Ana Popovic in Jim Thorpe, PA
TWENTY YEARS ON THE ROAD WITH ANA POPOVIC
This year sees Ana Popovic celebrating 20 years as a touring musician, hitting cities all across the US and Europe.
“It’s really hard to believe that twenty years ago, I gave up a career in graphic design, formed the Ana Popovic Band, and decided to be a full-time musician. Soon after, I traveled to Memphis to record HUSH!, my first solo release,” says the award-winning, hard-touring guitar slinger and singer speaking from her home in Los Angeles.
“I had big dreams back then and I still dream big today.”
“Around that time, I appeared as a special guest on tour with Michael Hill. It was my first North American tour and that springboarded me to the point where today, two decades later, I can proudly look back at a career of thousands of shows over five continents. I’ve successfully merged musical styles and inspired a new generation of guitar players male and female to start pursuing their dreams, regardless of where they were born. Sometimes, the clichés about (music) business are right. If you work hard enough and want it bad enough, you can make anything happen.”
“It feels like just yesterday, I started this project in a garage in Belgrade. Friends and family where supportive, a try-out show at a local bar became a steady gig, and through perseverance and hard work, here we are now. To celebrate the occasion, my six-piece band is walking down memory lane playing music of all of my albums. I’m excited to play older tunes I haven’t played in a while, giving ‘fans of the first hour’ that sweet ‘a-ha feel’. We’re also re-recording tunes on a special 20th-anniversary studio album – one track for every year.”
But that’s just one of the projects she has in the works for her special year:
Ana estimates that over the years she has done about 2500 shows, and easily has another 2500 in the making. “I’ll never get tired of it,” she mentions while putting the finishing touches to her upcoming live CD / DVD recorded in France in November of last year. “When I finish with this project, the band will be waiting for me, and it will be back on the road.”
Despite having to juggle work with family, Popovic claims she has the best job in the world. “The feeling of freedom. The energy you get from a fantastic show. The people you meet during tours, the friendships built. And the best part – losing yourself in music. Performing with a fabulous band that musically connects to every move and every idea you bring to the stage, while sparking their own musical background to bring out the best in all of us.”
“It’s the little things of a life on the road that give me thrills like they did back when I started. When you think about it, there’s really no work that will give you two decades of job-security. If someone told me back then that I would be doing an average of 120 shows, 20 years straight I would have thought they were out of their minds!”
Today, you’ll find Popovic in a select group of excellent modern blues guitar players. One reason could be the fact that she’s always willing to work a little harder and travel a little further to hone her craft. That dedication has resulted in 12 albums, two DVDs, six nationwide Experience Hendrix tours, six Blues Music Awards nominations and sharing the stage with legends B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Gary Clark, Joe Bonamassa and many others.
The 20th Anniversary tour kick-offs on February 19 in Atlanta, GA. During the trek, Ana and her band make stops in and around cities including New York, Chicago, Minneapolis, Denver, Salt Lake, and Portland. In Europe Ana will perform in Paris, Barcelona, Milan, Amsterdam, Munich and Cologne.