INTERVIEW: Ana Popovic
Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Ana Popovic, the only female guitarist of the Experience Hendrix Tour, which makes it’s way to the Riverside Theater on March 9th and 10th. Born in Belgrade, Serbia, she grew up surrounded by the blues and the music of guitar legends. On the Experience Hendrix Tour, which was assembled by members of the legendary Jimi Hendrix’ family, she shares the stage with a variety of guitar gods, including Buddy Guy, Zakk Wylde, Bootsy Collins, and more. Learn more about the tour, as well as Ana’s solo career, straight from the woman of the hour below:
B&E: Let’s start with the Experience Hendrix Tour. How did you get involved with that project?
AP: It was a tour I wanted to be a part of for a long time. I’ve been a fan of Jimi my whole life and a tour put together by Jimi’s family is not JUST a cover gig. It’s the real deal. Knowing they didn’t have many women in the past- I took it as a huge honour and privilege to be a part of, for the 3rd time. I’ve been playing songs of Jimi off and on, throughout my career, and to be able to play those songs for Jimi’s audience and audience of all these incredible performers is really a dream come true for me. Songs like ‘Belly Button Window’ ‘House Burning Down’ ‘Crosstown Traffic’ ‘Can You See Me’ are songs that I had played for many years in my set.
B&E: The tour features an eclectic group of guitar royalty, from Buddy Guy to Zakk Wylde. Who’s your favorite person to watch (or play with) on the tour?
AP: If I really have to choose it’s Buddy Guy and Billy Cox. I had that fortune and privilege to share stage with not just one, but 2 legends on a closing jam for more than a few evenings – just the 3 of us. It was beyond words. Zakk puts out a great performance, and sharing stage with Dweezil and Mato was fantastic.
B&E: You have mainly a blues background. Does it feel different to get out and rip into some Hendrix on stage?
AP: I finally feel this is my audience. My music is based on blues but I was always very comfortable playing for ‘guitar audience’ in general. My music merges styles and is ‘unpredictable’. Specially on Trilogy there’s guitar work that spans from Buddy Guy’s style, Hendrix, to Joe Pass and George Benson. And that doesn’t even cover the soul and funk part of Trilogy.
B&E: “Trilogy” is just that, three albums in one. Why did you decide to release it all together and not piece the albums out?
AP: In a way all three CDs are so different but they at the same time are part of the same thing. it resembles this specific time in my career, my influences as a guitar player and singer, as wide as they are. I felt I was simply ready for a big record – for a big body of work. I felt it was time for that. All these songs have a mysterious connection although I recorded them to sound as different as possible, like if you would collect 3 of your favourite artists in 3 different genres of music. I was surprised to see how well those songs fitted together, being so differently recorded and though of, I felt I shouldn’t take them apart. It’s a project I’m very proud of – to be able to do something like this – at this stage in my career is to me a real personal success.
B&E: What was the recording experience like this time around? Different from your past albums at all?
AP: Very different. All the songs are carefully chosen to fit the exact genre. They were written in that matter. To fit the jazz album, or a soul/funk record, or the blues and rock style that my fans really love to hear.Then I carefully chose the musicians and producers to fit those particular songs. A great drummer or a bass player can be really great in one genre, but I would find great player for what they are really great in. For what they mastered. And have them do ONLY that. So there been 3 different sessions planned in different studios with different amazing lineup. and finally having them produced by 3 different producers to have them sound like 3 different artists. It’s been such a great experience, – I can’t imagine going back to the previous way of recording 12 tracks with one band and one producer.
B&E: Besides the record, and the tour, are there any other plans for the rest of the year?
AP: First things first: Experience Hendrix, than touring with the release of Trilogy and getting ready for new projects that are already in planning.
The Experience Hendrix Tour visits the Riverside Theater on March 9th and 10th. Tickets can be purchased here via the Pabst Theater Group website.