An Exclusive IndiePulse Music Interview !
One of the many talented female-fronted acts set to play the Main Stage at the New Blues Festival IV on Labor Day weekend is Deb Taren. The L.A. musician was kind enough to sit down with Indie Pulse Music for a quick interview prior to the Festival, which takes place Saturday, September 2 and Sunday, September 3 at El Dorado Park in Long Beach. Here’s how it went.
IPM: Tell us a little bit about your musical background?
DT: Never a vocalist in my youth, I never intended to become one as an adult. I credit my passion for music to my mother and my uncle Conrad (Los Lobos) who introduced me, while in my youth, to a variety of recording artists such as: Peggy Lee, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald Tito Puente, Chubby Checker, Nancy Sinatra, Mamas & Papas, Thee Midniters, Them, James Brown, The Beatles, Stones, King Crimson, in addition to so many others. Truly, I grew up in an era of never-ending musical possibilities and partnerships; when psychedelic met Blues, when Blues met Folk, Folk met Jazz and Jazz met Rock & American Standards. There was a lot of musical freedom being expressed in my world and I was there in the audience lending my support. I was quite happy simply being a spectator at friend’s gigs – it wasn’t until a friend introduced me to karaoke, well into my adult years, that I became a “secret songstress” singing at home for just a likened few. When I finally stepped out of the “karaoke closet” to actually sing at a karaoke bar is when an offer by a local & notable punk group who shared my same interests in alternative music resulted in a collaborated effort of acoustic shows that mixed two guitars backing my campy versions of jazz standards along with punk and blues covers. It was this type of luck and chance that led to gigs with other bands and live “call up” performances from L.A., to Europe and the Far East. I knew in my heart that it was only a matter of time before I would start my own band.
IPM: You’re playing the Main Stage at the New Blues Festival this year – have you planned anything special for the audience that day?
DT: All Deb Taren audiences are special to us, so with that being said, we are looking forward to bringing an energized show consisting of blues originals and stylized covers of both jazz and blues covers. One can say that the band’s musical tastes fall under the categories of Jazz, Jump, Boogie-Woogie and Rock Blues. Latching onto the Festival’s “Women Rule” theme, I’m bringing along my version of Syd Wyche’s classic “Well Alright, Ok, You Win’. it’s one of those rare early woman-empowering Jazz/Blues tunes that speaks from a woman’s point of view about bringing your man to a good compromise – Ella Johnson’s version is my favorite.
IPM: This year’s New Blues Festival is billed as “Women Rule” with a slew of female-fronted groups performing – what’s your overall assessment of this development?
DT: I think it’s great! I love it when there is a little more estrogen on stage than testosterone (wink, wink). All kidding aside, I appreciate male blues artists and there are many greats, however, women bring a lot of color, sensuality and sass to the stage along with their diverse vocal styles and levels of musicianship. I’m truly looking forward to checking out all the talented ladies on both stages.
IPM: Is it possible to be a successful “part-time musician” in today’s music scene?
DT: My answer is that it depends on an individual’s definition of success. I know lots of part-time “niche players” that are extremely busy – not every gig is high paying, but, they are content being on a stage every weekend and for them they deem themselves to be successful. Others that I know, that play in Tribute bands, are doing very well financially. With the right degree of talent, reputation and exposure, I still think a part-time musician can attain respectable levels of success.
IPM: Where can people find out more about The Deb Taren Band?
DT: They can look up The Deb Taren Band on Facebook or contact me personally @ firstname.lastname@example.org