Sometimes it helps to have perspective on things – it helps you not to take things for granted or to fall into easy traps.
Take, for example, Serbian-born singer-guitarist Ana Popovic
. Her upbringing was as far away from Memphis, Chicago, Muscle Shoals, or Los Angeles as you can get. Yet you listen to her sing and play her funky brand of blues-rock and you’d think she was born to play the blues.
And in way, she was. Popovic grew up in Belgrade with a father who was a big fan of the blues and who held nightly jam sessions at home. By age 15, Popovic grabbed her father’s guitar and her course was set.
Ana Popovic brings her funky mix of blues and rock to Club Helsinki Hudson
on Friday, September 22, at 9pm.
With vocals that recall Tina Turner and jazzy, hot guitar chops that have been likened to Jimi Hendrix
and have earned praise from Bruce Springsteen and Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Popovic defies the conventional notion that blues-rock is a boys-only genre.
Check out how she holds her own
in a triple-threat guitar-slinging competition among Buddy Guy and the young phenom and Guy protégé Quinn Sullivan.
Popovic first made a name for herself throughout the Balkans, playing at blues festivals in Serbia, Greece, and Hungary, before moving to the Netherlands to study jazz. By 2003, she was recording albums in Memphis, to where she moved in 2012. She was also nominated for Best New Artist Debut at the W.C. Handy Awards in 2003 – that year saw the release of her album, “Can You Stand the Heat,” and its single, “Object of Obsession
.” Since then, she has performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the Contemporary Blues Female Artist of the Year category in 2012, 2014 and 2017.
Last year, Popovic moved to Los Angeles and released a triple album, aptly called “Trilogy,” which featured an all-star lineup of guest performers including Joe Bonamassa, Robert Randolph, Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), Bernard Purdie, and Memphis rapper Al Kapone. “You Got the Love
” was the first single off the album.
And if you don’t believe me, take it from the one-and-only Bruce Springsteen, who said, “Ana Popovic is one helluva a guitar-player.” Or Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top: “Ana rocks the blues in fine, fine fashion.”