Ana Popovic is one of the hardest working guitarists in blues rock today. 2018 saw Popovic release her ninth studio album, Like It On Top, which she is currently touring. Blues Rock Review caught up with Popovic to discuss the album, performing on the Experience Hendrix Tour, and more.
Like It On Top was produced by Keb Mo. What was that experience like working with him?
I especially loved the writing part. He came to my home in Los Angeles and we spent a full week writing from early in the morning till dinner time. We have different styles as songwriters, but it was wonderful to find a way and ‘meet in the middle’ and before we knew it we were finishing our sentences and songs were starting to roll. It was wonderful to have him as our guest and we, my family and I are big fans of his music.
Was there anything particular challenging about putting the album together?
It all went rather smooth. The way we work is different, but we would always find a compromise, without compromising the sound of the record. For example, when recording the basic tracks, I’m more into letting the band jam. And then choosing the right track that suits my energy the most. Those are all great musicians and we hire them to play, I don’t want to kill the vibe and tell them how to play their instruments, although I have a clear vision what I want from the song at the end of the day. Keb is more like wants it basic and stripped down. Maybe that’s the biggest difference in the way we work but I think we both learned from each other and weren’t opposed to it.
You’re currently on tour. How are the songs from the album evolving on tour?
It’s wonderful to hear them grow and get a new life. My band loves them and is very encouraging in wanting to play them each night. We have so many songs to choose from, Trilogy alone gave us 23 new songs to choose from and Like It On Top is cleaner, Nashville sounding record to the contrary of a greasy, groovy Trilogy so set is very diverse and very much fun to play.
You recently performed on the “Experience Hendrix Tour”. What was that like?
It was amazing! We picked it up right where we left it. This is my 5th tour with them, and I get to be the only woman on the tour and represent women which is quite an honor. There’s a huge line of guitar players all different genres that are just waiting to be called to perform on the tour. I personally love the tour, I feel at home playing guitar for such varied audiences – ranging from the fans of Joe Satriani, Buddy Guy, Eric Johnson, Doyle Bramhall and Dweezil Zappa. People that love Hendrix and love guitars.
You’ve got more U.S. dates followed by a tour of the UK coming up and Europe. What are you looking forward to most?
It’s been such a wonderful variety of different countries to perform in and is continuing to be that way this year. We are very fortunate. I look forward to all of those. Just the switch of audiences and countries is what inspires me to hit the road. UK – the first time for a longer tour, and places I haven’t played before – that alone will be great. US, France, Italy, Germany among others – that’s all waiting for us this year.
You relocated to Los Angeles a few years back. How are you enjoying the music scene there?
There’s everything you want in LA. I love the city, love the weather, the beach (I live 10 min walk from it) and the nature – all the breath-taking national parks that are a few hours’ drive away. There’s a lot of inspiration right there. LA has always been my destination ever since I fell in love with it 10 years ago while recording there. As far as musicians go – oh yes, all the top notch musicians are in LA. It’s a melting pot of musicians and musical styles.
Interview by Pete Francis
Ana Popovic is touring the UK in May 2019. Tickets: www.thegigcartel.com
|The Globe, Cardiff||Friday 3 May|
|The Live Rooms, Chester||Saturday 4 May|
|The Deaf Institute, Manchester||Sunday 5 May|
|The Cluny, Newcastle||Tuesday 7 May|
|Oran Mor, Glasgow||Wednesday 8 May|
|Brudenell Social Club, Leeds||Thursday 9 May|
|Rescue Rooms, Nottingham||Friday 10 May|
|Borderline, London||Saturday 11 May|