o's news jessie mae

1 - Being na unknown Singer in South América, can you tell about when, how and why you started with music, specially the blues?

Well, I hope to not be "unknown" for much longer! Really, I had been around the music scene all along. I got into the blues by having been "adopted" by Maria Muldaur and Los Lobos when I still lived in San Francisco. I learned a lot about blues and latin music, it all intertwines. Blues music is from the soul. It isn't necessarily just one style or one sound. I classify as my music as blues because it come from the soul. Some of it is obviously "blues" and some songs are not so obvious. They all come from the same place and the same inspriation.

2 - What's your influences and what did they do in your music?

A big influnce on me was the Grateful Dead. They had a mixed batch of blues, country, folk, appalacian, rock....they played a lot of old songs along with their own interpretaions and own songs. I also was deeply inspried by blues players from north Mississippi area. Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, Sid Hemphil, Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis...

I try not to copy anybody. I do my own thing. My music is a reflection on what I feel when I hear these artists' music. It is also purly my own original stuff. I keep the blues alive because I do my own thing and I think you can hear it in my songs, sometimes more, sometimes less, but it is always present in the background.

3 - How was your meeting with Jessie Mãe Hemphill?

Jessie Mae and I met really by fate. I had been a radio DJ for 4 years when I lived in Colorado. I had discovered her music and thought she was deceased. Through mutual friends I learned before I moved to New Orleans, that she was indeed alive. I got her address and wrote her a letter. She wrote me back. We started speaking on the phone and discovered we share the same birthday. We became friends and through this, the Jessie Mae Hemphill & Friends CD idea cmae around. Knowing Jessie had been a major learning experience for me. Life is very different in Mississippi, sometimes even harsh. It is an experience to live in in and see that the "frontier" life still exists in some places in the USA!

4 - Unfortunatly a lot of south americans couldn't see Martin Scorcese's documentary about blues. How was your participation on that and how was work with him?

I had helped arrange to get Jessie Mae in the film via a live concert (and convince her to do it, which was not easy!) I drove from New Orleans to New York in 3 days, just me, her and her dog. What a trip! We had a good time, though unfortunately, her part never made it in any of the films. I think that not enough time was spent on hill country blues and female artists and that was disappointing to me. Martin Scorcesi was a very cordial and pleasnat.

5 - What's your opinion about the documentary?

A lot was not covered in the films. A lot of players and history either barely touched on or not at all. I thought Martin's film was the best out of them all.

6  - How was teh experience about the recording sessions of your álbum

It was a first for me to work with a band in   a rustic studio setting. No fancy dials or nobs.   I learned a lot about how to arrange songs for the players. I grew a lot. Wait till you hear my new album! It's a giant leap forward and I think it should be that way. I work on getting better and I do that by being near people that are better than me!

7 - Besides the blues, we can feel another rythms mixed as country, southern rock and pop. Can we say Olga is na universal Singer with blues bases?

Yes! That is what it is. It is my music and my own sound, and it does blend many things. But it comes from the same place, hill country blues. That is the dirt to lay the rest of the song on. I have a lot of melodies that come in different ways. You just go with it, wherever that is...

8  - What you expect about future? How do you want to be remembered in music history, Singer or songwriter?

As both. I want to be remembered as a musician. I am working on that. I think I will be practicing and working on it until I die. Gotta keep moving.

The future is sometimes hard to see. Especially now, there is so much hardship and sadness. I watched my city fall apart overnight. I saw friends who have no home, lost family, lost their pets, can't pay their bills, don't know where to go...

I wish that more   focus and   government money was put towards music. Musicians on the most part are poor! Their work is so kind and compassionate. Music is healing and makes you feel good. It is how we're going to heal New Orleans for sure.



[ back to news ]