Before she joined the University of Michigan a decade ago, Anne Kadrovich rubbed elbows with the likes of Madonna, Gwen Stefani and Michael Jackson.
“The King of Pop” even asked her out on a date.
“This was before he married Lisa Marie Presley, and I was dating someone at the time,” she said of Jackson. “He was a sweet person to be around, kind of shy but good sense of humor.”
Despite turning down Jackson’s romantic overtures, Kadrovich was included among the “special thanks” on Jackson’s 1995 album “HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I.”
Such was life as the manager of a recording studio in Los Angeles for 17 years.
While her position as purchasing associate supervisor in Michigan Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry is less glamorous, it’s rewarding.
“I just love it. It’s one of those things where I’m busy all the time and always closing cases,” she said. “I get to help people in a field I care about and constantly feeling good because I made something good happen for somebody. I order everything from DNA vectors to pizza.”
Music has always been in Kadrovich’s DNA. She has five younger sisters, and all play piano and at least one other instrument.
Kadrovich started on piano when she was around 8 years old, and by the time she was in junior high school she had picked up the flute. But when she joined the band, she was among more than a dozen flutists, so the band director asked her if she’d join the percussion section.
After high school, Kadrovich attended community college in Muskegon, but the pull from the West Coast to pursue her musical dream was too much to ignore. She headed to Los Angeles in 1983 when she was 21.
“When I first went out there, I just sort of did everything,” she said. “I taught aerobics classes, managed a landscape company. I did all kinds of weird things, anything to get by.”
She provided vocals for several bands, including Green Jellÿ, which formed in 1981 and after a several-year hiatus is active today. She also played bass guitar and did some recording with several bands.
Around the time she turned 30, she was hired at Larrabee Sound Studios.
“It was kind of a perfect fit,” she said. “I was working with Madonna, Michael Jackson and all these people. I felt like they were my peers even though I was in an indie band.”
Among Kadrovich’s memories during that time was Madonna asking her to make her private lounge more child-friendly with the pending birth of her daughter, Lourdes, in 1996. She was also asked by Marilyn Manson’s manager to be Manson’s personal assistant, an offer she declined.
“I didn’t want someone calling me at two in the morning looking for a giraffe,” she joked. “There was tons of silly stuff. I got to meet so many people in the industry, both people who were up-and-coming and just never took off, and then there were the Red Hot Chili Peppers and others who were coming through. I really loved it.”
After Larrabee was sold to new owners, who retained Kadrovich but turned it into a non-commercial studio, she decided a return to Michigan was in order. In the meantime, she had received a degree in natural sciences after originally planning to go into forensic science.
“I took a fingerprinting class, but every time they were discussing crime scenes, I would turn green,” she said. “I did get certified as a fingerprint classification expert, but my teacher was like, ‘You’re not cut out for this business.’”
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She returned to Michigan in 2011 and worked at the Frankel Cardiovascular Center for four years before taking the procurement position in the Department of Psychiatry.
She did not leave her love for music behind when she left Los Angeles, however. She continues to play keyboards and sings in two cover bands: Sympathy Orchestra, which centers on classic rock, and Rock Squad, which plays mostly music from the 1990s to present.
While she enjoys performing with the bands, it’s unlikely they will find their way to some of the iconic stages Kadrovich experienced while in Los Angeles.
“Just playing at the Whiskey a Go-Go, the Troubadour. Guns and Roses played there — the best bands of the day, I got to play at all those venues,” she said. “My most cherished time was playing live music. It was very cool.
“I hope to always have my toe in the musical waters.”