For most exponents, the impact that martial arts can have on a person, and the philosophy that accompanies it, is undeniably far-reaching, both physically and emotionally. Continually re-evaluating how you perform as an individual and adapting to new situations is more or less straight out of the fundamental Karate instruction manual.
The ability to recognize and overcome your weaknesses is, in some respects, a real strength. Ultimately, whether she is aware of it or not, this is what Anne-Marie seems to have managed to harness from Shotokan Karate. Proper martial arts instruction is all about self-defense, and something that tends to be forgotten or misinterpreted is that this means the development of emotional defenses too.
Throughout Anne-Marie's entire career so far, she has talked about her emotional fragility, and yet she is, unquestionably, a strong and persistent winner.