Beginning in the early 2000s, she became a mainstay of the local club and coffeehouse circuit and embarked on a music career that has included recording alongside her sister Lyndsey in a rock duo, The Troys, for a major label in 2003, and working with a slew of notable musicians, including Cindy Lee Berryhill and Roger Joseph Manning. She then went on to a solo career that showcased her skills as a blues guitarist and saw her release numerous EPs and albums between 2005 and 2008.
Troy returns to San Diego on June 10 for a rare performance at Java Joe’s. The night will also include blues legend, Robin Henkel. It’s a special pairing. The three-time San Diego Music Awards winner has mentored Troy for more than a decade.
“Robin has been very important to my music career and to my personal growth as well,” Troy said. “Not only has he taught me a lot about music, he continues to mentor me long distance. My first year at Columbia, when I was having a hard time adjusting, Robin would sometimes speak to me on the phone every day and give me love and support,” she remarked.
The pair will play solo sets as well as perform a few tunes together. “I will definitely play many of my old favorites as well as some jazz songs I’ve been working on, including one by Billie Holiday, where Robin will play guitar and I’ll sing,” Troy said.
She moved to New York in 2009 to attend Columbia University, where she is an undergraduate in their School of General Studies. While she is still heavily immersed in music through school, she rarely performs live.
“I have played music in different ways in New York,” she said. “I’m a music major and I study classical music theory, which has given me an opportunity to learn so much about music that I couldn’t learn as a rock musician. However, I don’t play many gigs at the moment because I am constantly studying, practicing piano for school, and analyzing classical music scores.”
Having spent nearly a decade in New York, she’s clear on the two things she misses most about San Diego. “The supportive music scene and the beach,” she mused. “I don’t find the New York City music scene to be as supportive and close knit as San Diego.
“However, I do feel, like for jazz, there’s no better place to be. I’ve heard there is quite a scene here for jazz that includes multiple all-night jazz jams. I would like to explore jazz more in the future and it’s part of why I chose to learn classical music theory.”
Sunday’s rare performance is down to being back in town for a few days to visit family. “I don’t have any musical projects in the works because I am solely focused on finishing my bachelor’s degree,” she said. “After I graduate, I hope to start playing shows, writing more songs, and maybe even get a band together again.”
Troy admits that when she left San Diego for Columbia she had grown a little bored with music. “I felt like I had hit a ceiling in terms of my knowledge and abilities,” she said good-naturedly. “Boy was I wrong!
“What I discovered in college is that if I’m ever bored with music all I have to do is start listening to music from other parts of the world. It opens up a whole new avenue of sounds, rhythms and genres to listen to and get inspiration from. Not to mention if I continue studying classical music, I will never hit a point where I have mastered it. The bottom line is there is always more to learn and musical challenges to discover.”
While she has now branched out beyond rock and blues, Troy’s favorite thing about performing is still the same.
“It’s the way I get to have deep connections with other musicians and music lovers,” she said. “The closeness you feel when you play music with another musician or see a concert full of avid fans, like I did at an Ani Difranco concert a few weeks ago, is one of my favorite aspects of living,” she said.
Anna Troy: Sunday, June 10 at Java Joe’s, 2611 Congress St. 7 p.m. www.javajoessd.com