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Artist Spotlight: Ana Popovic

-Michael Arnott, Roots N Blues Intern

Ana Popovic has been popping off in the blues scene since before I was born. She’s spent more years dedicated to perfecting her craft than I have been alive: it shines through in her face-melting guitar skills.

Born in Belgrade, Serbia, Popovic began playing guitar at the age of 15 thanks to the support and musical influence from her parents. In 1995, she formed her first band, Hush, just before starting college. The band grew to receive swarms of regional acclaim, including tours at major venues, appearances on Yugoslavian television, and eventually Popovic’s first international concerts in Germany and Hungary. From there, she began to stray from her previous path of graphic design and began to study the guitar in the Netherlands.

After releasing her first solo album in 2001, her life shifted focus from studying to performing. And perform she did. Since then, Popovic has been touring the world playing at various different blues festivals and selling out shows with some of the greatest roots and blues guitarists and bands of all time including Buddy Guy, Solomon Burke, Taj Mahal, and an impressive list of others. Not to mention she has played at Roots N Blues N BBQ twice, and she will be featured again this year.

Still not impressed? Well, you should be. But if not, let me spit some more knowledge at you. Ana has been nominated seven times—count that, SEVEN times—for various Best Artist awards around the world. That doesn’t even include her numerous other nominations for Best Guitarist and Best Album awards. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, she was the winner of the esteemed “Jazz a Juan-Revelation” award, solidifying her as a prominent name in the jazz community.

Her nine full-length albums have enjoyed success from both critics and the public success. Two of her albums, “Still Making History” and “Unconditional,” broke the number one spot on the Billboard Blues Chart. Her most recent project, “Trilogy,” features three different albums in one, showcasing her abilities playing funk, blues, and jazz. If you can’t find something to like from the 23 songs on the project, you might need to see a doctor to make sure everything is all right with your crazy self.

For a sample of the sheer goodness that is Ana Popovic, treat yourself to this 10-minute cover of Jimi Hendrix’s “House Burning Down.” You will notice how effortlessly she tears apart rabble-rousing solos with her nimble fingers running up and down the neck of her Fender. At one point, it becomes a battle of strength between Ana and her guitar. Who breaks first, you might ask. SPOILER ALERT: it’s the guitar. One might even call this side-product of relentless jamming a—brace for a cringe-worthy pun—Fender-bender.

All jokes aside, Ana Popovic is a true talent who deserves your attention. I implore you to give her a listen and dedicate your time to see her rock the house in Columbia this fall.