SAFETY HARBOR — Guitar slinger and Serbian-born blues singer Ana Popovic will perform Saturday, May 29, at 5 and 8 p.m., at the Safety Harbor Art & Music Center, 706 Second St. N., Safety Harbor.
Doors for the early show will open at 4:30 p.m. Doors for the late show will open at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door if available. Visit safetyharborartandmusiccenter.thundertix.com. Social distancing is being practiced at the venue. Event organizers ask attendees to wear a face mask and follow safety guidelines. Those who feel sick should stay home.
For venue information, visit shamc.org.
Popovic is celebrating 20 years as a touring musician. To mark the milestone, the award-winning guitar player, singer and songwriter recently released “Live for Live,” her third concert video and live album. Recorded during the Festival de Guitares d'Issoudun in Issoudun, France, the release demonstrates why Popovic is proudly looking back at a career of thousands of shows worldwide. This high-energy concert showcases not only her mesmerizing guitar skills but also her fabulous band, successfully merging musical styles.
“It’s really hard to believe that 20 years ago, I gave up a career in graphic design, formed the Ana Popovic band, and decided to be a full-time musician,” she said on her official website. “Soon after, I traveled to Memphis to record ‘Hush!,’ my first solo release. I had big dreams back then and I still dream big today.”
“Hush!,” Popovic’s solo debut, was released in 2001 on Ruf Records. The album includes the track “Bring Your Fine Self Home," a duet with Bernard Allison, son of blues great Luther Allison. Popovic followed up with “Comfort to the Soul” in 2003 before making a switch to Eclecto Groove Records in 2007. Her first album with the new label was “Still Making History,” produced by Grammy wining producer John Porter. The album entered Billboard's Blues Album charts on Oct. 20, 2009, spent 13 weeks in the top 15, and peaked at No. 4 on Dec. 8 and 15.
“It feels like just yesterday, I started this project in a garage in Belgrade,” Popovic said. “Friends and family were 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’.”
Popovic estimates that over the years she has done about 2,500 shows, and easily has another 2,500 in the making.
“I never get tired of it,” she said. "I have the best job in the world that allows me to lose myself in music. Performing with a fabulous band that musically connects to every move and every idea I bring to the stage, while sparking their own musical background to bring out the best in all of us.”
Popovic has been moving west all her life. She fell in love with American blues as a kid in Belgrade, Serbia. She moved to the Netherlands to study at the conservatory of jazz and world music. She lived in Amsterdam for more than a decade before relocating to Memphis, Tennessee, to devote all of her energy to the single-minded pursuit of her art and career.
Finally in 2016, she moved her family to Los Angeles, where she now lives.
“Like It on Top,” Popovic’s most recent studio album, focuses on empowered, successful and inspiring female role models. Released in 2018, the album debuted at No. 2 on the iTunes most downloaded U.S. blues albums and peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top Selling Blues Albums chart. Recorded in Nashville and produced by four-time Grammy winner Keb’ Mo’, the blues-influenced album features guest appearances from Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Robben Ford and Keb’ Mo’. The album capitalizes on a trending theme in today’s world: women overcoming obstacles and breaking through glass ceilings to reach the top. “Like It on Top” celebrates those that take initiative, develop, inspire and motivate. But it also credits the men who are motivated and enlightened enough to support women in their quest to be their best versions of themselves.
In 2019, Popovic and her six-piece band performed 150 shows including 20 summer festivals all over Europe, the United States and Canada. She also took part in the all-star “Experience Hendrix Tour 2019,” marking her sixth year celebrating the music and legacy of Jimi Hendrix.