The youngest of 7 children, Anita grew up in a musical home. Her father was a saxophonist in a rock’n'roll band that toured the United States and her mother sang country music on the radio in small town Alberta in the 1960′s before they settled down to have a family. With several siblings playing music before her (including her twin sister, now a professional oboist), it was a most nurturing environment to develop a deep love of music. Between listening to Miles Davis, Wynton Marsalis, and Diana Krall as a teenager she was also influenced by artists such as Sarah McLachlan, Beck and No Doubt. Having a natural flare for the trumpet, she ambitiously decided to pursue it professionally when she was only 13 years old.
A devastating bicycle accident at age 15 almost diverted her from her chosen path, knocking out part of her upper left lateral incisor and severely cracking her upper left front tooth. After her body, face and lips healed from the trauma, her fractured front teeth made playing trumpet painful. A headstrong and determined person, Anita overcame the accursed fractures and developed technique that became a blessing to her playing, as she was forced to reduce the pressure she put on her lips.
During her early training Eccleston was a part of the Kamloops school district honor bands as well as the district jazz ensembles. She later went on in her senior years to play with the British Columbia Music Educators Association provincial concert and jazz honor bands. After graduating with honors from Westsyde Secondary in Kamloops and being awarded the Jacob Befurt Memorial Jazz Award, Anita went on to McGill University in Montreal to study jazz performance. After obtaining her undergraduate degree she spent two more years in Montreal performing until her return to British Columbia in 2006.
Another accident befell her upon returning, she suffered an impact to her front teeth and chops again, this time cracking her upper right front tooth. Miraculously neither tooth "died" and she managed to begin performing again that fall.
Anita found opportunities to perform regularly with the Kamloops Symphony and the Kamloops Big Band. She worked with Western Canada Theatre in the pit orchestra on trumpet for the musicals Beauty & the Beast (2007) and Seussical (2008). During these years Anita was also involved in several projects including a rock band, a ska-reggae band, a DJ collaboration and the two BC Living Arts productions of Canadian Cabaret.
Re-approaching her solo career as a jazz trumpeter and vocalist in early 2010, she started recording her first solo original album (called So It Goes) at Small World Studios. In 2011 Eccleston produced two full orchestral arrangements for her solo feature with the Thompson Valley Orchestra. That summer Anita won the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association’s Busker Showdown Award in a rainy day of stiff competition. Anita released her debut EP offering with the aptly titled Jazz EP, later that same year. Through her five years with the Kamloops Symphony, Anita developed friendships with several musicians from Vancouver who regularly played with the orchestra. This drew her into the coastal music scene as she began booking her first lower mainland gigs.
Desiring to expand her act to a wider audience, Eccleston made the move to Vancouver in the fall of 2011. There she found the opportunity to sing and play with Canadian jazz icon Dal Richards, to join the Mackenzie-Jones Big Band for Pro Musica’s jazz composition feature at the Cellar Jazz and to occasionally perform with the West Coast Symphony and Vancouver Philharmonic Orchestra as Principal Trumpet.
In October 2012 Anita was invited to perform at a CBC event in Kamloops hosted by Margaret Gallagher of Hot Air, a jazz program which aired the performance on CBC Radio One. In early 2013 Anita released the sparsely beautiful Trio EP, an intimate 3 track record laid down in studio ‘live to the floor.’ Kept simple by design, it gives a listener a sense of what it is like to be in a small club with the Anita Eccleston Trio onstage. Eccleston was honoured to be nominated for the Kamloops Mayor’s Gala for the Arts Emerging Artist Award in 2013 and in 2014 did a feature performance at the annual event.
During 2013 Anita hosted a monthly jazz series called “Like Smoke” at The Kozmik Zoo/Seven Dining Lounge for over a year before scaling back to featured Duo performances monthly at The Kino which continued up until recently. Also in 2013 she performed frequently with her side project, Tubes & Grooves: a quintet that featured her trumpet & vocals as well as trombone and vibraphone. To finish her debut full length original album Eccleston ran a successful online crowd funding campaign.
With the completion of So It Goes, Anita put on a spectacular CD Release Party at Vancouver FanClub on March 30th, 2014, featuring 23 of Vancouver’s finest musicians including a 7 piece horn section, and the Black Dog String Quartet. She embarked on her first tour to Eastern Canada in May 2014, performing several times in Toronto, the highlight of which was a showcase at Canadian Music Week, as well as performing in Ottawa and Montreal. Summer 2014 Anita toured in BC and began early work on her sophomore LP.
In 2015, she both performed with her trio and was a featured guest with the Plastic Acid Orchestra at the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. In 2016 for the festival she brought a 9-piece lineup to perform on Granville Island.
Her latest album, More Trumpet (December 2016) is a collection of traditional jazz standards, showcasing her distinctive vocal stylings alongside her playful trumpeting. She pays tribute to the timeless songs that she connected with as a budding musician.
In April 2017 Anita attended and showcased at Canadian Music Week with pianist Steve Amirault. They also performed at Gate 403 a Toronto jazz club.
Joining Canada's only all-female Mariachi band Las Estrellas de Vancouver, Eccleston traveled in the early summer 2017 to Tlaxcala, Mexico to attend workshops and perform at the first ever Tlaxcala Women's Mariachi Festival alongside groups from Mexico, Columbia and the USA. In July 2018 they were invited to play at the 5th Annual Women's Mariachi Festival in Los Angeles and performed alongside Mariachi Divas de Cindy Shea of LA, Las Adelitas of London, UK and famed mariachi vocalist Junko Seki from Japan.
Anita is currently writing new music, teaching, performing, and advancing her mastery of the jazz ukulele.