Brooke Annibale said the good news came in the form of an email.
"I didn't really know what shot I had," Annibale said of her recent Independent Music Award . "I figured a lot of people would be submitting [entries] so I didn't really know if I had a chance."
The Independent Music Awards, which celebrates unsigned recording artists from around the globe, nominated the Moon native's 2011 full-length release A Silence Worth Breaking this month for best adult contemporary album of the year. Winners will be announced next month.
The 24-year-old said she learned of the nomination one evening while checking her email.
"Yeah, just checking my email," Annibale said. "It was a really pleasant surprise in my inbox."
More than 300 self-released and independent-label music artists have been nominated for this year's awards. Judges for the honor include Tom Waits, Ozzy Osbourne and Keith Richards.
"Just to be nominated out of this huge independent music scene is such an honor," Annibale said.
The 2005 alum said the album, recorded during a three-week period in Nashville, has a folk-pop sensibility.
"There's a really bluesy rock tune, and there's another that's completely stripped down, just me and guitar, kind of a folk song," she said of the release. "It was all recorded over a three-week period, so it feels more like a full album as opposed to just a collection of songs."
Annibale learned to play the guitar the summer after her freshman year at . She began appearing at local talent shows and at the now-defunct Moon Flight Coffee Shop on Beaver Grade Road, where she honed her current sound.
Annibale has toured sporadically to support the record, earlier this month taking to the stage at the Backstage Bar in Pittsburgh's Strip District. She recently relocated to Nashville, where she had attended college as a music business major, to pursue her music.
"I moved back down here just to sort of be in the music community," she said. "I think [Pittsburgh and Nashville] have really great music scenes. Down here it's a lot bigger. Anywhere you go you hear about projects that people are working on. It's really inspiring."
Annibale, who works part time as a barista in Nashville to support her music, said she was writing songs for a future release.
"I'm working on confirming some [Pittsburgh] shows for June," she said. "I definitely try to make it back home as much as possible."