Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow

Popovic always looking for ways to engage fans

- BY ALAN SCULLEY CORRESPOND­ENT

Ana Popovic made one of the boldest musical statements that any artist from the blues or rock scenes has made in recent years with ‘Trilogy,’ a three-CD set released in 2016 that showcased three different sides of her music — one disc devoted to blues, one to funk-centric songs and a third to jazz.

She followed that with studio release “Like It On Top” in 2018, but it wasn’t a step back on her quest to keep growing as a songwriter or guitarist.

“I don’t want to copy myself. If a record is good, I’m not going to go on and make the same one next time,” Popovic explained in a phone interview. “I think it’s really important to give people that are such true fans for years something to be excited about, to give them something new and to hear another side of Ana Popovic and just really engage them and inspire them in a different way.”

“Like It On Top” found Popovic bringing in fellow bluesman Keb’ Mo’ to produce and co-write songs. That collaborat­ion in itself was something new for the Serbian singer/guitarist, with the idea to bring together the contrastin­g musical sides of the two artists.

Where much of Popovic’s music has been a high-charged brand of funky blues and rock with musical fireworks provided by her electric guitar playing and fiery vocals, Keb’ Mo’s music has generally been more acoustic, rootsy and laid back.

The quality, thoughtful­ness and musical diversity of “Like It On Top” figure to further cement Popovic’s place as one of the leading women in the blues idiom and mark a further step in what is now a 20-year journey to continue to develop as a songwriter and guitarist.

Born in 1976 in Belgrade, Popovic took up guitar at age 15, and after playing with her first band for three years, moved to the Netherland­s in 1998 to study jazz. It was during this time that she formed her own band, released her first solo album and set her sights on making her mark in America.

She has released nine solo albums, and with “Can You Stand The Heat,” “Trilogy” and now “Like It On Top,” Popovic has really hit her stride.

Songs from those three most-recent albums figure prominentl­y in her concerts. Popovic promises a show that will leave fans smiling.

“I always try to change and I always try to be different for the audience. So whoever saw us a year ago will come and see a whole new show,” she said.

“This is really a powerful show. The songs are top-notch, the arrangemen­ts are all really tight and the segues are really tight and just incredible musiciansh­ip, going from song to song or parts of the songs glued together. It just kind of flows and it’s full of energy and it’s got everything — old-school funk to blues to rock, jazzy stuff — and it all flows really nicely.”

 ?? PHOTO BY MICHAEL ROUD ?? Ana Popovic
PHOTO BY MICHAEL ROUD Ana Popovic

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States