Things to Do in Fort Wayne and Beyond

Blues guitarist excited to play the Fort again

Popovic lives for live performing, set for Baker Street concert

Chris Hupe

Whatzup Features Writer

Published July 7, 2021

Ana Popovic doesn’t have anything to prove. Her eight solo albums, numerous award nominations, and two decades as one of the top names in blues speak for themselves.

She was even once heralded as “one helluva guitarist,” by Bruce Springsteen.

The year 2020 marked two decades as a touring musician for Popovich. To commemorate, she issued Live for Live, an album that captures her growth as a musician and live performer since the release of her last live album, An Evening at Trasimeno Lake, way back in 2010.

Popovich returns to Fort Wayne on July 17 with a performance at Baker Street Centre.

The Energy of a Live Show

In an interview with Whatzup, Popovic said it was time for another CD/DVD because her audience really wanted something new from her that captured the energy of the live experience as it is now.

She recorded the show in France, right before COVID-19 consumed the world. It was released just after the pandemic began, giving fans something new to listen to while they were waiting out the crisis. Though the timing wasn’t planned, it turned out to be perfect.

“My audience wanted this new sound and wanted to take home something that was more like what they would see and experience now,” Popovic said. “So, on that particular tour, this place offered a good sounding room, and it seemed like a perfect closure of the perfect year. We didn’t know we were getting into a year with no concerts and that made this DVD’s title, Live for Live, even more necessary as we were reliving moments on stage every time we would watch the DVD.”

Live for Live connects on many levels, showing off a strong, energetic band. The album features great songs, a phenomenal supporting horn section, a variety of styles, and lots of Ana Popovic on guitar.

Popovic said she is happy that they were able to capture the feeling of her live show accurately on the disc, something that can’t always be said about a live recording. She added that she is happy with the way she and her band sound.

“I’m proud of it. It’s a tight band,” Popovic said. “I’m very proud to be a part of it.”

Creating New Music

In addition to readying Live for Live for release, Popovic kept busy last year by immersing herself in creating new music while she was quarantined.

This was a strange concept for a musician who is constantly on the road, playing well over a hundred shows a year in non-COVID-19 times.

“It was all music,” she said. “We were building a home during the pandemic, starting in February and finishing in December, and staying in a small rental close by. Instruments were staggered all over the living room and we would just jam all day, then, in the evening, go check on the progress of our new home.”

Making new music followed a different process this time around, but, like a lot of musicians, Popovic learned to use technology to help accomplish her goals. The result, she said, is a collection of new music that is ready to be released in the near future.

“Lots of new music is on the way,” she said. “All written during COVID. I would get on Facetime and Zoom and co-write with my band members and songwriters. This is basically what I did right away: indulge myself in creativity, as much with my own music as with my family at home. It was all music.”

Empowering Women in Blues

Popovic is aware of her importance in the blues world — a genre typically dominated by male musicians. Her last studio album Like It on Top, largely focused on empowered, successful, and inspiring female role models, which is a position she finds herself in as a longtime, successful touring artist.

Though the blues genre is still very much male-dominated, Popovic is encouraged by the increase in women who have picked up instruments during her career.

“There’s a lot of women playing instruments and different styles of music now, so things are definitely changing for good,” she said. “I would like to see it being as equal to our male colleagues, and I think that’s going to happen in the near future. The music world is ready for it. A music/guitar festival with the equal number of male and female artists is coming!”

From Serbia with Love

With everything Popovic has seen and done during her career, it’s hard for her to identify anything that stands out above the others.

“The biggest accomplishment, for me, is having this great career that spans 20 years on both sides of the ocean,” she said. “And all of that, coming from Serbia and being a female guitar player.”

Anxious to be back on the road again and heading back to Fort Wayne, Popovic said the Summit City is one of her favorite destinations.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “We all get to cherish life on the road again. Fort Wayne is always a great audience and we can’t wait to see our friends. I just live for that contact with the audience and with the energy that makes you fulfilled on the stage! There’s nothing I would do rather than play live.”

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