WANT TO GO?
Charlie West Blues Fest
WHERE: Haddad Riverfront Park
WHEN: 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and 12 to 11 p.m. Saturday
INFO: 304-389-1439 or www.charliewestbluesfest.comCHARLESTON, W.Va. -- When she sings, Ana Popovic's voice is sultry Southern soul and muddy water blues, but when she stops to talk, there's no missing the accent: more Danube River than the mighty Mississippi.
The Belgrade-born blues singer, who headlines Friday night of the Charlie West Blues Fest, wouldn't have it any other way.
"I've been [performing] for 10 years," the 36-year-old said. "You still come across people who say, well, she sounds European or maybe not blues all the time, but I think that's positive. I don't think you should lose what's different. Different is good. I don't try to imitate."
However, Popovic does study. She said she's studied the blues most of her life.
"I grew up listening to that, probably before a lot of Americans started listening to the blues."
Popovic said she inhaled the many different kinds of American blues from the Delta and Chicago blues to the blues that came out of Texas and the West Coast.
"But I never really wanted to lose what was really me."
Her studies have taken her to some interesting places. In the late 1990s, Popovic left for Amsterdam to study jazz guitar, though she said she never really became a jazz player.
"I never went for that," she said. "I never wanted to become that. I really liked T-Bone Walker and Ronnie Earl, players who triggered that style, that side of the blues in me. I wanted to study jazz so I don't have to steal anybody's [guitar] licks."